Last night Conchita Wurst appeared on “The Saturday Night Show” – RTÉ’s flagship Saturday chat show – to discuss Eurovision, her beard, Tom Neuwirth and discrimination.
Here’s the main things she had to say:
You’re representing Austria, but you’re actually Colombian?
Yes I am.
So would you like to conduct the interview in Spanish?
Emm, yeah. I can do. I don’t understand a word in Spanish. And I can say hello.
So we should tell people that’s not your song [the host, Brendan O’Connor, was referring to Conchita’s opening performance of “That’s What I Am”] for the Eurovision. You came second in the [Austrian] song contest?
I came second in 2012. Second! And well, we gonna, we have, hopefully, a better song than this one. But I love this one as well.
I can’t help noticing your beard?
Oh yeah! It’s my beard, yeah. You know all the girls in Colombia have beards [Audience laugh]. No they don’t!
Why the beard?
You know the thing is, why I created this stage persona, emm, I think everybody would agree on that, if emm, when I say being a teenager is a very tough time. So, the same with me and I was always, like, more like the outsider, you know, and like the crazy bird. And I always tried to fit in, and I changed myself in every, every way you can imagine. And …
And this, we’re talking here about Tom Neuwirth growing up in a small village in Austria?
I always say I’m a working queen and a very lazy boy at home. Emm, well yeah, and I just tried to fit in, but this never really worked out. So, at the end of the day I decided I deserve a fabulous life and just be myself.
So you decided just not to fit in at all.
No! Not at all. And this is very, very comfortable for me.
Is Conchita just for the stage?
I will stay in that [Conchita regalia] because it takes some time to get everything fixed. So, I enjoy being Conchita. But I also like, you know the lazy Tom at home.
Is Conchita happier in her skin than Tom was?
Yeah, you know the thing is, I came into show business in 2007 as Tom. And I don’t really, you know this didn’t work out that well for me because I didn’t understand that people were coming to me in my private time. So, I created this, not just because of this, I created this persona because nobody recognises me in the underground or, when I’m, you know, private. And I really enjoy that. Because I can say things, and it’s not me in the end of the day.
There’s a message there as well?
There is. As I mentioned, you know, I struggled with discrimination as far as I can remember. And I decided to create this bearded lady as a statement to just be yourself. And you can look whatever you want and you can dress however you like. Because it’s not about where you’re from, the colour of your skin, or the way you look. It’s just about you. It’s just about your character and I think it’s such an important thing. Especially now a days.
How have the Austrians taken to the fact that Conchita will be representing them in the Eurovision?
Some of them were happy, and some of them, you know … I knew that it was going to be like that. Because the very first day I went on the stage in 2011, I was in a casting show, I knew back then that there would be people who like it and some people don’t really.
Why? What’s their problem with it?
I don’t understand it, because it’s [the beard] is just 2% of the whole body, you know, it’s just a little facial hair.
So far no clips of the interview have been uploaded to Youtube, but hopefully we can update this post soon. Meanwhile, the full show is available to watch on the RTÉ Player for the next 21 days, and the segment with Conchita begins around the 23 minute mark.
You can see the full interview in the clip below.