Eden Alene, an Ethiopian Israeli teen, made history when she became the first Ethiopian Jewish person to represent Israel in the Eurovision contest. (In case you’re not familiar with the insane international competition that is Eurovision, here’s a brief explainer.) Eden, 19, was chosen in a TV contest, HaKochav HaBa (The Next Star), and will perform in Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam.
We’re obviously obsessed with Eden, so here’s everything you need to know about the Israeli star.
1. Eden Alene was born in Katamon, a neighborhood in Jerusalem, to Ethiopian Jewish parents.
2. Both her parents were born in Ethiopia, and made aliyah to Israel. Her parents divorced when she was 2 years old; she was raised primarily by her mom, Zehava.
3. Zehava is religiously observant, and worked as a housekeeper to support Eden and her family and help her daughter pursue her dreams.
4. Until ninth grade, Eden attended religious school.
5. In 2017, Eden won The X Factor Israel. She was only 17 years old! For her audition, she sang “Stone Cold” by Demi Lovato:
(Her mom freaking out backstage is truly the cutest thing.) (Also, this makes her the first and only Israeli to win two reality show competitions.)
6. To win The Next Star (the Eurovision contest), she sung “Halo” by Beyoncé. It’s truly incredible:
7. After winning, Eden said, “It is an insane honor to represent my country. It is amazing that an Ethiopian is doing it for the first time. Think about where we were when the Ethiopians first started making aliyah and look at where we are now. It’s a whole new world.”
8. After she was selected to represent Israel at Eurovision, her mom said, “Eden represents pride for all Ethiopians. Everyone is behind her, supporting her, and loving her.”
9. Eden’s style is amazing (and so is her Instagram, tbh):
10. She also dances! While she sings! The talent! We’re obsessed!!! Here she is singing “Power” by Little Mix:
She studied ballet for 10 years, which is maybe where her dance skills come from.
11. Her dream is to perform a duet with her idol, Beyoncé. (This is our dream now, too.)
12. She’s currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces, completing her services in a military band. Here’s her band:
13. She’s released three singles so far: “Better” (2018), “Save Your Kisses for Me” (2019) and “When It Comes to You” (2019). They’re all in English; “Save Your Kisses for Me” is a cover of the 1976 Eurovision-winning song by Brotherhood of Man.
Here’s a lyric video for “When It Comes To You”:
And, “Better” has a music video!
And a live performance!!
14. She starred in the Hebrew Little Shop of Horrors. Honestly this whole 18 things is videos of her singing, and we’re okay with that:
15. She was involved in an Israeli-Arab choir — the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus — that promotes coexistence and performs worldwide.
16. Eden performed at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, singing Mi Ohev Otach Yoter Mimeni by Arkadi Duchin:
17. She sang the Hebrew-language version of the theme song for Smallfoot (you know, the Zendaya is Meechee movie) in 2018:
18. We’re cheering you on at Eurovision, Eden!!
Header image via @eden_alene on Instagram.