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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

Sheldon Riley talks about Eurovision 2022 and how it changed his life

Photo credit: Sheldon Riley (Facebook)

During the week, Australia's Eurovision representative for 2022, Sheldon Riley, was interviewed on a Virgin Radio Pride UK show 'Virgin Radio Pride Does Eurovision' hosted by the official host of the Eurovision podcast, Steven Holden.

The hour long show takes a look at why the Eurovision Song Contest feels like a safe space for the queer community, Steven speaks to LGBTQ+ contestants, employees and fans about why it is so well loved, with Sheldon as a special guest.

Steven did ask Sheldon what it felt like being on the stage wearing the outfit he wore and being who he is:

“Honestly… indescribable. A lot of people are like, oh you get so emotional. I don’t think anyone will ever understand unless you have been through it what it is like growing up in a life where you can’t, you literally cannot be yourself. It’s just not going to happen and to see someone like Conchita do what she does in a full get up, the dress the everything, the lights, the smoke, the song, everything was so empowering I promised myself that if I ever was given the chance to do Eurovision that was exactly what I wanted to do."

"There is nothing in my life that will ever compete with that moment. I still can’t believe I did it. I really don’t. It was really fricken hard growing up wanting to be every I am now, and I am grateful for it everyday. "

"I did literally what I thought was impossible." ~ Sheldon

"I still haven’t really processed it. I did literally what I thought was impossible."

Photo credit: EBU / Sarah Louise Bennett

Sheldon talked about how Eurovision 2022 made a huge impact on himself and the meaning behind taking off the mask:

“[Eurovision] is a platform that has completely changed my life for so many reasons, even more than music, or even more than followers, or fans or whatever. Moving past that, I wore a mask for a really long time. I hated, hated the way I looked. Hated the way I would see myself in the mirror every day. And the only way I ever felt comfortable performing my music was if I hid my face. This was the first time ever after all these things I have done that I was able to take it off and be like, this is the space that I feel comfortable enough to be exactly who I am, and it’s ok. It doesn’t mean I love myself to death now, it doesn’t mean I think I am the most gorgeous person ever, but this platform and this competition has made me weirdly just remind myself that I am completely fine in the way that I am."

"[Eurovision] completely opened my eyes to go, hey you are so loved and so worth everything that you do."

Sheldon also touches more about his outfit, his Eurovision experience as a teen and how the Contest has shaped his career.

You can listen to the compete interview and the full 'Virgin Radio Pride Does Eurovision' show where Steven talks about everything queer about the Eurovision Song Contest with interesting facts, the history of queerness in the Contest and Eurovision moments. Listen to it here on your favourite podcast platform.

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