Tell us, who is Amber St. James?
Amber St. James is a mother, an activist, a dreamer, an educator, and an all-around legend. She is the manifestation of everything society ever told me I couldn’t be or wasn’t worthy or valuable enough to do. Amber is the living embodiment of the intersections of joy and community. Amber to me is liberation and black joy and beauty at its pinnacle of what it could be. Not only has she been an inspiration for others but as the bold, beautiful and badass 6ft African bearded queen she has taught me so much about life and myself, even outside of drag. She has been my key to liberation and freedom and, as a possibility model for so many, she has been a glimpse of what life and love can be for so many.
How long have you been doing Drag and what drives you as a Drag Performer?
It was from an early age (probably around my middle school years) that I found out what Drag was; granted, at the time, in the quick glimpse I had seen of it on my grandmother’s television in the form of an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I had not fully understood what it was. At that moment it was just this magically colorful thing filled with these colorful people living, laughing, and being free, which was good enough for me to become entranced in its call. However, run-ins with it poppin’ up here and there again in my life strengthened its eventual pull on me when I got to college, where I had more access to language and other experiences that better helped me not only find my love for Drag, but my journey to self-discovery in my discovery of my gender identity as a non-binary trans person. That journey, married with an increased feeling of freedom and liberation as I delved deeper into the world of Drag, paired with my growing radicalization as an activist, culminated in the beloved activist African bearded Queen I am today, almost 7 years later. I wouldn’t have made it here and been able to fully embrace my passion for Drag and production intertwined with activism (as I am now known for) without the MANY beautifully helpful people who showed me how to access myself along the way, many of which, as now a part of my Drag family, The Haus Of St. James.
Where can people find you?
Folxs can find me primarily through my Instagram @Mxsstjames. But when I’m not there, people can find me putting together sickening and fierce productions with my Drag Sisters LUXE the Drag Queen, and Brennda Joyy with our Production we started in the midst of the pandemic, which can also be found on Instagram, at @sosjphaus. And if I’m not at either of those places people can typically find me bebopping around helping put together AMAZING Drag Events at San Diego State University.
What Does Pride Mean to you?
Pride to me is truly the culmination of the queer lived experience as it has so many sides and parts to it. For me Pride has been a space of exploration, development, queer joy, and a space of action and activism. Pride in its many intersecting identities and what it means for so many is a space of transformation and community, it is an opportunity for liberation and freedom. Pride is LIFE, and in that, it lives in each of us beyond the boundaries of a single month or a single weekend, it is a mantra and a way of life.