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Straight Edge Interview Project: Amanda, 47 Genova, Italy

Tell us about you? What do you do for a living? Do you have any pets, hobbies, pet projects?
I’m a musician and an artist. I’m also a Karate champ (Shōrin-ryū). I love everything that is related to art (I’m making headdresses using different techniques), working out and training every day, reading tons of books, playing video games, cooking vegan dishes… I do have two Sphinx cats, Angelina and Viggo. Right now I’m taking care of 36 horses, 25 sheep, and 4 donkeys that are guested in our ranch for retired animals.

Favorite straight edge (or non-straight edge) bands?

Minor Threat, Youth of Today, Shelter, Misfits, Ramones, Rise Against, Sense Field, Judge, Earth Crisis, Good Riddance, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, etc…

What is your definition of straight edge?

I would describe sXe to someone who is not as a healthy lifestyle in which one is sober, free from drugs, and free from any kind of addiction.

Where do you see the straight edge scene today?

It’s good. For me, it’s basically the same as the past, although you have some new bands. I think with the wider use of the internet, you have more visibility and more people getting interested in it. You certainly have a new group of people looking at improving their health with individuals stopping from drinking and using drugs, which is I think is wonderful.

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what’s your thoughts on this?

Of course, there is a difference. I’m ok with other people in what they’re doing but for me, if you’re saying you’re sXe, you’re a part of the scene. Otherwise, you’re just clean and sober. Not to be rude but people who know nothing about the straight edge scene and are not involved, cannot say that they’re sXe.

What are some funny/common misconceptions people have about you being straight edge?

Some people doubting that I can have fun or enjoy life without drinking or smoking. That’s a very small way of thinking.

What are some challenges you have faced when interacting with other people who are also edge? If you haven’t had any challenges, tell us some challenges you’ve faced when interacting with people who are not edge?

Some females in the scene tend to say they are your sister, but they eventually end up not being your sister… And this is making me very sad.

Is your diet influenced or informed by your choice to be straight edge i.e. organic, antibiotic infused meat, genetically modified foods, vegan, vegetarian?

I was sxe first, and then vegan so yes, it definitely changed my views.

What’s your straight edge story? Was there a key moment that made you realize straight edge is the way you want to live your life? How old were you? How did you find out about straight edge, was there someone in the community that introduced you, or were you introduced to it through people/bands, etc? What drew you to it?

My friends introduced me to it..I was already into punk rock but it evolved through my friends introducing me to sXe… I was 15! Best decision ever…

Define what straight edge means to you? Has this changed over the years?

It’s my life! The way I am and it will never change.

Do you consider yourself an activist? What is/are your cause(s), and how have you been working to advance them?

I support women’s rights and animal rights but I don’t consider that as activism. I do what I can to support those issues, but I see that activism can be extreme and a full-time job and I don’t see myself that way.

What, if anything, keeps you committed to the straight edge lifestyle?

I enjoy it and it keeps me happy. It’s my lifestyle and I can’t see myself being happy any other way.

What is something you didn’t think you would struggle with by claiming edge?

I don’t struggle with anything by claiming edge. Even before I claimed edge, I was already not drinking, not smoking, or doing drugs so there wasn’t a struggle.

What do you do for stress relief instead of drinking/drugs, tips for peer pressuree?

I work out every day (3 hours session) and work on multiple creative projects… I play guitar and drums…

Have you ever considered breaking edge? What were the circumstances, and what changed your mind?

I did when I was younger for a brief period of time due to a boyfriend. I wasn’t drinking to get wasted but just in social settings ..a beer here and there but it didn’t last very long. I stopped because it made me feel like shit, and I felt ashamed in doing that because I was doing it because of the person I was with. Never again!

If you are in a relationship is your partner straight edge, or have you had a previous relationship with someone who was not straight edge? What, if any, challenges have you faced relating to your lifestyle/choices?

He’s doesn’t claim sXe but he is clean and sober. He comes from a punk rock background so that really helps as we have similar backgrounds. I’m very proud of him for changing his life around.

If your partner is edge do you have similar views/outlooks about straight edge? What are some examples of ideas/beliefs that you agree and/or disagree on?

We both don’t drink and do drugs and that’s about the extent of it.

Has your family and social life been negatively or positively impacted? Have you faced or are you facing any specific challenges because of your lifestyle choices? If your family/friends are unsupportive, how do you deal?

My family has always been happy and supportive of it since it makes me positive and happy.

How do you explain your lifestyle to others outside of the scene? Do you find it difficult? What’s your elevator pitch?

I tell them it’s a choice I’m making to have a happy and healthy life and without wasting money, time, and my life on harmful things and I will never regret that.

Over the past decade or so individuals in recovery have stumbled upon the straight edge lifestyle and it has really spoken to them. Do you feel that the straight edge community has been welcoming to those in recovery? Do you have mixed feelings? Strong Feelings?

Yes. Everyone that wants to become sXe is more than welcome. I feel it has been welcoming to newcomers because you have to in order for the scene to survive.

How do you feel your straight edge commitment plays into the bigger social justice movement for gender equity?

I never had gender equality issues, good or bad, being involved in the scene… at least in Italy.

Have you ever had a negative experience in the scene related to your gender?

Lucky enough to say never…

Straight edge and the associated music scene have long been male-dominated. What do you see as a woman/girls role in the scene? How has this role changed since you have been involved and what changes would you like to see?

As a female musician in the scene here in Italy, again, I have had no problems. There are a lot of females involved in the scene here and worldwide, so I haven’t experienced any of these issues as we’re all involved in the same scene.

Do you feel the straight edge community has done enough to advance gender/race/social issues?

I think they have since it’s turned into such a huge community… it couldnt be as big as it is, without advancing those issues

Is the scene as inclusive as it likes to think it is? Do you think there’s work to be done? If so, what would you like to see change?

Generally, it is except from certain female “sisters” claiming edge. That’s the only problem I’ve had; sXe women claiming to be sisters when they’re anything but your sister.

Please add anything else you think we should know or you would like to share!

Stay safe everyone and I hope this interview will help you with your project, will open the door to having other females support you and I’m proud to be a part of it! Thank you so much!

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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