In the just over a year I’ve been writing about Conchita Wurst, I’ve watched several hundred interviews. So many in fact, if I don’t get my Conchita interview fix every day, my life somehow seems less complete.
An interview I enjoyed yesterday was one Conchita Wurst did with the Polish Eurovision website Eurowizja, while on a trip to Poland at the end of June, as I was struck by how different this one seemed.
From the way it’s filmed and how low-key the interviewer is, it immediately seems more intimate. Conchita herself is even more introspective than usual and, as the interviewer doesn’t interrupt her, her answers are longer and more involved.
She’s also more careful with her answers. Not careful as though she’s trying to conceal something, but careful in the way she chooses each word so she can explain exactly how she feels.
But one thing in particular touched me, and it was when she talked about the difference between herself and Tom Neuwirth, her creator. And it was in the way she explained how she feels about being who she is, and how happy that makes her.
“As Tom, I never felt this free on stage. I always had the need to hold back a bit, but as Conchita I can be louder and larger and over the top, which I love, and I feel just more comfortable in the public eye. I feel beautiful, I feel elegant, and in my private life I do regular things like paying my bills and doing the dishes….and meeting my friends. I enjoy having a private life without anyone recognizing me”.
And it’s how she says it. The way her face lights up when she says “I feel beautiful, I feel elegant”, that makes you realize just how happy she is as Conchita.
And makes you think about what a tough path she’s had to walk to get to being as happy as she obviously is nowadays.
Not just dealing with the bigots, as that’s a given, but in the way she’s probably also had a difficult time becoming herself. Figuring out who she was, who she wanted to be up on stage, what she was willing to reveal to others and what she wanted to remain hidden, and how she could have it all in a person who would not only make her happy, but also be someone other people loved.
Her next answer builds on this even more, as she explains about the judgment she experienced when she first performed as Conchita. How a woman with a beard upset some in the burlesque community. A community you would expect to be full of open-minded people.
That made me think even more about the oceans worth of judgment Conchita Wurst has had to navigate to get to where she is today. Judgment that came at her from every side, and from people she did not expect. It’s no wonder she abhors it.
It also makes you understand even more why she is so in love with her friends, because they are the few people who always loved her and took care of her, no matter who she was or who she decided to become.
Because listen to her explain what her parents always taught her. “Don’t hurt anyone, and be respectful”, which is how she has chosen to live her life.
And you have to ask yourself, how the hell did she manage to keep doing that when half the people she came across treated her in any way but.
But, as much as it makes me sad she had to go through so much pain, no, I don’t feel sorry for Conchita Wurst for all that judgment thrown in her direction. After all, being pitied is an emotion I detest having directed at me as it really serves no good purpose, and I have a sense she feels the same.
I do, however, have huge admiration for someone who has had to struggle as much as she has for just basic acceptance, and has still come out of it happy, rightfully proud of who she is, respectful and kind. Often even to people who deserve it the least.
Now watch the interview below and concentrate on how happy and at peace with herself she seems. And be so happy for her.
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