Austrian Eurovision Song Contest 2014 winner Conchita Wurst, drag ego of Thomas Neuwirth, recently appeared on The Graham Norton show in England alongside Kirsten Dunst, Dawn French and Bear Grylls to discuss her performance of “Rise Like a Phoenix,” her newfound fans (among them, Cher and Elton John and David Furnish – who had flowers sent to her dressing room), and most importantly: why she rocks a beard.
Even here in Britain, people are a bit if not freaked out, they’re kind of confused by the beard. Why do you think the beard is such a big deal?
I know it is something you don’t see everyday, but I created this bearded lady just to show everybody that you, it’s so cheesy, but you just get one life and you better make it fabulous, and that’s just my own truth. I feel this stage persona and I felt more comfortable on stage.
I’m a member of the gay community and our stories are similar, being a teenager in this small village wasn’t the funnest thing on earth. Over the years, I tried to fit in. I changed myself in every way you can imagine. I just wanted to be part of the game. Then I realized well, I create the game.