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The Star Shining Her Own Way: Barbra Streisand

By Ya Han Hsu

At the age of seventy nine, Barbra Streisand is a director and show business legend. She also has a lot of personality, but it has also helped her to reach today’s achievement.

Although she shines so brightly on red carpets, Barbra Streisand has had a hard time before. At the age of sixteen, she was living on her own. Barbra Streisand tried to get into show business while doing part time jobs to earn money. On the hardest days, she even had to sleep in friends’ houses or anywhere she could set up the army cot she carried around. When her mother saw her "gypsy-like lifestyle", as biographer Karen Swenson wrote, she begged Barbra Streisand to stop trying. However, Barbra Streisand wouldn’t give up. "My desires were strengthened by wanting to prove to my mother that I could be a star."

She got her first job for singing in the early 1960s. Barbra Streisand worked as an usher at a theater at that time, she got the job after she heard the casting director was auditioning for more singers. Later, her boyfriend Barry Dennen encouraged her to join a talent show at a nightclub. It turned out to be a huge success. After playing two songs, there was a "stunned silence", then a "thunderous applause" when she was announced the winner.

Later on, her career got better. However, even when she got into show business, she wouldn’t accommodate and lose herself in the crowd. After Barbra Streisand signed up to Columbia record, she insisted that she would sing whatever song she liked, in exchange she accepted lower pay. "It wasn't important to me to know the amount of money I'd get," she says. "AllI wanted was to sing any song I wanted to."

Also, she redefined what a female entertainer is. Barbra Streisand was told that she wasn’t pretty enough. But she wouldn’t do a nose job, and it turns out that she was far more successful than other people. Holding two Oscars, 10 Grammys, nine Golden Globes, five Emmys, a special Tony and 42 platinum records, she proved that being yourself is what makes you different and special.



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