Her Eurovision 2021 song “Growing Up Is Getting Old” discusses the ties that bind us and the importance of being around the ones you love. And it’s now clear that Bulgaria’s VICTORIA understands the delicacy of these bonds more than you may realise.
“My father is diagnosed with a very rare disease which is ALS — Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,” she said on Sunday during Tursi Se (The Search) — one of her country’s most popular shows.
“We found out a few months ago. And it came to us totally unexpected. In this whole pandemic and everything else which is going on in the world. This just piled on, along with other things that happened in 2020, so it is really difficult for us now.”
The condition, which many of you will remember as the inspiration for the Ice Bucket Challenge, causes people to slowly lose motor neurons which control voluntary muscles. It can begin with weakness in the arms or legs before impacting a person’s ability to eat, speak and breathe. It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and motor neurone disease (MND). You can read more about the condition on the Mayo Clinic web site.
VICTORIA discusses her father’s ALS diagnosis on “Tursi Se”
Given all that she’s going through, it’s understandable that she described her experiences in 2021 as “bittersweet.”
Thankfully, a series of surprise guests were on hand to help comfort her. They included her producer Genoveva Christova, her father Petar, her mother Zvezdalina, her sister Simona, her first boyfriend and childhood friend Drago and her close friend and the director of her music videos Victoria Karakoleva.
“There is no fear in her eyes,” her father said. “She is strong and supports me a lot. She has always encouraged me to be strong and positive to fight the disease…I want to thank her and I love her very much.”
The past year has changed the singer in profound ways and strengthened her bond with her parents. “I started saying ‘I love you’ to my family more often,” she says. “I know they love me very much and I love them. These three words are very strong.”
“I grew up a lot at that point last year. Over the last year, someone poured me something and said — ‘grow up, you have to!’ Not that I wanted to grow up, but it happened. I feel more mature and more secure now.”
We are proud of our #Eurovision 2021 artist @victoriageorge_ for opening up about her father's ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) diagnosis. This is a rare disease and her speaking up about it will bring more attention towards the challenges people with ALS face in #Bulgaria. pic.twitter.com/nFGuNXfJqN
— BNT Eurovision Bulgaria ?? (@bg_eurovision) April 11, 2021
VICTORIA also revealed the pressure she felt to lose weight prior to joining her current label.
“I believe [the weight gain] came from a lot of stress, because things with the label I was with before Ligna Studios were going great in the beginning. But maybe we just could not click with the team. In a way, they just didn’t get to know me enough. Maybe I also didn’t give them enough space to get to know me. It goes both ways, yes, it’s always mutual, on both sides.”
“But there was a period in which they were forcing me to lose weight. And this was just a little too much for me…I kept diets, started going to do fitness, which is something I really hated because I believe it’s something that has to come from within, that you have to want yourself. The motivation has to come within you and not from somebody telling you, ‘Now you have to do this just because you have to!’ That’s when I started going to the gym and became totally obsessed.”
“Everyday I weighed myself at home and one day I just collapsed on top of the scales, saying, ‘Nothing is happening!’ I deprived myself of so much for very low calorie intakes. For 2 months I lost around 6 kilograms. At that point things were really not going well with the label so we just kind of let go of each other, we went our separate ways. I fell into a huge emotional hole — depression. The motivation to move forward came from [my current manager] Genoveva and my new team.”
Genoveva Christova from Ligna Studios saw VICTORIA’s emotional turmoil.
“The fact that she was losing the interest of the Bulgarian audience back in 2017 made her doubt herself, whether she can make it. That was a very difficult time for her. She gained а lot of weight. She developed personal issues because of that. What we decided then when we got together, I remember, with a few people we said, ‘Alright, we have to do something…’ So, I said, ‘I know what!’ and we sent her to Berklee. Go, outside of Bulgaria, see how it is there and have perspective.”
“What came back was an absolutely different person! I saw a complete change in her! First, she got herself together and said ‘I’m sick of being overweight!’ I couldn’t believe the metamorphosis that had taken place! She lost 20kg in four months. And now she is 30kg below what she was at previously. In this case she proved to herself that she can, because if she doesn’t do it, no one could change her mindset.”
We are sending our very best wishes to Queen Victoria. We believe in you. We love you. We know you will continue to inspire your family and your fans.
totally shocked that someone’s saying that she’s “pathetic” and “wants to have pity”.
Can’t believe this kind of people exists.
she poured her heart out and people are saying she’s faking her emotions.
why does she always wear a wig?
To that one bot with those fake accounts that keeps downvoting every positive comments about Victoria, you’re a heartless creep and I hope you’ll get that very karma that you deserve.
And to Victoria, You are love, supported and appreciated and I know you are going to do well in eurovision than what most people think. I hope you’ll keep pushing forward with your life and your career and I’m wishing you all the best in life.
someone literally changed their ip address 60 times to downvote positive comments we-
sending lots of love to victoria. you can tell she’s a very emotional individual and she pours all of it into her art. my fave this year, i really wish her the best and i’ll always stay perched for her <3
Wiwibloggs should remove downvote section
Hmm…there’s so many downvotes (i think they’re made it by one person). You’re not a human being! Now you can downvote me. 😉
I loved the interview, so emotional and honest! Victoria deserves a lot of success, she is a great artist writing her songs!
I have a feeling Bulgaria will do better than fans think. The staging will be very emotional.
Just wanted to say : I love you, Victoria! Be strong and let’s hope for the best outcome!
This seems like she’s selling her father’s personal life just to advance her career.
Victoria, you have so many people supporting and praying for you and your family. Keep pushing forward and showing everyone you can shine in Rotterdam and still be true to yourself!
I send prayers to your family Victoria!
P.S. she looks amazing, she doesn’t need to lose weight
A lot of love and support to you and your family! Be strong!
What a very sad news for Viktoria and her father and family. I like to wish them a lot of love and support.
This further adds on to the message her song conveys. Growing up is indeed getting old for many of us.
Bulgaria 2021 = The Netheralands 2017 + Portugal 2018
You = ignorant + emotionless
I don’t like it at all when they want to have people’s pity… So desperate and pathetic
They don’t – this interview will not impact the public voting and anyone watching her performance in the final. It’s just a local interview.
A lot of love and support to you and your father!
Wow, this really gives another message to the song…
I hope he gets better or at least gets to see her perform…
So heartbreaking, god bless you Victoria and your family. 🙁