When Lopez was born, the family was living in a small apartment in the Castle Hill neighborhood. A few years later, her parents had saved up enough money to be able to purchase a two-story house, which was considered a big deal for the relatively poor family. She toured New York with her school when she was seven years old. Her parents stressed the importance of work ethic and being able to speak English. They encouraged their three daughters to put on performances at home—singing and dancing in front of each other and their friends so that they would stay "out of trouble". She auditioned and was cast in My Little Girl , a low-budget film co-written and directed by Connie Kaiserman.