In this month’s Harper’s Bazaar, Jennifer Aniston recreates iconic images of Barbra Streisand, which I think is supposed to have something to do with them both being funny. But the photo shoot fails — dare I say, miserably — because part of what makes Barbra Barbra, and what makes these pictures iconic in the first place, is her nose. Her Jewish nose. Which Aniston does not have.
Before you jump down my throat, I feel inclined to say that the reason this rubs me the wrong way in the first place is because I am Jewish, and I also happen to have a Streisand-ish nose. I’ve learned to love my nose (without the assistance of a plastic surgeon), but it nevertheless offends me to see these pics as if we’re supposed to forget about that facial feature that was so emblematic of what made Streisand who she was, rather than some carbon copy of everyone else in Hollywood. Using someone with a conspicuously perfect nose — one that may very well have been jobbed itself — is a whitewashing of the images, and flies in the face of a lot of what Streisand stood for. That makes the shoot (back to my original point) a failure.
Harper’s may or may not have tried to acknowledge the discrepancy in the photos, by running the following quote from Jen:
“I have no idea what people are going to think about it. Everybody has an opinion; it’s just what people love to have. But that’s okay. Art is so subjective, and people can react however they want.”
But why not just get someone else to do Streisand in the first place? Surely the magazine recognized the issue — it’s impossible not to. Why not get Nia Vardalos? Emanuelle Chriqui? Sophia Copolla? Sarah Jessica Parker? Or is it just asking to much to keep the iconic nose intact in such a prominent homage?
Streisand herself has commented on the photos, and to her credit, is a lot less of a grinch about it than I am. But on her blog, she had three sentences to say, and this is what they were:
I was very flattered that Jennifer Aniston chose to interpret my style. She’s a delightful person, and I think she did a wonderful job. If only she had a bump on her nose.