Barbra Streisand on the moment she became 'aware of what was beautiful about my face'

In a new interview, the iconic Barbra Streisand opens up about Hollywood's dealings with her prominent nose and the time she realized 'what was beautiful about my face.'

Barbra Streisand
(Image credit: Andrew Toth / Stringer)

Just a few weeks before the release of a remastered recording of one of her most iconic performances at New York City's now-defunct Bon Soir club, Live at the Bon Soir, legendary artist Barbra Streisand gave an interview regarding her time in the spotlight, specifically dissecting how Hollywood's  beauty standards have affected her career.

Barbra, who recently shared the secret to her happy marriage to actor James Brolin, opened up to The Guardian about the time she finally became "aware of what was beautiful about my face, which I wasn't aware of at all." 

Crediting her friend, illustrator and make-up artist Bob Schulenberg, the now 80-year-old singer recalled how his iconic drawings helped her see herself in, quite literally, a different light.

The Way We Were was almost never made

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures International/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Around the same time, Vogue's then editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland put Barbra on the cover of the March 1966 issue, which featured an editorial spread that actually focused on the artist's prominent nose, the subject of many conversations throughout the years.

"I was thrilled about that!," Barbra, who recently revealed Prince Charles sent this very special gift to her hotel room once, said to The Guardian. "I was called embarrassing names. [A] critic said I looked like the Egyptian queen Nefertiti [while another compared my profile to an anteater's]. I thought, really? Maybe I'm both."

This isn't the first time throughout her illustrious career that Barbra has opened up about the way her physical appearance and aspects of her character were discussed in public forums.

Barbra Streisand has opened up about her close relationship with Prince Charles in a new interview

(Image credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for LACMA)

Back in 1977, in an interview with Playboy, the star actually stated that 'if I ever had my nose fixed, it would ruin my career." 

When asked whether she ever considered getting a nose job, Barbra said, "In my earlier periods, when I would have liked to look like Catherine Deneuve, I considered having my nose fixed. But I didn't trust anyone enough to fix it. If I could do it myself with a mirror, I would straighten my nose and take off that little piece of cartilage from the tip [...] I wouldn't do it conventionally. The first thing someone would have done would be to cut my bump off. But I love my bump, I wouldn't cut my bump off."

More recently, during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the singer discussed how folks tried convincing her to change her own name as well.

"People wanted me to be called Barbra Sands," she said to the host about a year ago. "I thought, 'What? No.' Streisand is my name. I don't want to change it. [Also], for my first record they wanted me to call it 'Sweet and Saucy Streisand' [and] I am neither too sweet or too saucy."

Alas, things have worked out for Barbra,  who currently lays claim to two Academy Awards, five Emmys, nine Golden Globes, ten Grammy awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grammy Legend Award) and even a Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Clearly, joke's on all of Barbra's former critics.

Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.