What is the ‘J.Lo effect’?

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While fans of the Netflix reality show Selling Sunset await a new season of luxury Los Angeles real estate and interpersonal conflict, there’s been plenty to watch on social media: wedding plans, pregnancies, European vacations and budding relationships.

Just last week, one of the Selling Sunset stars, Chrishell Stause, revealed on Instagram that she is dating Jason Oppenheim, who, with his twin brother, Brett, owns the high-end brokerage where she is an agent. Stause captioned the post, which featured several pictures from a cast trip to Capri, Italy: “The JLo effect.”

Jennifer Lopez performs in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016.

Jennifer Lopez performs in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016.Credit:Getty

The caption seemed to be a reference to Jennifer Lopez’s own recent carousel of vacation photos, the final one showing Lopez kissing Ben Affleck. But the phrase predates that post by at least a decade.

So … What does it mean?

The J. Lo effect is hard to define but easy to identify. Generally speaking, it refers to the ways in which Lopez, 52, defies most every human standard (beauty, success, age, flexibility, relevance, you name it). The expression has been invoked at various points in her career, often to express awe.

When, at age 41, she persuaded American Idol producers to pay her about US$12 million to replace Simon Cowell, setting off a gold rush of big-name judges demanding similar paydays? “Call it the J. Lo effect,” The Hollywood Reporter proclaimed.

When she booked a Las Vegas residency at 46, yet avoided a downward slope on the fame parabola? “The J. Lo Effect,” read the Las Vegas Weekly headline.

When she obliterated the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show at 50? “The total J. Lo Effect was kind of mesmerising,” The New York Times’ fashion critic Vanessa Friedman wrote.

Andrea McDonnell, an associate professor of communication at Providence College in the US whose work examines celebrity gossip, said that Stause’s reference to Lopez “seems to speak to her ability to set trends, especially on social media.”