Oprah: So you felt connected to your father.
Barbra: Totally connected. Just like my father, I've always loved education. In school I was a member of the honor society. My teachers called in my mother and said, "Why isn't this kid going to college?" But my book reports were on Stanislavsky—I'd always wanted to be an actress. I don't know why—I went to very few movies when I was a girl. For my family, going to a 25-cent movie was a big deal.
Oprah: Some people become actresses because they don't like being themselves.
Barbra: That was probably true for me.
Oprah: Is part of the reason you became so famous that you never altered the way you look? You never changed your name or got a nose job?
Barbra: People told me to change my last name. But I thought, That's not real. So instead, I decided to take an "a" out of my first name and shorten it to Barbra. I did that when I was 18. As for my nose, I was afraid of the pain. And how could I trust a doctor's aesthetic sense? How would I know he wouldn't take too much off?
Oprah: If you hadn't been afraid, would you have changed your nose?
Barbra: From certain angles, I liked my nose—still do. Some people would tell me, "You could take the bump off." And I would say, "But I like the bump."
Oprah: I'm glad you didn't. Aren't you glad?
Oprah: Would you consider other kinds of plastic surgery?
Barbra: Yes, but it's scary. I don't even have pierced ears.
Oprah: I just pierced mine recently. It was major. And now one has closed up. Yesterday I had to stick a needle through to open it.
Barbra: Each ear is a different length, so how could you possibly put a hole in exactly the same place on different ears?
Oprah: You do know you're a perfectionist, right?
Barbra: Yes, but much less now. I really don't like being called a "perfectionist" as if it's a crime. I strive for excellence.
Oprah: And you like that.
Barbra: I have no choice over it. I'm less of a perfectionist than people think. When I'm directing a movie, I'm pretty forgiving. There's a moment in the novel The Prince of Tides that I tried to capture on film. In the scene, the sun and moon are out at the same time. That only happens once a month, so we waited for the right time of the right day with the right camera. But it was impossible to get the shot because that day turned out to be cloudy in South Carolina. For some reason, I could accept that easily because that is what the universe was presenting. Compromising while being conscious is very satisfying.
Oprah: Do you live a conscious life?
Barbra: I try to, but I make terrible mistakes. Every day I try to be a better human being. Many days I don't succeed.
Oprah: People use the word "diva" to describe you. That word is thrown around so much that I don't even know what it means anymore.
Barbra: It means they think you're demanding.
Oprah: Are you?
Barbra: Mostly of myself. I find that the myth of the "diva" is much bigger than me. If you look at the ad for my concert, the shadow is much bigger than the person.
We Hear You!