IT isn’t easy to represent the Eurovision Song Contest’s most awarded country, let alone when you’re 17 years old.

However, to Molly Sterling’s credit, the whee lass from Puckane, south-west of Dublin, has not let the enormous stage of Vienna’s Wiener Stadhalle dwarf her spirit.

Days away from representing her country, Sterling hoped that her effort this year may in some way help to reinvigorate Irish interest in the contest that has dwindled since a certain poultry puppet shocked — or thrilled— depending on which side of the Dustin the Turkey fence you come down on.

“We aren’t trying to break any rules or anything but you know, music for me is just so important and it’s my life,” Sterling told the Star Observer.

“There shouldn’t be any lingering animosity since Dustin. I know that some people in Ireland still remember that and look at the whole contest as a bit gimmicky and lost interest but I think Dustin was all just a bit of fun at least. Personally, I liked him.

“It’s about difference and personality and… I think there are so many amazing musicians in Dublin and the people I have with me on stage are unbelievable, too.

“I think it’s important to represent that and celebrate diversity be it a ballad this year and maybe something completely different next year. I like that about Eurovision, it can be anything.”

As a member of the extended family, Sterling was excited to find out that Australia would be competing in this year’s competition and hoped that it may result in a few points heading Ireland’s way. And of course the favour would hopefully be returned.

“I think it’s absolutely awesome that you guys are here,” she said.

“I’m a fairly open-minded person so I didn’t go along with some people who disagreed with Australia competing. I just thought ‘oh that’s just so seriously cool, let them join in on the fun’.

“I had no idea that Australia was a massive Eurovision fan but you guys are so why not let you guys in, there are no borders with music.

“There will definitely be some love heading to Australia from Ireland, I mean half of Ireland is Australian and half of Australia is Irish. The song is really cool too, you can definitely trust in Ireland to be sending some big points, hopefully even the 12 Australia’s way. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t give you guys some serious love,” she added.

“You better reciprocate the love though.”

Sterling is also throwing her support around another vote that happens to be going on this week in Ireland.

Polls open on Friday for the Irish referendum on marriage equality. While Sterling whole-heartedly supports the LGBTI community, she disagrees with the issue going to a referendum at all.

“I personally think it’s stupid that it has come down to a referendum at all because it’s just… come on, it should just be law,” she said.

“It’s ridiculous. I’m of the thinking that ‘is this seriously still being argued? Really?’

“I feel very strongly about it. Living in Ireland and especially Dublin, it’s all about being an individual and so it just makes me really mad to see it come to a referendum at all but it will get in. It just will. It’ll get past and everything will be swell and great. If It doesn’t, I will be so disappointed.”

Sterling also expressed disbelief and disappointment that Australia had yet to achieve marriage equality but said that change comes with time, and in said time, the issue will achieve success on a global scale.

“Times are always changing, like how the music industry constantly changes, so I think everyone will catch up eventually, especially Australia,” she said.

“In a few years so many countries are going to be looking back and thinking ‘well wasn’t that all just a bit ridiculous’.

“It’s about evolving as a nation and as a people and as a world while respecting differing opinions and freedom of speech. But with some things, old objections just become outdated. Australia will get there.”

Ireland will compete in the second Eurovision semi-final on May 22 Australian time. Watch it live on SBS at 5am AEST or you can wait for the delayed broadcast later in the evening.

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