Jennifer Lopez has been a pillar of the award show red carpet since the late ’90s — and for good reason. Not only did she lead the movement of Latin pop music on mainstream radio, but she skyrocketed to beauty icon status long before her second album dropped. Accomplishing that feat so early in your career takes — yep, you guessed it — a lot of red carpets. And for Lopez, most of hers were at the MTV Video Music Awards, which seems totally fitting considering she’s being honored with the 2018 VMA Video Vanguard Award tonight.
To pay homage to the “Dinero” singer’s accomplishment — an award Pink, Rihanna, and Beyoncé have won before her — we have rounded up her best beauty looks from the MTV red carpet over the years. And let’s just say, for someone who came up in the less-than-forgiving decade, Lopez did us proud — and somehow avoided the whole over-plucking trend of yore.
J.Lo’s best beauty looks from the VMAs, ahead.
Lopez attended her first Video Music Awards in 1998. Naturally, she did so in style. This may have been her first rodeo at the event, but she did not miss out on the chance to make a lasting impression — cowboy hat, smoky shadow, and peachy lip gloss included.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc.
A year later, in 1999, Lopez officially embraced her status as a glowing superstar — literally. It may have been nearly 20 years before she’d launch her own makeup collection, but by the late ’90s the “If You Had My Love” singer convinced fans it was time to invest in a really good body highlighter.
Catching Lopez without a orangey lip gloss is practically unheard of these days — but her go-to trend started way back in 2000. Note the thin — but not too thin — brows peeking out from underneath her white bandana as a staple for the early noughties.
Photo: Steve Azzara/Corbis/Getty Images.
By 2001, Lopez chose to accessorize her bronze makeup and loose waves with a floppy hat. Yes, only J.Lo can make a hat work for the red carpet.
Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect.
Lopez with short hair is a rare sight for her fans, but she debuted the above-the-shoulder look at the 2002 VMAs. Even better, she paired the dark brown, curly style with a bright pink shadow that really popped.
Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect.
Two years later, in 2004, Lopez brought back her accessory du jour: the floppy hat. This time, she matched it to her plum, smoky eye.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.
In 2006, Lopez made her makeup the center of attention by rocking a silvery headscarf that matched her dress. Lucky us, because it only meant we got a better look at her beaming highlighter and pretty falsies.
Photo: Anthony Harvey/PA Images/Getty Images.
Lopez spent two years away from the MTV red carpet, but returned in 2009 with an impressive ponytail — adopting a back-grazing extensions trend she’d make popular by 2018.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage..
Although she took a five-year break from the VMAs, Lopez emerged, again, the star of the red carpet in 2014. Hair blonder, longer, and straighter, the “We Are One (Ole Ola0)” singer had everyone convinced that dark, sultry eyes were out and silvery, bright shadow was in.
Photo: Michael Kovac/WireImage.
Proof that J.Lo never leaves us wanting: Her look in 2018 is nearly identical to four years ago. Though she’s a bit blonder than before — and rocking extensions that basically drag on the floor — Lopez is the beauty icon we stan for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
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