Pro tip: Don’t ever ask a movie buff, “What was that one thing with Whoopi Goldberg?”
Answers will range from ‘90s classics (Girl, Interrupted; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Sarafina!) to TV staples (Glee; Star Trek; and starting this week, The Stand) to one CBS after-school special circa 1989. (You think we didn’t Google it before this interview? Come on…)
But now the Oscar winner (and Emmy winner, and Grammy winner, and Tony winner) has another new gig: picking your holiday gifts for Etsy. “I called them up myself!” she laughs. “I said, ‘Do you know what a fan of your website I am? Go look at my Etsy account. I shop on you all the time. Look and see my devotion.’ And now I’ve got my own holiday shop to prove it.”
And we have this interview, so…win-win.
If you’re buying my Hanukkah presents this year, what am I getting?
You could end up getting a whole lot of things, actually, because when Etsy gave me this project, I put too many things into my shop. They were like, “This is kind of intense. You need to slow down a little bit. Let’s see how this goes.” But I’m crazy when I online shop. I want everything.
Is there a theme you’re going with?
Cats. I love little weird animal things, and I love cats. There’s a woman on Etsy who makes these fabulous little cats and I bought so many of them. My cat actually passed away earlier this year.
Ohhh, I’m sorry.
Listen, he was 20. You can’t really beg more from a cat when they give you 20 years. You have to say, “Okay, you gotta go? I understand.” So I bought three fuzzy cats from Etsy to honor him, and I put them all over my house. They make me laugh every time I see them, which is really underrated when it comes to home décor, you know? We don’t talk enough about buying pieces because they’re funny. But these cats, they make me happy because they’re nutty… I know that people are never going to think of me in a lot of ways, for a lot of reasons. They don’t think I’m interested in the beauty of design or whimsy. But I love whimsy!
There are hundreds of Whoopi fan items on Etsy. Have you checked out your own merch?
I swear to you, I bought some of it. The pins from Sister Act; the pins from Ghost. I think it’s great. Plus, I’m obsessed with flannel shirts. I love them. I can’t get enough of them, and now everyone’s annoyed, because it’s all I wear. But listen to me, when you get to be a certain age, you say, “Screw this, I’ll wear what feels good and that’s it.” And with these flannel shirts, you can put pins all over them! And the Whoopi pins, I mean, I think they’re hysterical. Why not wear them?!
Do you know Boys on the Side has a very devoted following on Etsy? There’s tons of fan art.
Noooo! That makes me really pleased, though. People really like Boys on the Side much more than the critics let on. It’s about girl power; it’s about female friendships; women in friendships. It’s got strong girls, unrequited love, lesbians, Drew Barrymore. Listen, Boys on the Side has got everything! People were surprised by it. People didn’t get it when we did it, but people have grown a lot more. It’s one of those movies that, no matter how it did at the box office or how it did in the reviews, you know it means something to a lot of people. But can I tell you what fan stuff of mine I want to see on Etsy?
I want more Cinderella stuff on there with Brandy and Whitney. We need that stuff. It’s really annoying! That was such a classic and such a major movie for so many kids of the day.
It’s also not on Disney Plus.
I know! But I only work for them, so I can’t really say anything about that. Not yet anyway.
Can you say anything about Sister Act 3?
Are you a fan? Which one do you like better, 1 or 2?
I’m a ‘90s kid, so 2 for sure. And as a Jewish kid, it was my first introduction to gospel music.
That’s great, actually. My daughter prefers Sister Act 2 as well. I think it’s a generational thing. But I understand hearing certain genres of music for the first time through a movie. That’s really powerful. Movie musicals are really important because of moments like that. But in terms of details for the third one, listen, I’m still not sure. We are trying to get all of the pieces put together. The business crap. You know how it is. So let us get that together and then after that, we’re writing a script. I’m trying to let everybody do what they’re supposed to do. Because otherwise, it’s all the actors just coming to me saying, “Can we do it now? Can we improvise it without a script?” And I’m like, just let us get the business pieces together! So it’s happening. It’s going to happen. Stay excited.
The election is over…mostly. How do you think we’re doing, as a country?
I think we’re all doing much better! We’re dealing with our families and our health, which is what we should be dealing with. We’re all trying to figure out the best way to go into 2021 without flipping out. People are tired of freaking out, you know? So it’s nice to have a moment to catch our breath, collectively. We can’t stop fighting—there’s still so much out there to help solve—but we can breathe for a second.
Will you give us some advice about how to ask someone to wear a mask?
Yes, absolutely. The reality is, if you see someone on the subway or the supermarket, or a family member, not wearing a mask in public, you have to say something. Politely and calmly, obviously, but you do, I’m sorry. Be prepared for them to flip right back out at you for saying anything to them about literally anything, because that’s where we are. But if you can save lives by asking politely for someone to wear a mask, I think it’s so important.
And if they flip out at you?
People flip out at me all the time, for all kinds of things. And you know, I’ve learned that if it happens, it’ll be okay. It usually means you’re doing something right.
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