Real Life

Meet the other Aussie at Eurovision

Woman's Day's very own Deputy Editor, Claire Isaac, is in Sweden for Eurovision where she chatted to the other Aussie making waves in the song contest.
Alex Zabotto Bentley

Dami Im may be the Aussie that everyone is watching this weekend as Eurovision kicks off, but behind the scenes Alex Zabotto Bentley is another Australian making waves.

He’s a well respected stylist and a creative director – he’s worked with Lady Gaga, Prince and Kylie among others – and now he’s working with the Maltese entrant, Ira Losco, for Eurovision.

And, things just got even more exciting for Alex after Ira got through to the finals of Eurovision following a killer performance during Tuesday night’s semi-final.

Claire sat down for an exclusive chat with the man behind the magic of Ira’s costumes.

It’s not just Dami representing the nation in Stockholm.

2014 Eurovision winner Conchita and Guy Sebastian announced that Dami Im will represent Australia at this year’s competition.

Claire: How did it happen?

Alex: Well, Stephane Boko, who is one of the creative directors of Cirque du Soleil was asked to be part of the Maltese delegation to coordinate the performance and because I have worked with the people I have, and understand stage performance and taking stage outfit to a different level to enhance the performance, I got asked to do the role of creative director on this.

The first thing was to work on the video clip for her song Walk On Water. I worked with Australian designers and some Australian/Maltese designers and we flew to Malta and shot the video and it has been really well received. It became obvious we had the same sensibilities and they trusted my judgement and then they asked me to do the show.

Ira Losco of Malta performs a powerful rendition of Walk On Water.

And we can’t wait to see what designs Alex brings to the table.

Claire: What does it mean to be a style director for a Eurovision contestant?

Alex: What we do in terms of style direction is to make that person the best they can ever look. I want Ira to feel and look beautiful – she

is really a gorgeous woman, and a sex symbol and a big star in Malta, and it’s really been one of the most difficult yet most gratifying projects of my life.

As for Australia’s involvement in the competition as an entrant, Alex is delighted with our Dami.

Alex: Dami’s a knockout, I love her a lot, and Steven Khalil has done an amazing job with her dress. Australia is like a melting pot, it’s like a miniature Europe, it’s very valid that we’re involved and can vote – it’s really exciting for anyone who has any form of ethnicity in their blood, it’s exciting for us to be able to vote and support our home countries!

Claire: And who is your favourite to win?

Alex: I really believe there is a wealth of talent here… though of course at this point of the competition definitely my heart lies with Ira and Dami. But there is so much amazing talent. I walk around and hear them doing their vocal training in Russian or French or whatever, it’s wild. For a boy from the ‘burbs who grew up watching Eurovision, to be standing on the stage, it’s amazing!

Eurovision will be screened on SBS on Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May

Dami has found a new friend in Ira Losco

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