THE QUEEN'S SPEECH

Conchita Wurst On Coming Out And Shedding Gay Shame: “I Deserved A Fabulous Life Like Everyone Does”

photo by Anna Velikova, courtesy Attitude
Photo by Anna Velikova, courtesy Attitude

Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst has been enjoying her time as Queen of Europe since winning the international star search competition this month — her debut single, “Rise Like A Phoenix”, has been climbing the European charts and her whirlwind post-win press tour has captivated the attention of gay fans and crazy homophobes alike.

But the fearless queen isn’t letting her haters get to her. The 25-year-old Austrian’s historic victory has led Russia on an anti-gay tirade regarding the sanctity of television shows and a threat to withdraw from the competition altogether, but her mission to spread a message of tolerance continues on.

Last night, Wurst took the stage at London’s famous G-A-Y nightclub to perform her debut single for the first time in the UK. Before that, she sat down the Attitude to talk her idols, her beef with Russia, and how she pulled herself out of a tough childhood to become the world’s most beloved bearded lady.

On being inspired by Victoria Beckham:

I think Kim K looks stunning, so I take people who tell me that I look like her as a compliment. But my biggest inspiration is Victoria Beckham! I just adore her. I love her fashion. I love the fact she never smiled in pictures and that she is actually very funny. She is beyond chic. I was very young back then, but I used to love her in the Spice Girls. I was team Posh! I was always doing the finger point, I watched Spice World a million times. I love it.

Conchita Wurst and Graham Norton backstage at G-A-Y. Photo by Chris Jepson, via Twitter
Conchita Wurst and Graham Norton backstage at G-A-Y. Photo by Chris Jepson, via Twitter

On being hated by Russia:

I didn’t let it upset me – I was just surprised that people would invest so much time in something they do not like. For example, I do not like Miley Cyrus but I wouldn’t go on her Facebook page and post something nasty about her. I just won’t listen to her music. It’s the same with me. People can listen to my music or they can choose not to. I’m not forcing anyone to listen to me. But I do have to say to all those haters thank you for your attention, you clearly have a lot of time on your hands to spend thinking about little old me.

On spreading tolerance:

I’m not sure I can actually change anyone’s minds! I certainly don’t see myself as a role model, I am not perfect but I try to use what I have, the fame and attention to encourage tolerance and acceptance. It’s so sad that even in the 21st century it’s still a topic we have to talk about. The terrible laws in Russia are ridiculous and I hope I can do something to change the way people perceive gay men.

On her tough upbringing:

When I was a teenager, I had a tough time. I grew up in a small village and as small gay boy it wasn’t that easy. I tried to fit in as much as I could, I wanted to be part of the community. Being in a small village I was forced to hide being gay and I changed myself in every way I could imagine so that I could lead a happy life, and no one knew how I felt. But then eventually I came to the conclusion that I deserved a fabulous life like everyone does and then came out. My advice, do whatever you want as long as you’re not hurting someone. You should be allowed to do everything with your life.

Check out the rest of Attitude‘s interview with Conchita Wurst in the upcoming June 2014 issue, which also includes an interview with Olympic gymnast Louis Smithavailable for download on Wednesday, May 28. Visit Attitude.co.uk for more info.

Below, the official video for Conchita Wurst’s debut single, “Rise Like A Phoenix”.