Episode 1 of Conchita Wurst‘s candid YouTube series ‘Rock/Hard‘ released a couple of weeks ago (you can watch it at the bottom of this page).
At the time, I wrote Part One of a two-part article looking at some of the things she talked about. Namely Conchita’s rapidly changing style, why she has decided to be more ‘comfortable’ in how she dresses, and if there is a rivalry between her and creator Tom Neuwirth.
Today, in Part Two, I’m taking a look at Conchita Wurst and why she is not proud of herself.
Because this, it’s something she has talked about for a long time in little snippets during interviews — “I’m not proud of myself”, “I never feel proud of myself”.
Lack of pride means fans having to say they’re sorry
This lack of pride is something some fans seem to think means they should feel sorry for her, and that they should do everything they can to make her feel proud of herself.
Me? I don’t see it that way at all.
Instead, I see Conchita not being proud of herself, or Tom Neuwirth not being proud of himself, as a highly admirable quality. For two very specific reasons.
Morals and values
Conchita’s lack of pride in herself and what she achieves is a huge indicator of how Tom Neuwirth’s parents brought him up, and an indicator that the good Austrian morals and values they taught him are so ingrained they are never likely to disappear. No matter how famous Conchita becomes. (And, hell, doesn’t that make me like him even more!)
Because he was obviously taught to work hard and to always have goals but, when he reaches those goals, no matter how high they were, to stay humble and to never ever allow himself to become arrogant at his achievements.
Pride, in my mind, (and I’m guessing in hers?) is often more tied up with arrogance than it is with humility and, in a million years, you would never call Conchita, or Tom, that.
Conchita’s incredible work ethic
Conchita’s (Tom’s) lack of pride is also an indicator of how hard work is second nature to her, even when she is working harder than most artists ever will. Because she can’t even see herself how hard she is working, as it is just what she always does.
So, when she does achieve something extraordinary (which, let’s face it, is most of what she has done since before Eurovision 2014), all she can think is “at the end of the day it was never as tough as I thought it would be.“
That’s because, for her, it wasn’t as tough as it looks to those of us sitting on the outside. Because Conchita is highly-disciplined, works harder than most people you will ever meet, has a goal so firmly set in her mind she knows she is going to get there, and then she does everything she can to achieve it. And, so, achieve it she does.
In fact, she sums it up very well here — “So, yes, I think the more I have to hustle the more I get to the point where I would say I’m proud of myself. But that never happened in my life.“
And, of course, it never happened in her life. Because the normal person’s idea of what ‘hustling’ is, is what Conchita Wurst does every day of her life. So, that, it’s normal for her. And so nothing to be proud of.
Conchita’s idea of ‘hustling’? I wouldn’t dare even venture a guess.
Conchita Wurst, the pragmatist
When you look at Conchita Wurst, that highly glamorous diva, who revels in perfection and always seems just a little bit other-worldly, it is hard to think of her as a pragmatist. A practical person. In reality, however, she is.
Because Conchita Wurst, and that boy who dwells beneath her, is one of the most practical people you will ever meet. As she is one of those people who simply sees what has to be done and so…she does it.
Here, she talks about what happened after Tom Neuwirth’s stint with the boy band Jetzt Anders! was over, and how he got a job in a clothing store and went back to school because, well, he had to.
“So even after quitting that so many people said to me “Oh my god you must be so proud of yourself!”
You immediately found yourself a job.” “You went back to school and finished school.” And “You should be so proud!” You know what? Yeah. Kinda. I think I did the right thing. You know. I mean, what else could I’ve done? I had bills to pay, right. So I needed to go and find a job and I did not finish my school back then so I thought “Well, yeah, so now I’m gonna sell clothes!”, right?
And this is what I did. And then I went back to school and I decided to finish it and I did… And again: it’s not looking back that I say “Oh my god I was so proud!” You know, gazillions of people finish their education or finish their school or whatever after they had a break. And so there’s nothing special to it.”
See. Not proud. Pragmatic.
“Me, sitting there selfishly in love with myself”
But, out of everything I have talked about here, there is one thing when it comes to pride and Conchita Wurst that will pretty much ensure she will never be proud of herself. Not in the way some people might expect, and try to push her to be.
It is also the main reason why I am so very hopeful pride is something Conchita Wurst will never feel.
Because her idea of being proud of herself is very much like mine. When you are proud of yourself, you start to fall in love with yourself and, that, well that is only going to lead to places you probably should not go. “Me sitting there selfishly in love with myself saying “Oh my god! I’m so fabulous! I’m so proud of myself!”
And, for me, the main reason I liked Conchita Wurst from the first few things I learned about her, was never really about her talent, as huge as it may be. Nor was it ever about how beautiful she is (she’s stunning to look at, sure, but that’s not why I like her).
Instead, it was about this person I can always sense beneath all the glitz and glamour. Beneath the huge voice, the big personality and the hilarious sense of humour.
This person who, no matter what happened to her (or to him) will never really change in any negative way. Will never become arrogant or mean, rude or nasty, vain or, in the true sense of the word, a diva.
Because this person is someone whose core values are so ingrained into her very being, she will always understand that being a good and humble person who works hard and does the best she possibly can, is far more important than any pride she could ever possess.
After all, don’t they always say, ‘pride comes before a fall’?
Besides pride? Like worry, it can be a self-destructive emotion. Which is why I don’t ever want Conchita Wurst to feel pride. I just want her to feel happy.
And, as long as she doesn’t go down that winding slope to where pride eventually meets arrogance and vanity, I think she always will be.
Final note — I’ve spoken to some fans about this ‘Rock/Hard’ interview who didn’t like it so much because they felt she was ‘sad’. To me, she wasn’t sad at all. Just introspective, and trying to figure out how to explain how she feels about who she is and what she does, why Conchita is changing so much, and how being ‘challenged’ is more important than almost anything.
Personally, I loved this. Because, as a writer, my interest in Conchita Wurst is as a person first, and an artist second, so this lovely little video gave me huge insights into who she is. Endlessly interesting, brilliantly smart, constantly thinking and creating, a person with a huge depth, and someone never willing to sit still and stagnate or ‘get comfortable’.
So, no, she’s not sad. Just real.