Barbra Streisand on Battling Insecurities and Hollywood's Glass Ceiling

Jamie Foxx, Barbra Streisand and Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos - Conversation At Netflix's FYSEE -Getty-H 2018
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

She spoke with Jamie Foxx at Netflix’s Raleigh Studios on Sunday for a special conversation about her prolific career and challenging the status quo.

Barbra Streisand wants you to listen to what women have to say.

At a Netflix FYSEE event for her newest special, Barbra: The Music...the Mem’ries...the Magic, on Sunday, the 76-year-old urged the audience — and Hollywood — to let women take the lead more often.

“In the acting world, female directors are having a hard time getting jobs,” she said during a conversation with Jamie Foxx after a screening of the special. “When I made Yentl, my first directorial job, it was like, ‘You’re going to direct it? You mean an actress can direct it? Actresses can be fiscally responsible for the budget?’ In other words, it was difficult. It’s still a man’s world, basically, in movies.”

Despite the initial pushback, Streisand’s directorial debut with Yentl eventually made her the first woman to ever receive a Golden Globe for best director.

She also mentioned several films in which she plays headstrong women who desire more than they are allowed, including Yentl and Up the Sandbox, explaining that this philosophy to always seek more followed her throughout her career.

“I want everything,” she said, relating the opening track from A Star Is Born (titled “Everything”) to the current women’s movement. “Yes, I want a relationship. I want a career. I want children. I want dogs. I want everything. And women today are saying, ‘We want it all. It’s not just a career.’”

After over six decades in entertainment, Streisand has certainly had it all. 

The award winner’s presence on stage was met with near-constant applause from the audience as she discussed her most iconic performances, from Funny Lady to A Star Is Born, her numerous awards (including the rare EGOT) and her lingering insecurities about performing live.

“I’m kind of insecure in many ways,” she admitted. "I’m not full of myself. I don’t think everything I do is great.”

These insecurities once led to a 27-year break from performing live — save for political fundraisers and charity performances — after she forgot the lyrics to one of her songs during the concert that later became A Happening in Central Park, she told Jamie.

“I wasn’t charming and cute,” she said, recalling the experience. “I was just, like, petrified.”

Barbra: The Music...the Mem’ries...the Magic isn’t the only work from the Hollywood legend that Netflix will house.

At the Netflix FYSEE event at Raleigh Studios, Streisand announced that six of her classic TV specials — including Timeless, Color Me Barbra, A Happening in Central Park, Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments and Barbra: The Concert — will hit the streaming platform, along with an extended version of her 1976 film A Star Is Born (a remake of the film with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is set to hit theaters in October).

The extended version which will feature a new scene in which Streisand performs an instrumental version of “Evergreen” as well added footage to the “With One More Look at You/Watch Closely Now” medley finale.

“Is this beyond your wildest dreams?” moderator Foxx, who performed a duet with her for the newest special, asked her about her career and accolades.

“I hate to tell you this, Jamie, but no,” she told him. “It's because I was a child who had to dream.”