When legend, saint, and weed enthusiast Whoopi Goldberg decided to create a show about trans models, she wanted to make sure she did it right. No exploitation, no sensationalism, just telling real stories about real people...who just so happened to be really, really, ridiculously good-looking.
That show, Strut, premieres tonight on Oxygen at 9pm/EST. And if you don't have Oxygen, or you just don't feel like waiting for all the fierceness, you can watch the premiere episode here.
In addition to discussing Strut, I also had a chance to kiki with Whoops—that's what I call her now because we're BFFs, according to the running monologue in my head—about her long-standing relationship with the LGBT community, her new line of weed-infused products, and the greatest movie series of all time, Sister Act.
On bathroom bills:
Whoopi Goldberg: You tell me how comfortable people are going to be when you see one of our models—you don’t want him walking into the women’s bathroom. You don’t want it! No, it’s not gonna work. So relax. Relax! Nobody’s looking to mess with you. Nobody’s looking to mess your kids up, people just want to go to the bathroom.
On first coming into contact with the LGBT community:
WG: I don’t know, [they've] always been a part of my life.
Tom Leonardis [Whoopi's production partner behind Strut]: And you were there right from the beginning with Elizabeth Taylor, when the AIDS epidemic hit and nobody would do anything.
WG: Yeah, Elizabeth and I—she asked if I had ever heard of it. You know, I lived in San Francisco. So I was like, “Yeaaaaah, I’ve heard a lot. What do you need?” We’ve been doing benefits up there forever.
Listen, I’ve always had gay friends, I’ve always had friends who were transgender who couldn’t afford to be transgender.
TL: And you’ve always hired the gays, hello!
WG: And most people think I’m gay anyway, so you know.
TL: Well, that’s true. You play a lot of gay women.
WG: I do play a lot of gay women. But can I find a girlfriend? Hell no! [laughs]
On the healing properties of marijuana:
WG: I’ve always used it medicinally. A lot of people are looking at recreational. That’s not really my thing. I feel like if you want to get high, there are so many ways to do it, I don’t need to create something for you. This person’s involved in this, Willie [Nelson]’s doing this, this is doing this, and I asked if anyone was doing anything for menstrual cramps. Everybody got hysterical, started laughing: "That’s a niche market." And I pointed out to everybody that that "niche" is half the population on the face of the earth.
I was lucky enough to partner with an amazing woman [Maya Elisabeth]—she’s extraordinary, she’s been running her own female collective of marijuana growers and makers of different foods—it’s called Om. She and I sat down and I said, "Here’s what I’m trying to do, here’s what I want to do, because I know that this is a problem." And it’s a problem for very young women. I wanted something that they didn’t have to eat, but that they could rub. So that no one could say, "Well, you’re trying to get our kids high." No, no, I’m trying to take away pain.
She worked really hard and we came up with some great products and they seem to work on a lot of women. I’m very excited, and I think they probably work on men as well, because it’s all about muscles, and all about how you take care of yourself when you’ve got a strain or a pull, the same with a cramp.
It was important to start with a woman’s line because you know people say, "Cramps don’t really hurt, they’re not real, you don’t really have cramps, it’s in your head." No, it’s in your body and it hurts! So I thought this would be a good way to start. And so far, so good, it’s been kind of amazing.
On her Broad City cameo:
WG: I love those girls! I got a call, saying, would you come and do this Sister Act thing for us? I was like, "Yeah, hell yeah!" And they were like, "Oh, ok, we don’t have to convince you?"
"Nope, I know you, I know the show."
"Yup. I’m coming. That’s it."
The beauty is, if people ask, oftentimes you can do stuff with folks. I think sometimes people say, "Oh that person would never...." You never know till you ask.
On Sister Act 3:
WG: So many of my nuns are gone. I would love to do it, but we sort of sent it out on stage—world domination, it’s in all these different countries. But should they ever make a three it would be lots of fun, I think people would like it.
On her favorite shoes:
WG: I love the folks at Irregular Choice. I love my Irregular Choice shoes. I love anybody that makes interesting shoes. There’s too many of them. I only have four pairs of shoes in my house.
TL: You need to go to Whoopi’s dressing room and see the 300 pairs that sit there.
WG: In my house, I wear my Birkenstocks and I’m happy.
On where she keeps her EGOT awards:
WG: All over the house. They’re everywhere, [I'm always] tripping over something!