Today while LGBTQIA+ communities and their allies across the world are celebrating June as the Pride Month, with this write up I genuinely want people to know that how the society is changing its homophobic views because of Conchita. She is a personality who seems like dragging some people out of the depth of ignorance into the sunlight. I was introduced to Conchita with her feminine side of personality so I would love to address her with feminine pronouns while telling her story.
Conchita Wrust aka Thomas Neuwirth is an Austrian singer, recording artist. Popularly known as ‘the bearded lady’, Conchita won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 with the James Bond like theme Rise Like A Phoenix before a global TV audience estimated to be around 180 million people in 45 countries.
While watching some of the episodes of final Eurovision Contest I came up to the part where Conchita anchored the show and the audience went gaga on each of her word. That caught my attention and I researched about her which led me to the 2014 Eurovision Finale performance of her with excellent lyrics, intense voice and gorgeous dress. With or without the beard, male or female, Conchita deserved it.
Often addressed as ‘Drag Queen’ who is known for his stage persona Conchita Wurst (also known mononymously as Conchita) was selected to represent Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, where her performance received the most points and resulted in her winning the contest. It brought her international attention and established her as a gay icon, resulting in invitations to perform at various pride parades, the European Parliament and the United Nations Office in Vienna.
Think of a person with female attire, high heels, long hair and beard. Bizzare right? Well that’s how Conchita auditioned for Colombia’s got Talent. The audience were in a state of shock to see her with her weird decisions. Even the judges passed some comments before she started singing my heart will go on… by the time she finished with the perfect symphony of music, composition, lyrics & the true soul of the singer one of the judges said, “You’re the first one in this competition who made me cry. I don’t know if you’re a man or a woman but you’re a beautiful human being, you’re talented and gifted, a star on this stage.”
Second judge said, “I think it was bizarre but good bizarre. What disturbs me – and I know it’s probably your trademark – but I can’t get over your beard” to which the first judge interrupts: “the beard is awesome!” and again the second judge concludes saying,” your voice is amazing, the way you sing, it was brilliant”.
Conchita was born in Gmunden, Austria on 6 November 1988 Conchita Neuwirth moved to Graz to do the matura exam with a focus on fashion. She faced prejudice for being homosexual. Forced to act like a boy she occasionally wore a skirt to kindergarten and then school, although afterwards felt that she could only be happy doing so in the attic of his home.
During her early musical career, in and around 2006, Neuwirth took part in the third edition of the Austrian TV show Starmania, finishing in second place (Nadine Beiler placed first). One year later, Neuwirth founded the boyband Jetzt Anders! But the group disbanded during the same year. Conchita’s first appearance was on ORF’s show Die große Chance in 2011, where she achieved 6th place.
In 2012, she competed in the Austrian National Final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 and came second. She then appeared in the ORF show The Hardest Jobs of Austria, working in a fish processing plant, and in Wild Girls, in which a group of candidates had to survive in the deserts of Namibia together with native tribes.
On 28 June 2014, Conchita performed onstage at Trafalgar Square in central London as the headline act during the city’s annual LGBT Pride Parade. On 2 July, she opened Madrid’s LGBT Pride festival with a concert at Chueca Plaza, there performing alongside Ruth Lorenzo, before performing at Stockholm Pride on 30 July, at Antwerp Pride on 10 August and at Manchester Pride on 24 August.
On 9 July, she made her modelling debut on the catwalk at fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s Couture show in Paris, where she took the final spot, which is usually reserved for Gaultier’s favourite model.
On 7 May 2015, Conchita published her autobiography with John Blake Publishing. Her debut album “Conchita” was released on 15 May 2015.
It was preceded by her second single after winning the Eurovision Song Contest, “You Are Unstoppable”, which was released on 5 March 2015. “Firestorm” and “Colours of Your Love”, two tracks from the debut album, were released as a double A-side single on 7 August 2015. In 2019.
Conchita became a permanent judge on the drag competition reality series Queen of Drags alongside Heidi Klum and Bill Kaulitz. In 2020, Neuwirth appeared in his Conchita character in a small role in the Netflix film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams.
Conchita recently stated that she is not a trans woman but is gay, and has also described herself as a drag queen. She uses she/her pronouns to describe his Conchita Wurst character, but he/him pronouns when referring to himself. Neuwirth created a fictional back story for the Conchita character, claiming that she was born in the mountains of Colombia and is married to the French burlesque dancer Jacques Patriaque, a real individual who is a friend of Neuwirth’s.
In 2018, Conchita disclosed that she is HIV-positive and has been undetectable (and thus not infectious) for several years. She wrote through an Instagram post that she felt compelled to come out as HIV-positive due to persistent threats from a former boyfriend that he would publicly reveal her health status.
Photo credits: Google Images