This week, amidst all the exhausting antisemitism in pop culture, something pretty cool happened. On November 13, the MTV Europe Music Awards took place in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Jewish Israeli singer Noa Kirel took to the red carpet with an eye-popping fashion statement.
Kirel’s black leather crop top and wide-leg pant combo were adorned with the face of Kanye West, or Ye, who has made headlines recently for making numerous antisemitic statements. However, carefully placed atop and around his face, and all over Kirel’s body, hung many golden chains adorned with Star of David and Chai charms.
“I had this idea that came to my head: After all the antisemitic things that Kanye said about Jewish people — and I’m Jewish — I knew I had to have something that will be powerful on the red carpet,” Noa told Variety.
On the location of the EMAs, she added, “After the Holocaust and all that history, it was very important to me to make a statement [there] and to bring my culture and represent Israel.”
Thanks to her message of support for her fellow Jews, Noa made her own headlines. But what else is there to know about her?
Here are 18 things to know about Noa Kirel:
1. Noa was born on April 10, 2001 in Ra’anana, Israel to Israeli-Jewish parents.
2. She has Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi heritage!
3. Her given name at birth was actually Noya!
4. However, at 3 months old she was diagnosed with a unilateral renal agenesis (meaning she only has one kidney). As Shany Littman wrote in Haaretz, “Her parents sought a blessing from a rabbi, and he told them to change her name to Noa, so that the child would be able to move (lanu’a, in Hebrew) as she grew. He also predicted that she would become a famous dancer.”
5. Noa started dancing at the age of four!
Listen to her talk about her background and success in this video for MTV:
7. At her bat mitzvah, Noa performed with Israeli rapper E-Z!
“She totally bowled him over. Afterward, he told me, ‘Listen, there’s something here,'” Noa’s dad told a reporter.
8. Noa released her first song מדברים or “Talking” on YouTube in 2015.
However, her second music video “Killer” stirred up a bit of controversy.
At the time, Noa was 14 years old, yet the video features her dancing provocatively in a skimpy outfit.
9. Noa became a host on “Israel’s Got Talent” in 2018 and even performed on the show:
10. She has a very clear idea of what she wants her musical identity to be.
“I always want to stand for female empowerment, self-love and body positivity,” she told Paper Magazine. “No matter what someone is going through, I hope my music genuinely helps people feel good regardless of where they are in the world.”
11. Noa visited Auschwitz around 2019 with her father, Amir, to honor the members of their family who were murdered there during the Holocaust.
You can watch footage of their emotional trip here:
12. The trip was part of the Shem Olam musical project, where Israeli singers perform songs about the Holocaust. Noa’s song, which came out in 2019, is called אמא שלי or “My Mother.”
You can watch it here.
13. Noa enlisted in the IDF in 2020 to serve her mandatory military service. Because of her kidney condition, she could have tried to appeal to the IDF medical board. But according to Noa, “There was never a doubt in my mind.”
She completed her service in February 2022.
14. In 2021 she released her first international single, “Please Don’t Suck.”
15. She looks great eating falafel:
16. Noa performed her single “Bad Little Thing” at the 2021 Miss Universe pageant:
17. For the sixth year running, Noa won the Europe Music Award for Best Israeli Act in 2022.
18. Noa will represent Israel at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest!
“With a decision from my heart, I’m putting everything to the side and going into this with complete faith. I have always felt proud to represent this country,” Noa said of her decision to compete.