|Foto : Ruslana|
eurovision.tv: Welcome to Istanbul, Ruslana. How does it feel to be finally at the Eurovision Song Contest?
Ruslana: “I’ve been to Istanbul before and I love the city. The first time I came here, I had the feeling I’d been here before.” (Laughs) “Perhaps some of my ancestors came from here!”
“As to the Contest, it’s my dream come true to be here, but it’s also a really strange feeling and very hard to describe. I feel a bit like a skier who’s about to ski down a very steep slope. You don’t think about how you’re going to fall; you think about how you’re going to make your descent the most impressive you can. At the same time you understand it’s very extreme and scary. I’m just trying to balance all my powers and use everything I’ve learnt. I believe we’re ready to win, but I know the others are also ready to win and I prefer to stay modest about the whole thing.”
eurovision.tv: Your Eurovision entry, “Wild Dances,” is inspired by the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine. Are you from there?
Ruslana: “My father is from trans-Carpathia and I also come from the area. The mountains are a very special place where the ancient Hutsul people live and the mountains have a very regenerative effect on people. We made about 20 expeditions to the mountains to develop “Wild Dances” and even moved our studio to a deserted observatory there to record our album. They are a very mystical place.”
eurovision.tv: Tell us a bit about the costumes. They’re very sexy – was that the intention?
Ruslana: (Laughs) “Really, we didn’t set out to make them raunchy; in fact my husband is mad at me because they are so sexy! He’s worried there will be other men in my life soon! They’re made from leather and metal and are ethno-military style; I think we look like mountain Amazons. We used contemporary designers, but parts of them were made by traditional Hutsul craftsman in the Carpathian Mountains. The methods they use to create some of the parts are so secret no-one else has ever managed to copy them successfully. And they really are very comfortable!”
eurovision.tv: Will the Hutsul craftsman be watching you on the big night?
Ruslana: “I doubt it; they don’t really do TV up there. But I’ll take them pictures…”
eurovision.tv: What do you in your spare time?
Ruslana: “I don’t have spare time! Seriously, I work all the time and don’t really take holidays, either. But I like it like that. My music is my life and when I don’t have anything to do, I get depressed.”
eurovision.tv: Your stage performance of “Wild Dances” is unbelievably energetic. You must have to be very fit. Do you work out?
Ruslana: “Sport is a must for all of us; otherwise we wouldn’t be able to manage the routine. I work out in the gym a lot and swim and jog as well. But the Wild Dances is a workout in itself, although it’s important the audience believes it’s really easy for us!”
By now eurovision.tv’s time is up. Another TV crew is waiting. Whilst they set up, Ruslana signs CDs, poses for photographs and continues to babble away.
The tattoo on her arm is temporary and she does have hair extensions. “Of course everything is meant to be natural,” she whispers, “but my hair is still getting to the right length.” Her husband, Alexander -- to whom she’s been married for five years –- is already in Istanbul. Her mother, Nina and father, Stefan will be arriving in a couple of days. The only member of the family who isn’t coming is her 13-year-old sister, Anna. She’s in London, studying English. Ruslana continues to chat: about Ukrainian summer customs, about a special herb in the Carpathian Mountains which helps male potency and about her father who used to work in oil extraction in Siberia. In fact, Ruslana will talk about anything. Apart from one thing. Perhaps it’s something to do with those mystical Carpathian Mountains, but Ruslana’s age is one thing this year’s Ukrainian Eurovision entrant is keeping firmly under wraps.