Conchita has arrived in St. Petersburg for the annual LGBT Side-By-Side Film Festival. It is an annual film festival that has taken place in the same city since 2008.
Source: Conchita Wurst Official Facebook/Jane Anisimova
Never far from a little bit of controversy, some will see Conchita’s visit into Russian lands as a piece of bravery – especially with Russian views on the LGBT community. Many men shaved off their beards in objection to her victory. Conchita was part of controversy earlier in the year when her backing band were denied entry into the UK (because they were Syrian), to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival. Therefore Conchita didn’t travel alone to Edinburgh.
Russian media outlet Sobaka.ru has spoken to Conchita while she is in St. Petersburg
Sobaka.ru: How do you like St.Petersburg? Do you feel the European atmosphere?
Conchita: I really like St.Petersburg. Even though I’m already used to European architecture in Vienna and other cities, you know, my jaw dropped when I saw your city. It is beautiful! And these palaces! Oh my God, it seems that now I want to buy myself one (laughs).
Sobaka.ru: Are you going to the Opera or our famous Mariinsky Theater?
Conchita: I would really love to, actually I adore classical music. The list of “must see” places in St.Petersburg is just huge! This time I have the luxury of being in the city more than usual, but as a rule everything happens like this: I can, for example, come to Rome, admire its sights, and the next day already forget what it looks like.
Sobaka.ru: When did you first think about performing in a female look?
Conchita: I always liked to dress up in women’s clothes – even when I was a child, I could come to the kindergarten in my mother’s skirt and make a real show! And I began to perform as a drag-artist from around 2011. Back then I was a host of a burlesque show and decided to go on stage in a woman’s dress and with a beard. I just like to show my female side. From the very childhood I was inspired by such divas as Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner and Whitney Houston. I always wanted to be like them.
Sobaka.ru: Do your relatives and friends call you Conchita outside the stage?
Conchita: No, they call me Tom. But if I have any problems with them, then Thomas (laughs).
Sobaka.ru: And did you think about the total change of the look after the the ESC victory? For example, to shave your beard?
Conchita: Never! I’m actually very lazy and in addition I can’t imagine my face without a beard – I think I look like a 12-year-old boy. I did’t think about the total change, but actually I really like to change looks and I’m in love with fashion. Conchita Wurst is a long-haired brunette with a beard, and that is it. It’s an image that is recognized all over the world.
Sobaka.ru: Who is your fashion icon?
Conchita: I love Victoria Beckham. You know, firstly she is such a world pop star and at the same time a typical housewife from Soho (the prestigious district of London, – Ed.). I consider her the most influential woman in the world. She is the best example for every girl, and her message to the world is very important: if you work hard, you will achieve everything!
Sobaka.ru: And who is your idol in the world of music? With whom would you like to work?
Conchita: I have a dream – to sing on one stage with Celine Dion. But this will never happen. You know, she’s an incredible singer! I’m not so good to sing a duet with her. Another one is Cher, of course Cher! But I do not even know what would prefere more – to sing with her, or to get drunk with her (laughs). I just heard that she, despite her venerable age, loves parties and is always ready to show the class to young people.
Sobaka.ru: Is your shocking image a message for society? Are you trying to tell a story in your songs?
Conchita: When I first started my music career, I just wanted to entertain the audience with eccentric look and songs, but after a while my work step by step turned into a kind of political statement. I thought about what I can tell the world with my music and understood this: everything in this life is not accidental, and even if at some point you are in despair and don’t know what to do, then eventually everything will fall into place and everything will be as it should be.
Once I stepped onto the stage as Conchita, I realized that my look is something more than it might seem at first sight. First of all, I want to say that anyone can achieve everything he wants, regardless of appearance, religion, sexual orientation and color of his skin. You just have to be talented and have to work hard. Secondly, you should always respect people around you and do not hurt their feelings. As far as I can see, I do not offend anyone with my appearance, but if looking at me someone’s eyes are bleeding – then I apologize, I had no such purpose.
Find something that makes you happier and do not pay attention to the public opinion. And do not hide!
Sobaka.ru: Your victory at the ESC caused a storm of anger and disapproval in the conservative group of the society. What advice can you give to those who regularly face misunderstandings and hatred?
Conchita: It is very difficult – to feel constantly the pressure of the society. Personally I don’t face hatred anymore. The most part of the comments on my social networls consists of warm wishes from my fans. But if someone really is in such a situation, then it’s just awful. Such a life is very exhausting.
It’s easy to say “you’re not alone” when it’s not. But it seems to me that now the influence of social networks is great, and they can help people around the world to find contact with each other. I can give advice based on my personal experience: when I was a teenager and first understood the meaning of the word “gay”, it took some time before I finally understood and realized that the problem was not in me, but in people around me.
No one can bring you down or hurt you if you feel that you know your own worth, if you are full of confidence and pride for what you are doing. This understanding can make you stronger.
Sobaka.ru: Which motto would you choose for those who want to resist the haters and rise like a phoenix?
Conchita: Believe in yourself! Believe that being yourself you are worth the best.
Sobaka.ru: Do you agree that the ESC is more a political than a song contest?
Conchita: I would not say that it is less or more political. Art always had a political background and always will have, and the ESC is a contest connected with art and a platform for self-expression of artists. Songs always reflected the socio-political opinions.
Sobaka.ru: What are your expectations of tomorrow’s visit to the festival “Side by Side”?
Conchita: I am very happy to be a part of it and very glad that I was invited here. This is a festival of very brave people and the least that I can do for my fans in Russia is to come to St.Petersburg and to support them.
I think that the organizers made a really good decision to make a film festival, because movies are a very effective way to convey some ideas to people, to educate them. You know, most of us are very lazy, I myself would prefer going to the cinema to reading a book. It’s easy to remember any visual art, it’s a real source of sincere emotions.
On the 25th of November at the closing ceremony of the festival “Side by Side” Conchita Wurst will present the film “Tomcat” by Austrian director Haendl Klaus.
English translation by Olga RusUnstoppables
Author: Richard Taylor
Source: Eurovision Ireland