She’s a top selling recording artist, the mother of five and a newlywed, having married baseball player Esteban Loaiza in September. Now Jenni Rivera, returns to mun2 March 5 with a new reality show, I Love Jenni, focusing on her boisterous bilingual family. “It’s something like I Love Lucy. I would be the Mexican Lucy—just a little thicker,” laughs Rivera as she sits down to chat with us. Here's what she had to say about all the new and exciting developments in her life, both professional and personal.
You had a little bit of a health scare last week. How do you feel?
Wonderful! I had a kidney infection but I’m better now.
Congratulations on your wedding! What was it like?
Beautiful. It was at Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Simi Valley.
How many guests?
About 800. It was a big wedding. I was really a queen for a day. I wore an Eduardo Lucero dress. He designed the bridesmaids’ and my husband’s clothes.
How is married life?
I’ve been happy as a single woman and I’m happy as a married woman.
Where did you meet?
At one of my performances in Mazatlan. He was playing baseball in Mexico, for the opposing team but his parents are from Mazatlan so everyone knew him well. When I was on stage they mentioned that Esteban Loaiza was there and he came over to say hello and shook my hand and the crowd starting shouting'¡Beso! ¡Beso!'
Did you kiss?
No, we just said hi. We went to an after party, my third after party in my touring career, and we started talking.
Has your home life changed with a man around now?
It’s changed for the better. I had to get used to the fact that I’m not alone anymore, that I don’t sleep in the bed by myself. And when I go somewhere I have to let him know where I am. It’s changed for the better in that he has the time to text each one of the kids, ‘How are you doing? Are you doing your homework?’ He’s super hands-on and they love him. My ten-year-old, Johnny, said, ‘Thank you very much for marrying Esteban.’
Will we see him and the kids on the show?
Yes. Poor thing, he married into this crazy family. My face is all over TV, they know how much money I make, I’m sure at the beginning it was hard but there’s so much out there about me every week so he’s getting used to it. The kids; Chiquis (her name is Janie) she’s 25, Jacqueline is 21, (she made me a grandmother) and she’s studying nursing. Her daughter is Jaylah Hope. Michael is 19 and going to barbering school. Jenicka is 13 and she goes to private school. Johnny wants to be the next Steven Spielberg.
What's different about this season of the show? Last year it focused on your daughters, but this year it seems to be more about you.
I love giving to my fans and this is what they love. It’s hard, it takes away from my kids, cameras following me right now, but it’s cool. I’m so open and it’s important for fans to see what goes on because stuff about me is out there anyway so this way I can put it out there. We want to show who our family is, that I have five children that speak English and Spanish, that I raised them as a single mother. We’re just as normal as other Hispanic families out there. When you’re in the public eye your life is out there anyway except that many things are turned around and twisted. I want to be able to tell the truth about who Jenni really is as a human being, as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, as an artist. I’m going to take it as my opportunity to portray the truth.
Did you purposely decide to put the focus on the personal rather than the career side?
I focus on my music career too but as a mother, obviously my family takes priority.
What’s the story on the movie you’re making with Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips?
It’s called Filly Brown. It’s about a Hispanic bilingual family. I’m a mean drug addict mother who’s in prison. I have a 21-year-old daughter. My husband got me hooked on drugs and I’m still a user in prison. He cuts off my money so my goal is to get her to give me money, but she thinks it’s for my case. She’s pretty bad.
What will your fans think?
They know that every time I go on stage and act out a song I’m being someone else so it’s like that. They’re just very excited that I decided to be in a role.
Any plans for a new record?
Yes, we’re setting down the songs and it should be ready in a month or two. The songs are ready, and I’m going to start putting down the tracks and I’ll do vocals after that. It should be a springtime release.
Do you have a title for it?
Homenaje a los Grandes—Homage to the Big Ones. Rocio Durcal, Lupita D'alessio, Ednita Nazario, Rocio Jurado, Marisela, Olga Taqon, Valeria Lynch, the artists I listened to when I was younger. Meanwhile, Ricky Martin and I did a song, his single, Lo Mejor de me Vida Eres Tu, the best thing in my life is you. He chose me to record the song with. We’ve met at different award shows, and he wanted to record with the highest selling Mexican regional artist and that would be me. It came out on radio this week.
How about tour plans?
Oh yeah, I tour Friday, Saturday and Sunday all the time. I start the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of January, in the United States and Mexico.