Photo used in the article are courtesy of EBU / THOMAS HANSES
With rehearsals week being in full swing, we have seen almost all of the participating countries’ stagings, including for one of the most talked about songs this year – Russia’s. Andy caught up with Manizha to talk about her experience so far and the deeper meaning of the song.
Andy: “How are you doing?”
Manizha: “I’m super grateful <…> because for more than one year we didn’t have any performances, and right now I’m here, with people, we are talking, we are having a performance on a stage. I’m always crying after all the rehearsals. I want to stop time and enjoy this place and enjoy this (moment).”
She also shared the idea behind the dress and what it represents:
“The fabrics on the dress are from all of the Russia because we have lots of nationalities and we’re going to show them, represent them. Women sent us these fabrics from their dresses. <…> I’m representing multicultural side of my country because I was born in Tajikistan and after the war me and my family moved to Russia, so inside of me I have so many cultures and multicultural things. The symbol of this dress is patriarchy traditions, stereotypes: Russian woman looks like this. No! Russian woman looks completely different: like this! (laughs). In a working robe with a super fashionable turban and she works so hard to be successful that’s how I want to show people new Russian women.”
Manizha later points out that her song is not for Russian women only, it is for everyone:
“These messages are not only for my beautiful Russian women, these messages are for everyone, because if you’re watching Eurovision and you see these messages and you feel like (you’ve) been waiting for this message to change your life right now for me it would be like winning. I came here not to win Eurovision, I came here to spread my message through lots of people and maybe help them to be braver, to be who they are. That’s important to me.”
Andy: “Do you get quite emotional to think that you’re really going out there with this powerful message for all the people that maybe don’t always have a voice?”
Manizha: “I’m like an example for them, it’s a big responsibility for me but this moment is so beautiful and I’m singing on a stage and behind my back I can see hundreds of women from Russia who are singing that song with me and this is one of the (most) emotional moments in my performance because I’m turning around and singing to them and I can see their eyes, I can see their smiles… It is super powerful because I know how hard it is to survive, how hard it is to be yourself and these women are representing it all the time, they’re showing this all the time and they’re making our country a better place, they are changing a lot of things in my country.”
Watch the full interview below!