Israeli actress, model and pop singer Noa Kirel has confirmed on Wednesday that she will compete on behalf of Israel in the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

“With all of Israel behind me, I am embarking on this journey to bring great pride to this country,” she said at an Aug. 10 press conference, according to The Times of Israel. She added: “Thank you for this incredible honor. … I am already starting today to work [on my Eurovision performance], and as you know about me, to work hard. Cross your fingers and fasten your seatbelts!”

In July, the “Pouch” singer was chosen by a panel, convened by Israel’s public broadcasting network Kan News, to represent Israel in the competition. However, she initially expressed hesitation about accepting the offer and said she would need time to consider the opportunity before deciding, according to The Times of Israel.

Kirel, who completed her service in the Israel Defense Forces earlier this year, confirmed at the press conference that despite her initial hesitations, “I am moving forward with full faith. Like everywhere in the world I have performed—whether in IDF uniform or on the biggest stages in the world—I have always felt proud to represent my country.”

The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the United Kingdom, although the host city has not been determined yet. Ukraine was originally scheduled to host the competition but will be unable to do so due to its ongoing war with Russia.

Kirel said Israel’s song for the 2023 competition has not been selected yet, but that she is working in cooperation with Kan News on choosing a track. She noted that she will have “artistic freedom to represent myself the way I want.”

She also talked about making the decision to compete even while knowing that she could finish in a low standing.

“I put my ego aside, I put my fears and the risks aside,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll do well or not, but if I don’t take the chance, I’ll never know. … From the first day of my career, I have taken risks. That’s part of my career, but I’m putting the fear aside and focusing on the fact that I am representing my country on this enormous stage.”

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