Sandra Bernhard: You Either Is, or You Ain’t



Sandra Bernhard, a former headline-making party girl, is living a quieter lifestyle in the press, but the world will always know when she has something to say. Nestled in Greg Ruggeri’s Hair studio, Sandra opens up to dot429’s R. Couri Hay about her Twitter aspirations, flourishing career in the acting world, and newfound appreciation for her more tranquil lifestyle.

With 30 years in the entertainment business, including a revolutionary role on Roseanne, Bernhard hasn’t felt the pressure to stay relevant or maintain being current. “It just gets different. The technological era makes it so you have to shape it up to a new level of staying current. That’s why I twitter. When I started off, you went to a club and performed and people wrote about it in newspapers and that was your outlet. Now you do something for the internet and it reaches a whole different market. You have to adjust with the times.” Sandra has done just that. When asked about her Twitter following, the actress tells R. Couri Hay, “Right now I’m up to almost 49,000 and I want to make 50,000 by the New Year, so I have three weeks to go.”

Bernhard has been in the spotlight as attitudes in the industry have changed towards the LGBT community. Sandra describes the shift as being one towards progress and acceptance. “I think we are in a more sophisticated time and we’ve gone in and out of entertainment and great shows, but I think there are more outlets now than there were back then for the LGBT community.” Bernhard does not believe that geography or occupation impacts LGBT acceptance in the workplace. “If you are in traditional business and you can handle it, then you can make it anywhere. But if you’re in a creative field, you have to be in a major city. Being gay has nothing to do with that.”

Possessing creativity and an outspoken nature, Bernhard has never had a problem capturing an audience because she has always stayed true to herself. “I think for anyone starting off in this business, you’ve got to be an original. You have to have something to say. If you don’t have anything to add to the national conversation that elevates it and moves it to another level, then don’t do it. Don’t infiltrate a business that is already rife with mediocrity.”

Bernhard’s sexuality hasn’t been scrutinized in the business like Oprah Winfrey and other public figures. While Bernhard is comfortable with who she is, she says, “not everyone is comfortable proclaiming their sexuality and some people don’t even understand their own sexuality. So even if [Oprah] was gay, and wouldn’t admit it, I feel like she has gone above and beyond her responsibility for humanity. I don’t look at Oprah as a sexual person. I don’t think she really cares that much about sex. She probably cares more about companionship and company.”

Sandra’s driving force to succeed is her relationship with her girlfriend and her daughter, Cicely (whose father still remains unknown to the public, but is known to Cicely). “I still enjoy going out to a good party, but I think a lot of people in my position understand that having a healthy family is being there and being part of it. Part of my drive, what makes me creative, was having my baby.” During Sandra’s interview she discusses that her relationship with Madonna has fizzled, saying, “I keep my friends my whole life, but Madonna feels differently.” The full video interview with Sandra Bernhard and dot429’s On The Dot columnist, R. Couri Hay, discussing her career, celebrity friendships, and more, will be live on dot429 on February 1st.

See Sandra live on New Year’s Eve at Joe’s Pub in NYC or in London for Whatever It Takes, February 9- February 13.

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