Conchita Wurst or Tom Neuwirth? Same beautiful heart, same beautiful soul, same beautiful person
Conchita Wurst was in Paris over the last couple of days promoting her new book Being Conchita (Ich, Conchita) and her debut album Conchita. It’s also where she did 9,572 interviews and wore 647 outfits. Well, at least it felt like it.
Now, I didn’t watch everything she did as, you know, life — but I did hear something that grabbed my attention and made me stop and do a double take, and then rewind the video I was watching for a closer look. That’s because it was another example of how quickly Conchita Wurst is still changing. Settling into who she’s trying to become.
Discarding some things (the ‘Wurst’, which, like most of the fan base, I will never ever agree with), and fine tuning some others.
And it’s one such ‘fine tune’ I saw in this short video from ARTE’s ’28 Minutes‘. A pre-show segment where they asked Conchita to choose several cards, and then talk about the person on them. Names like David Bowie and Elton John — you know, the obvious ones.
The third name card she chose, of course, could not have been more obvious. Tom Neuwirth. The name of Conchita Wurst’s creator, and the boy who, while Conchita herself is all flamboyance, glamour and bigger than life, he is quiet, more shy and…hidden.
And it’s how Conchita Wurst responds to this card which is interesting. Because in most previous instances where Tom Neuwirth’s name came up, when she spoke there was a distinct feeling of ‘separation’ between the two. Conchita talking about the two of them as different people. And Tom sort of connected to her. But… not. “Conchita’s not shy. Tom is”.
Here, in the ARTE studio, however, her answer is slightly different. “Well, yeah, Tom. That’s me. Surprise. Well, you know, I created Conchita for many many reasons. And I think the biggest one is that I always wanted to be in show business, but when I started to do so I did it as Tom”.
And then she goes on to tell her usual story about how Tom didn’t like people coming up to him when he was with his friends having coffee, and so he created Conchita to protect himself and his private life.
And while the story is the same as it always is, and she talks about Tom the way she always does, what’s interesting here is it’s not Conchita talking. It’s now Tom. In a dress. In a TV studio. Holding a card with his name on it. And, yet, at the same time…it’s not. It’s both. Or neither. (Did you get your head around that yet? Because, yeah, it’s difficult).
And it proves to me, yet again, one thing I have always known. That while that old Conchita Wurst was pretty much half act half real (you know, the one with the drag queen mouth, tacky clothes and faux female personality — and one who I did still love, by the way), the one sat on that ARTE couch this week isn’t remotely fake.
Because that Conchita Wurst is as real as you and me. As real as Tom Neuwirth, who is also sitting there, in the same body and, yes, wearing the same dress. Because there’s no separation. There never was.
That’s why, as far as I’m concerned, she can talk about Conchita being an ‘act’ or a ‘concept’ till she’s 95, and I’m long dead. Never bought it. Never will.
Because an act or a concept isn’t that real. And it’s certainly not something someone has been doing since they were a teeny tiny tot, barely old enough to stagger around in their mother’s high heels. But, the person in that gorgeous body has.
Besides, if you look closely, underneath the outer glamour of most ‘acts’, what’s under there is markedly different, and not usually anywhere near as nice. With Conchita? Under that dress, wig, lashes and heels? Just more of the same.
Same beautiful person. Same beautiful heart. Same beautiful soul. Part man. Part woman. Neither. Both. Doesn’t matter. Never did. Perfect, really. And, with just one thing separating them. Her on stage life versus his private life. It’s as simple as that.
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