IT’S pretty much official: Conchita Wurst is the Queen of Austria, if not the reigning monarch of the European continent.
Sure, those titles either do not exist anymore or haven’t ever, but with the deafening reception that greets Conchita wherever she goes, surely something can be whipped up soon.
The world’s most recognisable bearded lady has been run off her high-heeled feet over the past few weeks and months rehearsing for and performing at several Eurovision events. On top of that, she has also been promoting her first post-Eurovision album (which has already gone platinum in Austria) and autobiographical book that has seen her travel the globe, even to Australia.
“I had a fabulous time in Australia, I really enjoyed being there,” Conchita told the Star Observer in a joint interview with Brisbane radio 4ZZZ.
“Although I have to say on the one hand I really did feel Australia I guess standing in front of the Opera House. But on the other hand my schedule was so tight, which I was very thankful for, I didn’t really get to see much.”
The Logies may inspire a collective groan from some in Australia, but the local TV industry’s night of nights dazzled Conchita.
“I had absolutely no clue what they were before, but they were just as fabulous as the Golden Globes, to be honest,” she said.
“With Ricky Martin being there I got to have a little chat with him, that was beautiful. I will definitely come back.”
Almost as recognisable as her iconic (and impressive) facial hair is Conchita’s catch-cry “unstoppable” — a phrase that has been coined by her fans and followers, The Unstoppables. Just what does the term mean to Conchita, though?
“I think for me it’s simply a decision to be true to yourself, to accept your flaws, accept your qualities and celebrate yourself,” she said.
“I made this decision years ago to really listen to my heart and do the things that I think are right, you know with those simple rules you have to follow: don’t hurt anybody and be respectful.
“This is what makes me feel unstoppable sometimes. Sometimes I do feel stoppable though in traffic.”
Nonetheless, she said she was genuinely honoured to have legions of fans of all ages and backgrounds across the globe — especially as many have named her Queen of Austria.
“I didn’t expect that especially since the range of my fans is so wide,” she said.
“I truly have some very young people loving what I do but I also have grown up [fans].
“It’s just so beautiful to see that. I think there’s a piece of Conchita for everyone: some enjoy my music, some of them enjoy my speeches, some like me on the runway and all that stuff. So it’s really beautiful that they appreciate my being so colourful.”
Despite having a stage presence that seems to exert confidence, humility comes as naturally to Conchita as the hair that grows on her perfect cheekbones.
Her book that shares the same name as her album, Conchita, is largely her coming story, but the singer doesn’t believe her story is any more important or significant than anyone else’s.
“To me it’s quite boring because I already know the ending,” she said.
“It’s not a terribly special coming out story because everyone in the LGBTI community has their own coming out moments. It’s just basically my story.
“I took some time off to put my album together because I’m not writing by myself and once I received the demo version, I had to work very long and very hard stripping it out of my heart. I’m very proud of it and I’m listening to it all the time.”
For inspirations that have guided Conchita throughout her career and influenced the sound of her latest album, another former Eurovision contestant tops the list. However, someone that a young Tom Neuwirth (Conchita’s alter ego) was listening to at a very early age also played a part in shaping her sound and style.
“Obviously I love Celine Dion, I do adore her so much,” she said.
“I grew up listening to Shirley Bassey and you can imagine it wasn’t the coolest thing to do being a seven year-old, I didn’t even know what I got my inspiration from her and I say that very respectfully that they are my true divas.”
Conchita added that her “bearded” look was something that came about naturally well before her appearance on Eurovision 2014.
“I started doing drag when I was 14 and in 2010 I started hosting a burlesque show and I did that every week, and so for me that was quite a comfortable feeling not shaving but being in drag also,” she said.
“That just grew in a natural way.”
Scheduling conflicts as well as the production of her album prevented Conchita from making a visit to Australia during this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. However, a trip down under may be on the cards next March.
“Well, what would be happening [in Sydney then]?” she answered coyly.
“We haven’t really set a date to come back but I am pretty sure I might come a little earlier than that, actually.”