How Nicky Jam & J Balvin Plan to Take Over American Film, Fashion

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J Balvin poses with His 'Best Urban Song' For 'Ay Vamos' next to Nicky Jam holding His 'Best Urban Performance' For 'El Perdon' in the Press Room During the 16th Annual Latin Grammy Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Nov. 19, 2015.

When actor Vin Diesel met Nicky Jam met, “It was instant brotherhood,” says Diesel. “We knew where we had both come from.” And Diesel very quickly knew where he wanted Nicky Jam to go. The actor suggested Jam would be right for a role in this year's xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the first acting role for the musician.

"Nicky Jam is such a great talent on so many levels,” says Diesel. “He not only is a natural in front of the camera, he has great comedic timing.” Jam’s ability to be both serious and comedic served him well as the host of Lip Sync Mexico, the Mexican adaptation of Lip Sync Battle. But with Diesel’s backing, he has entered another league, with roles also in a new Miami Vice movie and, probably, in the next installments of both xXx and the Fast and Furious franchise. “I see myself as a mainstream act, like Jennifer Lopez or Shakira, acting and producing films,” says Nicky Jam. 

J Balvin wants a piece of that career crossover too. “One of these days, I have to be on Fast and Furious with Nicky Jam. That’s a dream of mine,” he tells Billboard. In the meantime, though, fashion icons like Karl Lagerfeld have taken note of Balvin, who landed a coveted invite to the Chanel fashion show in December in Paris (the last Latin star to get an invite was Jennifer Lopez in 2002) and was, in January, the first Latino named as ambassador of New York Fashion week.

“He is very comfortable with his sense of style and willing to take a risk, which is something you can only do if you're genuine in your way of dress,” says Guillermo Andrade, head of design and cofounder of fashion shop 42 in Los Angeles. Balvin has evolved into a fashion trend-setter who pushes the boundaries with his looks, from his ever-changing hair color to embracing overalls, shaggy jackets and that all-red outfit he wore to the 2014 Latin Grammys. “He makes his own rules and doesn’t take himself seriously, that’s why It’s authentic,” say Shimon & Ariel Ovadia, who tapped Balvin for their Spring 2017 campaign. Says Mike Amiri, 

AMIRI founder and creative director: "J Balvin's ability to mix an authentic streetwear sensibility with classic luxury makes him the perfect icon for the current fashion climate."