The Streisand Profile: The Nose

Profile of Streisand by

After her voice, Barbra Streisand is (arguably) best known for her nose! People often wonder why she never had it fixed.

This is what Barbra has had to say about the topic over the years:

In a 1985 interview with Barbara Walters, Barbra Streisand explained her thought process about having her nose “done,” which she thought about early in her career:

Well, first of all I didn't have the money to have my nose fixed — even if I had thought about it, which I did think about it. The real reason is I didn't trust the doctors to make my nose right ... I thought my nose went with my face, ya know, it's all rather odd.

1970s photograph of Streisand profile by Schapiro

Barbra talked about her nose, when interviewed for PLAYBOY Magazine in 1977. It's possible a rhinoplasty operation may have ruined the sound of her singing voice.

PLAYBOY: What is it, do you think, that makes your voice so special?

STREISAND: My deviated septum. If I ever had my nose fixed, it would ruin my career.

PLAYBOY: Did you ever consider having it fixed?

STREISAND: 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 ...Silvano Mangano

... See, I wouldn't do it conventionally. When I was young, everyone would say, "You gonna have your nose done?" It was like a fad, all the Jewish girls having their noses done every week at Erasmus Hall High School, taking perfectly good noses and whittling them down to nothing. 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.

All I would want to do is change the tilt of the front and take off a little bit, just a little bit, that's all. I think Silvana Mangano, the Italian actress, has the most beautiful nose there is. An incredible nose, Roman, bumpy, like from an old piece of sculpture. That's what I consider beautiful. I certainly don't like pug noses or little tiny noses.

Streisand does prefer to be photographed from the left side. “My face has two very different sides,” Streisand told USA Today in 2009. Although she's never said why she prefers the left side, it's possible that one (or several) of the first-rate photographers she's worked with over the years (Avedon, Irving Penn, Scavullo, and cinematographer Harry Stradling) identified her best side and Streisand stuck with that.

Streisand is an actress who is photographed and filmed more often than not. She has also had to suffer the stings of critics who sometimes write about her looks rather than her work. Therefore, she has thought about her face — a necessity in show business. In 2003, Streisand spoke to writer Sara Davidson:

“... I do have a strange face. It changes so much from angle to angle. Sometimes I think I really did look quite beautiful, and a lot of times I thought I looked really bad. It's a shame. But on the other hand, I'm not going to cry over it. I'm trying to be in the moment, and I'm enjoying my life.”

Barbra's gloriously elongated nose has helped redefine the definition of beauty. Streisand's looks opened the door for other ethnic and non-traditional-looking actresses.

Some find Barbra Streisand to be incredibly beautiful; some think she is unattractive. In retrospect, like it or not, the Streisand profile is her trademark and makes her instantly recognizable.

Streisand —and her nose — are one of a kind.

Profile photo by Herb Ritts