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Amanda Roberts, 53, Canada

This is our second and last interview celebrating Pride month. I was curious to know how Drag personas age. Do they remain forever young? Do they mature and change over time?

To answer these questions, we interviewed two of the biggest drag names in Canada and Australia. Our chat this weeks is with Toronto based artist, Amanda Roberts.

Photos by @Thats_hawesome

An icon of the Canadian Drag Scene, Amanda Roberts has forged paths for other drag queens and entertained an ever-growing audience for almost thirty years. Having worked both behind the scenes and in front of the camera on the ground-breaking show, Queer As Folk, and producing the pageant, Miss Canada Continental (still what she considers to be one of her proudest achievements to date) – Amanda Roberts gave So50 an exclusive insight into her experience on ageing within a sector of the entertainment industry that values perennially youthful appearance.

“Not many people can survive this long in the industry we call drag”, Amanda admits, but she hopes that her successful longevity on the drag scene will be an inspiration to those who follow her and her career. To a younger version of herself, and to others only just beginning their adult life’s journey, she would simply say “Keep on going, you’ve got this!” Honestly, that’s great advice… most 25 year olds think they already have a good idea of where they want to go and what they might like to do, so just the encouragement to believe in themselves, will stand them in good stead for their future success. And, as for her advice moving forward in life , and for ageing happily… Again, poignant yet pertinent in it’s simplicity, “Stay active, learn to love yourself and focus on the positive.”

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David McCallum, the man who breathes life into the onstage presence of Amanda Roberts, reveals to So50 that he has learned to appreciate all the wonderful experience he has had throughout his life so far. Since turning 50, he has become more health aware – more physically active – and confides that “I try to stay away from all the drama and not let what others think of me affect me as much”.

When asked about what ‘superpower’ he has gained with age, his answer was typically straight to the point… “The ability to spot BS!” Most would agree that this ‘superpower’ would definitely have saved a lot of time and heartache wasted on being taken advantage of during their younger years. And looking into the future, the advice he gives himself, and anyone else who may be struggling with ageing, “When things get tough, remember all the struggles you’ve survived and keep on going”.

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Although Amanda’s history and advice is an inspiration to others, what excites her right now – like so many others in the live entertainment industry - after more than a year of being in lockdown and unable to pursue their passion, she is looking forward to the opportunity to finally be able to return to the stage and perform the “old school drag and celebrity impersonations” that she has become so famous for.

I would say Amanda and David have learned a lot from each other over many decades of working together and, as Georges Braque once said, "with age, art and life become one".

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