Conchita Wurst finished a wonderful four days in Germany on Friday with a two-hour stint on the NDR Talk Show in Hamburg. The talk show is hosted by Barbara Schoneberger, the lovely presenter who was also on Unser Song für Österreich (USFO) on Thursday night, and Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt, and is the second longest-running talk show on German TV.
Conchita was on the show for two hours, with a 20-minute segment at the end that featured just her, during which she sang her new single ‘You Are Unstoppable‘ again. Of course, she gave a lovely performance, as she always does, but it’s not her singing I’m most interested in here. It’s her interview. Because, if you watch it closely, it tells you quite a lot about Conchita Wurst.
The interview (in German, of course) starts off with Conchita talking about winning the Eurovision Song Contest.
She tells how she’s never won anything before, how all the 12 points coming in were unbelievable to her, and how her best friend Nicole had to elbow her in her side to wake her up when she won (a gesture I just found incredibly sweet and funny).
Then she tells a funny story about having to go to the bathroom during the final, and how her ear piece fell down the toilet and she managed to almost flush it away. (It’s the animation with which she tells it, how she stresses certain words to convey the humor of the situation, her actions and her facial expressions that are interesting to watch — such incredible energy and emotion she manages to portray. A born storyteller, I’d say).
But the bit that interested me the most was the next part. After she sang. The part where Barbara Schoneberger asks her about her just released autobiography, ‘Ich, Conchita‘, about growing up as a child in a tiny village in Styria, being bullied as a teenager, and how she told her parents she was gay. (‘Her’ being ‘him’, but you get the gist).
Now here’s what you should understand before you watch it. Since she won the Eurovision Song Contest, Conchita Wurst has gone from barely mentioning the bullying and the emotional trauma of her teen years, to pushing it off as ‘not that bad’ to, with her book, now admitting more about what she went through.
In doing so, however, she has also come up with a way of telling it that makes it possible for her to do so without getting upset. A way of distancing herself from the situation, so it’s easier to talk about. I can’t explain how she does it, I just know how she does it because I do it too. I had a fiancé who died the day before our wedding, and I tell that story the same way she tells hers.
I don’t, however, have to tell my story in front of an audience, and cameras and a group of enraptured guests. Not like she does. Nor in an atmosphere that gets quieter and quieter as she continues to talk. An atmosphere and a story that cause her to slightly lose the control she always has around this subject as those emotions begin to hit.
But this is what I admire about Conchita Wurst more than anything. She knows how to get that control back, move on to the end of her story, and tell it in a way where you never feel more than just slightly sad for her.
And that, I’m guessing, is exactly how she wants it to be. Because she’s a person who never wants people to feel sorry for her (God, I hate that more than anything and, I’m telling you, so does she), because it doesn’t serve a good purpose for anyone, but particularly not for her. Someone who is one of the strongest people. Someone not willing to live her life being felt sorry for, when she doesn’t feel sorry for herself.
That’s why I enjoyed watching Conchita Wurst on the NDR Talk Show, because it solidified in my head, once again, what a strong person she is. And how she will always continue to use the adversity she has experienced in her life to focus and to push herself onto better things.
What’s even more interesting, however, is all of this strength she’s determined to cling onto no matter what, is also mixed with the most amazing vulnerability. A vulnerability that all but oozes out of every pore. A vulnerability, I’m convinced, that is one of the reasons so many people already love her, and a vulnerability that will cause more to fall in love with her as time goes on.
But that’s part of the enigma of Conchita Wurst. A person who hasn’t allowed an early life of quite a lot of pain to color her present life in a negative way. Instead she is incredibly strong, astoundingly vulnerable — two diametrically opposed characteristics — and, yet, she is able to embrace and keep them both.
Now, here’s the video for Conchita Wurst’s appearance on the NDR Talk Show. You may also prefer to watch it at the source, and in much better quality.