While I’m fascinated by the art, movies and music that artists all over the world produce, I’m not fascinated by some of the attitudes that come with it. You know, those singers and actors who, because they’ve become a little famous, think it’s fine to be rude, mean and unkind. Or who believe, because they’ve made obscene amounts of money, flaunting their immense wealth with ridiculously priced items they then treat with contempt, makes them look ‘cool’ (it doesn’t, it makes you look like a dick).
I was thinking about this last night, after I watched an interview with Austrian singer Conchita Wurst. An interview Conchita did in Prague on Monday right before her performance at Prague Pride, and one in which, if she’s not the sweetest, cutest, most deserves-to-be-loved girl on the planet, I don’t know who is.
Because something stuck in my head. Something about the look on her face and what she said when she was asked how much she spends on make-up. Something that strengthened a thought I’ve always had about Conchita Wurst. A thought about what she values, what her core beliefs are, and why, even if she becomes bigger than Celine Dion and has to deal with all the fame that comes with that, I know she’ll never give me a reason for stopping loving her.
The question was, “How much do you spend on cosmetics?” followed up by the interviewer being a bit rambly about what she was trying to get at, but it all boiled down to “Do you spend stupid amounts of money on cosmetics, buying only high-end brand names, or do you use cheap products to get this beautiful effect?”
Of course, if you know Conchita, you know she uses some brand name cosmetics. But, my guess has always been she uses high-end brands that are given to her as gifts, or a couple of branded items that work well for her. Overall, though, I’ve always thought she’s a financially astute person, and doesn’t waste money.
Meaning, she buys the cheapest products she can for the job she needs done, as she’s not the type of person who uses designer cosmetics so she can prove to people how ‘awesome’ she is.
Part of that, of course, probably comes from her having had to struggle to afford the clothes, the make-up and the wigs she had to buy pre-Eurovision. Because carving out a career for yourself as a drag queen is definitely not cheap.
Much of it, though, I’m convinced, comes from the values her parents likely instilled in her. Don’t waste money on expensive things just because they’re expensive, and take care of the things you do own. (And how do I know they probably told her that? Come on, just listen to her).
In the interview Conchita talks about how the cheapest products are usually the best. She then goes on to say, “When it comes to lashes…there are these fancy lashes made out of whatever…human hair or whatever…and I tried them out, and I thought…mmmmm…it’s nice, but it’s just not for me”. She then admits the lashes she wears are plastic.
The interviewer then pushes her a bit further to say how much she spends on make-up. And, yes, while probably not the politest question, let’s face it, we all want to know these things.
And it was the look on Conchita’s face I loved when the interviewer said, “So is it a hundred dollars or euros for your make-up products, or is it a thousand euros?”. Because it was that eye flash she always does and the way she sideways glances at the camera when she’s thinking “that was a daft question” that made me laugh.
And then we got the nitty gritty details of exactly how much Conchita Wurst spends on make-up, as she’d obviously decided “The only way I can explain this is by telling the truth”.
“Okay, listen. My lashes…the pair…costs 4 euros. So, three, that would be 12. What do I wear? Well, the MAC foundation is a bit more expensive. I think the MAC foundation is about 70 euros? But it’s a good investment because MAC really does cover your skin perfectly. So, no, it’s probably…if I would wear the most expensive things that I have, and would add it together, I think we would be about like…with this foundation…about 100 euros.”
Which is exactly what I would have guessed, or less. Because I know my girl. I know her values. I know what’s important to her and what’s not, and I know she doesn’t waste money when she can buy something that does the job just as well for a far cheaper price.
And this is one of the 10,323 reasons why I love Conchita Wurst. (Yes, those reasons just went up in number, but they always do on every new video I watch).
Because I know, no matter how famous she becomes or how much money she makes, she will buy expensive things because she loves the product itself and not because of the brand name on it. She will also buy cheap things if they do the job just as well. And she will never ever push her money in the face of others by flaunting the designer products she buys, just to act out some fucked-up idea she has in her head that doing so makes her ‘awesome’.
I also know I will never be ashamed of Conchita Wurst. I will never be angry at the opulent way she lives in disregard that most of the planet barely survives on less than $10 a day. And I will never have cause to walk away from her, thoroughly disgusted in what her values are and what she now deems ‘important’.
Because I know what’s important to her.
Being smart enough to spend money wisely, as you never know when it’s going to go away. Taking care of the people she loves the most (yes, I know she’ll buy her parents that house one day), and never making other people feel worthless because they don’t have the income she has.
And I look at Conchita Wurst and the things that are important to her — family, friends and being a good person. And I couldn’t tell you if it’s because she’s Austrian and so, even though she’s far from conservative in some respects, it’s definitely ingrained in her in others. Or if it’s because of how her parents brought her up that makes me like her so much (I’m guessing a combination of the two). But I do know I aspire to being as nice as her. As, no, I’m really not.
You see, my outer self is just like hers. Kind, sweet, nice, polite and always always considerate. Its my inner self I have a problem with.
Because, inside, I’m the female version of Hank Moody. You know, the writer on Showtime’s ‘Californication‘ who has a heart of gold but you’d never know because he spends his life as the biggest asshole you’ll come across. I’m him, minus the having sex with anything that moves, but just as rude and just as obnoxious – and some of that sometimes leaks out. Well, I’m British and American — the two worst nationalities on the planet for being utter twats — and I’m a writer. So, with those three strikes, I am, most definitely, already…out.
But, when I watch interviews with Conchita Wurst like this one, it gives me something to work towards. It makes me want to make my inner self as nice as hers (because her inner and outer selves match for the most part — I can just tell). And it’s one more reason why I will always love her. Because, even if I never get there, she at least makes me want to try to be a better version of myself.
You’ll find the video of the interview I’m talking about on the Prask website (although they have to have some of the most invasive advertising I’ve ever seen, the video quality is good, and I prefer to support the people who filmed the video where possible).
You can also watch the video in the YouTube video below.