Barbra Streisand: "I'm Not a Diva"

"I'm very down-to-earth," she told the "Today" show

By Gisela Crespo and Sam Schulz
|  Friday, Dec 7, 2012  |  Updated 9:42 AM PDT
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Barbra Streisand: "I'm Not a Diva"

EVAN AGOSTINI/INVISION/AP

In spite of what some people might think, Barbra Streisand says she's not a "diva."

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Barbra Streisand may be a singing legend, but she's not a diva, she told Savannah Guthrie in an intimate interview that aired on the "Today" show Friday.

"I'm not a diva. I don't think so," she said emphatically. "I'm very down-to-earth."

The iconic singer and actress confessed she has a lot in common with her character in the new movie "The Guilt Trip," in which she plays Joyce, Seth Rogen's sneaker-wearing, M&Ms-loving New Jersey mom who accompanies him on a cross-country road trip.

"There's a part of me that's very much like Joyce. I like to be comfortable, so I was able to wear sweatsuits and sneakers — that part of me that really came from Brooklyn," Streisand told Guthrie.

"You just know where you stand in Brooklyn," she said of her hometown. "Those are my people, that's where I was born, that's where I was raised, that's where I also wanted to escape from."

In real life, Streisand said she enjoys going on road trips with husband James Brolin in their truck — sitting close on its bench seat and stopping to eat "anywhere they've got good food."

"The Guilt Trip" is Streisand's 19th film, and she told Guthrie that soon she wants the chance to go back to directing films. Better known as a singer and actress, she also directed (and starred in) Oscar-nominated movies "Yentl," "The Prince of Tides" and "The Mirror Has Two Faces."

"I want to direct movies. I want to be behind the camera, not in front of the camera, just get the best out of actors, the best out of a story," Streisand said.

She also admitted to some of her ongoing challenges as a performer, like her legendary stage fright and her perfectionism, which she said have subsided over the years but still sometimes plague her.

"I'm striving for excellence, striving for perfection. But you never really gain it, and it's okay not to gain it," she explained.

And despite her "little bit" of lingering stage fright, she told Guthrie she truly loves singing.

"It's just pleasure, pure joy," she said.

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