Oprah: I would say you're a person who has been a great observer of your life.
Salma: I've learned from others' lives, too.
Oprah: What is your dream for yourself now?
Salma: I dream of having kids.
Oprah: What do you think makes a relationship work?
Salma: What works in a relationship of very public people is not making the relationship public—keeping it as personal as it can be. It's the only way it is real. I am suspicious of those who have to let the world know how much they love each other. It's a little sad when you have to brag about how much you love someone. That kind of declaration doesn't always reflect the moment of truth between two people who care deeply for each other. When that truth is there, you don't need others to know it. And when somebody truly loves you, you don't even need him or her to be affectionate. Affection is fantastic, but it doesn't necessarily mean there's love—and the public display of affection is often just a show. When you open a door for others to have an opinion on your relationship, it can be dangerous. Find what you need, not what everyone else wants for you.
Women have been taught that in order to have a place in the world, an identity, they must marry and have children. If that's the life you truly want, great. But for many women, marriage is only about needing the world to know that someone desires them enough to say, "Here's a contract to prove that I love you and will commit to you for the rest of my life." For these women, no contract equals no validation—and, thus, no reason for existing.
Oprah: Halle-lu-jah! You're so right!
Salma: It's nice to have a relationship, but women have become addicted. You can have a relationship with God. With nature. With dogs. With yourself. And yes, you can also have a relationship with a man, but if it's going to be a shitty one, it's better to have a relationship with your flowers. I know so many lonely women who are married! You have to know the worth of your existence regardless of a man, regardless of an emotional love affair, even regardless of a career. Why should these things validate you as a human being?
Oprah: You're clearly a woman who has defined your own humanity. Was there a specific moment when you said, "I'm now going to decide who I am"?
Salma: It wasn't a moment, it was a process. And every day, I define myself. I know who I am today. I don't promise you anything for tomorrow—we can have an interview that's completely different!
And you know what else? I am grateful to the bombshell because if it hadn't gotten me where it had gotten me, I wouldn't be where I am today. But this bombshell thing; it's old now. It served me. And I got out of it in time to keep from serving it. I used to think, "I can't wait until 35, when people think I'm too old to be a bombshell." Maybe I'll get the good parts. But it wouldn't have happened that way.
We Hear You!