Barbra Streisand is an artist of many talents. In addition to her famed singing and songwriting career, she’s also a celebrated actress and filmmaker with a host of accolades and awards—including two Oscars, nine Golden Globes, 10 Grammys, six Emmys, and one Tony—on her resume (so far). While Streisand, who turns 76 years old today, may be one of the best-selling artists of all time, what truly makes her memorable is her total originality. While her creative talents made her a star, her no-nonsense attitude has made her an icon, as evidenced by the quotes below.
1. ON HER WILD YOUTH.
“I was kind of a wild child. I wasn't taught the niceties of life.”
2. ON PURSUING YOUR DREAMS.
“As a young woman, I wanted nothing more than to see my name in lights.”
3. ON REMAINING TRUE TO ONESELF.
“I arrived in Hollywood without having my nose fixed, my teeth capped, or my name changed. That is very gratifying to me.”
4. ON INSTINCT.
“I go by instinct—I don't worry about experience.”
5. ON BEING CONTRADICTORY.
“I was a personality before I became a person—I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy, and driven.”
6. ON TRUSTING YOURSELF.
“You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.”
7. ON THE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS.
“Success to me is having 10 honeydew melons and eating only the top half of each slice.”
8. ON APPLAUSE.
“What does it mean when people applaud? Should I give 'em money? Say thank you? Lift my dress? The lack of applause—that I can respond to.”
9. ON BAD REVIEWS.
“I wish I could be like [George Bernard] Shaw, who once read a bad review of one of his plays, called the critic, and said: 'I have your review in front of me and soon it will be behind me.’”
10. ON THE DEFINITION OF “EGO.”
“To have ego means to believe in your own strength. And to also be open to other people's views. It is to be open, not closed. So, yes, my ego is big, but it's also very small in some areas. My ego is responsible for my doing what I do—bad or good.”
11. ON DOUBLE STANDARDS.
“Men are allowed to have passion and commitment for their work ... a woman is allowed that feeling for a man, but not her work.”
12. ON SAYING WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND.
“I knew that with a mouth like mine, I just had to be a star or something.”
13. ON THE LESS GLAMOROUS SIDE OF SHOW BUSINESS.
“I don't enjoy public performances and being up on a stage. I don't enjoy the glamour. Like tonight, I am up on stage and my feet hurt.”
14. ON GETTING IT RIGHT.
“I don't care what you say about me. Just be sure to spell my name wrong.”
15. ON FOLLOWING YOUR HEART.
“Nobody on this earth has the right to tell anyone that their love for another human being is morally wrong.”
16. ON THE IMPORTANCE OF TRUTH.
“I can take any truth; just don't lie to me.”
17. ON KEEPING IT SIMPLE.
“I like simple things. Elastic waists, so I can eat.”
18. ON WHY BEING “DIFFICULT” CAN BE A GOOD THING.
“I've been called many names like perfectionist, difficult and obsessive. I think it takes obsession, takes searching for the details for any artist to be good.”
19. ON LIMITATIONS.
“I just don't want to be hampered by my own limitations.”
20. ON THE TRUTHFULNESS OF AN AUDIENCE.
"The audience is the best judge of anything. They cannot be lied to. Truth brings them closer. A moment that lags—they're gonna cough.”
21. ON FINDING THE PERFECT MATCH.
“What is exciting is not for one person to be stronger than the other ... but for two people to have met their match and yet they are equally as stubborn, as obstinate, as passionate, as crazy as the other.”
22. ON THE FUTILITY OF MYTHS.
“Myths are a waste of time. They prevent progression.”
23. ON THE NATURE OF PERFORMING.
“Performing, for me, has always been a very inner process.”
24. ON THE DOWNSIDE OF STARDOM.
“I think when I was younger, I wanted to be a star, until I became a star, and then it's a lot of work. It's work to be a star. I don't enjoy the stardom part. I only enjoy the creative process.”
25. ON THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE.
“Sometimes you resent the people you love and need the most. Love is so fascinating in all its forms, and I think everyone who has ever been a mother will relate to this.”
26. ON THE IMPORTANCE OF DOUBTING YOURSELF.
"Doubt can motivate you, so don't be afraid of it. Confidence and doubt are at two ends of the scale, and you need both. They balance each other out."
27. ON AMBITION.
"I've always liked working really hard and then doing nothing in particular. So, consequently, I didn't overexpose myself; I guess I maintained a kind of mystery. I wasn't ambitious."
28. ON CONSTANTLY EVOLVING.
“I'm a work in progress.”
29. ON HER FAMOUS NOSE.
“I've considered having my nose fixed. But I didn't trust anyone enough. If I could do it myself with a mirror.”
30. ON BEING AN ORIGINAL.
“I guess if you have an original take on life, or something about you is original, you don't have to study people who came before you. You don't have to mimic anybody. You just have a gut feeling inside, an instinct that tells you what's right for you, and you can't do it in any other way.”