Why Conchita is a mind f*ck, and why I would have it no other way

Top photo: Andreas Costanzo, Bottom Photo: Thomas Ramstorfer/ORF

Definition: Mind F*ck: A person or thing that messes with someone else’s mind

When I first came across Conchita Wurst after her Eurovision Song Contest win in 2014, I figured I would follow her for a few months and then move onto someone more interesting.

After all, I meet few people that can hold my attention for long, and most singers don’t keep me interested for longer than a couple of songs. (Sorry. I have the attention span of a flea!).

And sure, while Conchita was beautiful and talented, she had a tendency to be too polite, was a bit shallow when she was interviewed (how could she have been anything but shallow, because she was always hiding who she was) and, frankly, was trying too hard to be liked.

And, as an Austrian once told me, I was the ‘non-famous Kathy Griffin’ — loud, opinionated and often using language that was too foul for my own good.

So, nope, she and I were probably not destined to be in the same hemisphere for very long.

Fast forward four years, my ass now lives in Vienna primarily because of her, and Conchita has gone from a high-heeled, perfectly coiffed, bland personality-d, ridiculously uptight ‘girl’ that was taped up in all the uncomfortable places, to…

Tom — a guy with bovver boots, a messy wig, a bulging crotch, an actual personality and someone who is just about the biggest mind f*ck on the planet.

And why am I writing about this today?

Because I came across this funny little interview in the German magazine Bild tonight that Conchita gave in Hamburg earlier this week.

Called “Conchita ist jetzt ein Mann” (Conchita is Now a Man), the article is basically the interviewer fascinated by why all-female Conchita Wurst is now pretty much all-male Tom — well, if there is such a thing as ‘all male’, because in Conchita’s case especially what does that really mean?

And it is Conchita answering in the vein of “Hell, I dunno. I just became uncomfortable and bored of being a woman. So then…I wasn’t”.

Followed by the honest, yet to me wickedly funny comment, “(Back then) I was just an insanely stiff President’s wife. Today there are moments when I show someone the middle finger”.

Conchita — the Mind F*ck

The turning point with Conchita for me, though came a long time before that. On a day when I knew she was always going to be a massive mind f*ck. A day when this photo appeared (original here).

It was May, 2015, that popped up on her Instagram account, I felt immediately uncomfortable and then thought, “Oh shit”.

Because I knew, from that moment on, I was going to have to make up my mind if I was going along for the ride or calling it quits.

Six months later, I met Conchita for the first time, and sat across from her for a 30 minute conversation during which I told her about her mind f*ck photo.

Her response?

She grinned.

Then she made fun of me when I told her the reason I wrote about her so much was because I learned from her, and because she made me think.

And that I specifically learned from her because she was forcing me to push through the things that made me uncomfortable, and learn to not only accept them but to actually like them.

Looking into her eyes and watching her reaction, I knew right then, the mind f*cks were just beginning.

Because Conchita herself didn’t know yet who she was or who she wanted to be, but she was going to keep f*cking with all of our heads until she did.

Keep f*cking with my mind, please, Tom

So here we all are, almost at the end of 2018.

For all intents and purposes, Conchita is now Tom…aka Tom Neuwirth, the man who created her and who always sits inside her looking out.

And while part of me still wants Conchita to always be Conchita, because that is who I fell in love with, let’s face it, it is only a matter of time before Tom himself is the main act.

And while that makes me sad to think there will be a day when Conchita will disappear forever, it also makes me happy.

For him. Because he is making himself happier and happier the more he is able to reveal to the world who he really is, and able to be accepted for doing so.

But most importantly… for me. (I never said I wasn’t completely self-involved!)

Because, as Tom spends the next few months and years figuring out what he wants to make out of this European superstar he created, there will be hundreds more mind f*cks to come.

Mind f*cks that will make me think, make me reassess what I like and am not comfortable with, while all the time expanding my views and, hopefully, becoming an even more open-minded person.

As a writer, I couldn’t ask for anything more challenging or more perfect.

So, thank you Tom for the mind f*cks you have already given me, and feel free to keep f*cking with my mind as long as you like. Because you are the most interesting person I have ever come across, and I don’t ever want this to end.

Oh and btw, you can show me the middle finger anytime you like. Because that would just make my f*cking life!

About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered anime, manga, K-drama and music news for over a decade.