Swede of the Week

Eurovision host: ‘Not everyone has to like me’

Eurovision host: 'Not everyone has to like me'
Beyond the sequinned hemlines, Sweden's Eurovision host Petra Mede is a woman who pulled no punches as a comedian, and is now trying to balance her spunk with Saturday's demands for a happy-go-lucky pop fest, making her an easy pick for Swede of the Week.

How fun can you actually be as a Eurovision host?

“We discuss that constantly,” Mede told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper about the process of writing a script for E-day.

“We are constantly erasing jokes, and asking ‘should we, should we not’. It’s tricky because you have to respect the other countries, and we are, after all, talking about a competition.”

SEE ALSO: Malmö Eurovision hype from Abba to Zlatan

She wasn’t always a professional funny woman, nor a hostess. When she was working as a tour guide in Stockholm she would make visitors to the capital laugh, but as she pointed out during a recent Eurovision press conference, she had never “intentionally” set out to amuse.

In 2005, her best friend prodded her to enter a comedy competition, simply saying “You’re funny”.

It eventually led to her own TV show, as well as jobs hosting the annual Swedish Film Awards (Guldbaggegalan) twice and guiding Swedes through the never-ending hullaballo of quarter and semi-finals to pick Sweden’s entry to Eurovision.

PHOTO GALLERY: Petra Mede’s career in pictures

But despite the glam facade, Mede does not give the impression of being a superficial cookie.

In 2011, when she was in the middle of her transition from stand-up comedian to TV and radio hostess, Mede said she would not shy away from hard topics. In a slot on public service radio, she set her target on faith – what gets people out of bed in morning, what makes them soldier on.

“People need faith. It can be religion or a political ideology,” she told the Aftonbladet newspaper at the time.

Mede admitted that she had herself at times pondered suicide, but never attempted it.

“I don’t think living is easy. Everything is a question of life and death. Even if you buy milk you’re choosing to live because you’re saying ‘I’m gonna take this milk and pour it in my coffee, because it tastes good and I want to keep on living’.”

SEE ALSO: ‘It won’t be easy to win again’: Robin Stjernberg

When she accepted the job as Eurovision host, she said, aptly, that she had learned in life that it was more fun to say yes to things, than to say no.

Eurovision may be her biggest gig so far – with 40 songs to be performed overall – but Mede appeared content with giving it her best – not least sartorially, as she will be all decked out in John Paul Gaultier couture throughout the evening.

“I’m prepared for what the papers might say the day after. That I’ve ruined everything, that I was fine, or that I performed well above expectations,” she told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper this week.

“But once those headlines hit, I’ll be busy rolling up my sleeves to get busy with my next assignment. My goal is not that everyone has to like me, if that was your goal you’d get nothing done in life,” she said.

SEE ALSO:A list of The Local’s past Swedes of the Week

“Personally, I find it very hard to trust people whose biggest dream is to be liked.”

But it appeared in that interview, despite her ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t’ attitude to her would-be critics, that leaving the mega stage behind might be the most titillating challenge ahead.

“I’d like to get back to stand-up. It allows you to be a rebel, to explode the limits, and to say things that you aren’t allowed to say.”

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Editor’s Note: The Local’s Swede of the week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.

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