Interview: Conchita Wurst: ‘Nobody has to love me, but they have to accept me’

Conchita Wurst Eurovision

Conchita Wurst is probably the most talked about contestant of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The ‘bearded lady’ is going to represent Austria with the classy ballad in James Bond style, ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’. In the midst of all the controversy about her looks and persona, Conchita is happy to be able to perform the song she loves so much for such a big audience. She also tries to raise some awareness of discrimination of people who are seen as ‘different’ while she’s at it. “If I want to be a woman with a beard, I am allowed to do that!”

 Why do you think your song ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ is good enough to win the Eurovision Song Contest?
Oh my god, well, I don’t know if it is good enough to win anything, but I can tell you I love this song and from the second I heard it, it felt like it was my song. I love that it is influenced by James Bond soundtracks and the theatrical sound it has. I love the Shirley Bassey perfume. Besides the fact I love that kind of music, I also really like the message of the song. I think everybody can relate to it. It is all about standing up again after you fall and about believing in yourself. For me that is very important and I think especially everybody in the gay community can relate to it as we all have been in kind of a similar situation.

Do you hope to help and inspire young people in the gay community who are struggling to find their place?
I absolutely hope so. With the beard and everything I know that people care and have an opinion about me. That is exactly why I am doing this, because I want to show people that they can be anything they want to be. If I want to be a woman with a beard, I am allowed to do that.

Do you worry about the fact that not everybody in every country will understand or accept this?
Of course there will be people who do not get it, but that is totally fine with me. The thing that I think is very important for everybody to understand, is that nobody has to love me, but they have to accept me, just like I accept the fact that not everybody is going to like it. That is what it is all about for me, about acceptance. Everybody should just accept everybody, no matter their background or sexual orientation or whatever.

“I am my own worst critic. It is never good enough for myself.”

About the other acts in the contest, who do you think has the best chances to stop you from winning?
Oh my god, there are three I really love. The first one is Ruth from Spain with ‘Dancing In The Rain’. I fell in love with her from the moment I met her. Together we are kind of like the Kardashians, but don’t tell anyone! I also do love Armenia’s song, ‘Not Alone’ by Aram MP3. And the third is Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen with ‘Undo’.

Do you think about the results a lot? What position on the final scoreboard do you need to achieve to be satisfied?
Well, actually I do not think about that so much. I focus on giving the best I have to offer, because, I am my own worst critic. It is never ever good enough for myself. In the contest, I just want to have a perfect game, a perfect performance.

What will that ‘perfect performance’ look like?
I actually really want to keep things very simple. Just me and the microphone, something like that. And a beautiful dress of course!

If you get the chance to cover any song from the history of Eurovision, what whould you choose?
I would love to cover ‘Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi’ by Céline Dion. I really do love to sing ‘Everything’ by Anna Vissi, the song that participated for Greece in 2006, as well.

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