It’s 2 am in Bangkok, and I was going to bed. Then Conchita Wurst fan, Rebecca Reyes, uploaded videos of Conchita’s interview at the LA Press Club last night, and there went my sleep.
Because the minute Conchita began speaking on the LAPC stage, I knew this was what I’d been waiting months to see. A conversation with a woman I admire more than anyone, and who is speaking in an in-depth way about her life, her career, and what’s important to her. It is a lovely interview — the best she’s done — and Conchita proves, yet again, what a sweet, funny, eloquent, intelligent and utterly charming person she is. (Can I just add, her English skills, accent and use of slang are superb too — showing, once more, what intelligent people she and her creator Tom Neuwirth are).
The interview began with a delightful introduction from Austrian journalist and LAPC board member, Barbara Gasser. She explained why she invited Conchita to the LAPC and to the Golden Globes – “I like her. The way she talks about the issues that are important to her. The way she performs, the way she eloquently appears, and her elegance and grace. There is a very generous and very humble attitude to her, and I like that”. (Don’t we all, Barbara. She’s phenomenal).
Ms. Gasser’s introduction is at the beginning of the first of five videos of Conchita’s interview at the LA Press Club. You can watch them below. Underneath each one, I’ve made comments on what I liked the most about what she said, and things you may want to look out for.
The first thing I always notice when Conchita is being interviewed is her facial expressions. You can see what she’s thinking from how she looks, and the funny and charming faces she pulls. It adds to her appeal, as she’s just so delightfully open and real.
Now, I know Tom Neuwirth is a strong person (and I’m talking about Tom here as, back then, it was mainly him). You realize how strong he is, though, when Conchita talks about leaving home at the age of 14 to go to fashion school. To have that level of certainty and commitment about what he needed to do to make himself happy at such a young age is really quite astounding.
And then Conchita says, “I’m not a friend of making compromises, so I want everything”, and this is just one of the many reasons I admire her. She’s absolutely sure of what she wants and, boy, is she stubborn. And me? I love that.
“The only thing I can promise is love will find you”, she says, when she’s talking about advice she can give to teens and young adults struggling with being accepted for who they are. She is 100 percent right. It’s also a powerful message, as it’s not condescending, trite or, heaven forbid, too cheery for someone in a dark place in their life. It’s just true. If you find the strength to struggle through the bad times (and we all have them, although maybe not as many or as terribly as so many people who are gay sadly do), love will find you and, what you will find because of it, is more than worth the pain.
Here also Conchita talks about meeting people in LA and how they all had “a dream and a vision” and support each other’s dreams and visions rather than, as otherwise happens in Europe, where the impetus is to put people down, and to stamp on that dream. She’s right about that too. As a fellow European, it’s one thing I always loved about living in LA. You feel like you can do anything, because that’s what most Americans believe.
As for the pure joy on her face when she talks about her dress for the Golden Globes, that just makes me laugh, as she could never hide how much she loves being a woman, and how much she adores clothes. All I can say is everyone should so wholeheartedly embrace who they are, and be that genuinely joyful.
And it’s here where I mention the massive grin I’ve had on my face throughout these videos. Because you know how you want the person you admire to be as amazing as you think she is? And then you find out, she’s even better? Yep. That’s me. And her.
A silly thing. I love how she says “Austria”. It’s like someone would have said it in the 19th century. If they were related to Queen Victoria, were somebody’s grandmother, and had more money than God. Very very cute.
How she chooses songs is interesting. She hears it one time. By the time she’s arrived at the chorus, she loves it. Or not. And then she moves onto the next. She’s sure of herself, and what she likes, and isn’t going to be persuaded otherwise. Just as I would have expected.
Conchita talks about meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and what impressed her. “He’s actually very funny. I like that. And he’s easy going, in terms of what he’s doing”. I like how she always sees the human qualities in people. No matter who they are. She’s looking for the things that make them the person they are, and not the ‘image’ they project.
“I’ve always been surrounded by love. Always. I see myself as a very lucky human being. Maybe also because I don’t see negativity, I don’t see disappointment. I just see an opportunity to grow”. And this is why I love her the most. She thinks like I do, she lives her life like I do, and she has the same family background I do. To me, that is why I can relate to her the most. She’s lucky. She knows she’s lucky. And she doesn’t take it for granted. I’ve always felt that way. (It’s also why you know, no matter how famous she becomes, she will never end up as one of the Justin Biebers of this world – she will always be grateful for what she has and always kind, sweet and lovely. I’d bet my life on it).
Finally, if I didn’t love her already, I’d fall in love just because of how she always talks about her fabulous grandmother. Because you have to love a boy who loves his grandmother that much. You just do.
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