A superstar, multimillionaire, who is cleaning toilets and don’t seem to mind it

7th August 2020

7th August 2020

Noa Kirel

She is a teenager. A national rage. A multimillionaire. But these days she is cleaning toilets. And she doesn’t mind.

Noa Kirel is all of 19, an Israeli pop sensation and be it reality shows or public appearances, the nation stops to look at her or listen to her music.

Noa Who? It might be normal in India but try doing it in Israel and you would appear to the locals as one from another planet. She has just signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Atlantic Records. This is the biggest deal any Israeli artist has cut with any US label. She is called Israel’s Britney Spears.

But these days Noa is with the Israeli army. It’s mandatory for a young Israeli to get conscripted in the Israeli army and that’s how Noa has landed up in fatigues and in barracks. She could’ve slipped out of the net if she had wanted since she has just one kidney and the rules would’ve bent in her case. But she has chosen to be a faceless young girl with her regiment. Even if millions of fresh dollars have slipped away.

Noa, as she is popularly called in Israel, joined the Israeli army six months ago. Her first moment in uniform, when she was parting with her parents, as is norm with other young recruits, crashed the paparazzi in the town. Her first month was spent in training, where she enjoyed being ordered around like everyone else, and did other “normal” chores like cleaning toilets.

But all hell broke loose when she was put on “talent track”, allowed to do her own music act and dispatched to do it for the troops. As things turned out, her act with two male backup dancers, all in military fatigues and combat boots was shot by someone and made viral on social media. The backlash quickly cut short her musical avatar in army robes.

Most Israelis are drafted at 18 though there is an exception in the case of Arab and ultra-orthodox Jewish citizens. Israeli army is used to having celebrities in their ranks. One such name was Gal Gadot, already crowned Miss Israel before she joined the services—but it isn’t to the scale of Noa.

Consider this: Noa shot to fame at 14 when her YouTube videos garnered millions of views. She is today drawing comparison with Elves Presley who was called to serve in the US Army when he was at the peak of career in 1958. There is also a very favourable comparison against supermodel Bar Rafaeli who shirked a duty with the forces and was ridiculed by public as Israelis see it as an important matter in their lives. Noa, as things stand, has clarified to her sponsors Atlantic Records that she would be off for military duty for two years.

Meanwhile Israeli army likes the positive image the presence of celebrities spread in the society. Anna Zak, a model who has more than 1 million follower on Instagram, and Gal Gvaram with more than 350,000 followers on Instagram and 60,000 on TikTok are few other examples. But they admit they are sensitive to the blossoming careers of such youngsters.

Noa, meanwhile is relishing her new role. She knows it’s a smaller audience but then they are soldiers and all are wearing the same uniform. She finds it all very meaningful.

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