Jenni Rivera was never just a singer. She was a savvy businesswoman with her own real estate company, her own line of jeans, cosmetics, fragrances, and more. Recently, she had begun to build an impressive TV resume, as producer of several reality shows on mun2, including one centered on her own life, I Love Jenni. Her next TV project was to be a scripted comedy series in development for ABC, based loosely on her life.
Film was the next frontier for Rivera, and judging by her performance in the hip-hop driven indie drama Filly Brown, there’s no telling how far she could have gone as an actress.
Edward James Olmos, who served as executive producer on the film – which was written and directed by his son Michael D. Olmos and Youssef Delara – calls Rivera’s performance “Oscar-worthy.”
Rivera is hardly recognizable in the film, having shed her usual glammed up hair and make-up for the chola-inspired look of a drug-addicted, imprisoned mother whose daughter (Gina Rodriguez) turns to rapping to help bust her out of jail.
I had the chance to interview Rivera in January during the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie premiered to critical praise. She talked about going the Mariah Carey route in Precious, and how she managed to bring her character to life. It was such an honor to meet her in person and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.
Watch the video interview on Fusion (ABC/Univision), where it was originally posted.