Thomas "Tom" Neuwirth (born 6 November 1988), better known as the drag persona Conchita Wurst, is an Austrian singer. Wurst represented Austria and won the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The singer uses female pronouns for herself when in the role of Wurst.
Neuwirth states that she was born in Gmunden, Austria, in 1988.. He also revealed in an interview in 2013 that she was frequently scared of being bullied in school for being different, even to the point that he would 'avoid going to the school's toilets during breaks'. Before taking up a drag persona Neuwirth worked as a shop window decorator, but first appeared in public media in an advertisement in 2006.
In 2007 Neuwirth reached the final of the 2007 Austrian casting show Starmania. In 2011 Neuwirth returned to television in drag as "Conchita Wurst", a persona created in response to the experiences from his earlier life: "This is about an important message, it's call for tolerance for everything that seems different" Neuwirth commented in an interview. As Conchita Wurst, she participated in the ORF production "The Hardest Jobs of Austria", where she worked in a fish factory, and in "Wild Girls", in which a group of candidates had to survive in the deserts of Namibia together with native tribes.
Neuwirth graduated from the Graz School of Fashion in 2011, and has lived in various locations in Vienna.
2006–07: Starmania & Jetzt Anders!
In 2006 Neuwirth took part in the third edition of the Austrian show Starmania, finishing in second place (Nadine Beiler placed first). One year later Neuwirth founded the boyband Jetzt Anders! that disbanded the same year.
2011–12: Die große Chance & Eurovision 2012
In 2011 Neuwirth debuted the persona Conchita Wurst, in the ORF's show Die große Chance. She came second in the Austrian preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.
2013–14: Eurovision Song Contest 2014
Main article: Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014
On 10 September 2013, it was announced that Wurst would represent Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, after being selected by the Austrian national broadcaster ORF.
Wurst's selection sparked controversy in Austria. Four days after ORF announced its decision, more than 31,000 people liked an "Anti-Wurst" Facebook page.
In October, the Ministry of Information in Belarus received a petition calling on BTRC, Belarus' state broadcaster, to edit Wurst's performance out of its Eurovision broadcast. The petition claimed that the performance would turn Eurovision "into a hotbed of sodomy". In December, a similar petition surfaced in Russia. In March 2014, Wurst's song was revealed as "Rise Like a Phoenix".
At the second semi-final on 8 May, Wurst qualified for the final on 10 May. At the finals held in Copenhagen on 10 May 2014, she won the competition with 290 points. This was Austria's first Eurovision win since the Eurovision 1966.
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