I Am Amber Von Tussle

I'm not the best dancer. Or singer. Or person. That would be Tracy Turnblad. Even I would admit that.

Everybody has expectations of me because I'm a Von Tussle. They expect me to be the beautiful, shallow bitch because of my mother. Well, guess what, Baltimore. I only look like my mother. That doesn't mean anything.

I used to think that I wanted to be like my mother. I used to think she would love me if I acted just like her. If I won Miss Teenage Hairspray. If I was perfect. But I was just never good enough for her. There was always one grade, one eyelash, one dance step, that incurred her wrath.

When I was little, I followed her around, trying to get her to notice me. She never had time. She expected me to be exactly like she was, but she never had time to help me.

In junior high, I figured out that she paid more attention when I was popular. To get popular, I started dating 'Mr. Hunk' (who's actually Joey--that was before Link and I met) and I also started smoking.

As time went on, it became second nature today for me to lash out at anyone who threatened me. When the Corny Collins Show started, I automatically was lead dancer, because of my mom. It was just one more thing for her to judge me on. That's when I met Link. We never really liked each other, but he was talented, cute, and the one my mother liked. So what was one more uncomfortable relationship, if it helped me with my mom?

Link and I started dating. It was only for the cameras. It was about as deep as the makeup we had to wear.

When Miss Teenage Hairspray came along, my mother altered the tallies. I pretended I didn't know, but I did. I never would have won otherwise. It should have been Shelley or Lou Ann. They both dance circles around me.

And then came Tracy Turnblad. She was the most genuine person I've met, but I couldn't like her. My mother didn't, so I didn't either. She helped the show get integrated. Mom, of course, was completely against integration, but I didn't really mind. Some of the colored boys were really cute. And they can all dance really well.

The show is much more---real---without segregation. Tracy insisted that I should still get to dance, but I don't mind so much. It was my mother's dream anyways. We're moving away soon, to Chicago. Mother is a wreck. No job, no reputation. I can't say I'm sorry.

Once I wanted to be like my mother. Now I know how awful she was. And it took a dumpy little girl and a bunch of Negroes to help me see it. My life is ruined, as is my reputation, but now I see that it was never really me anyways. I'll have a fresh start in Chicago, and this time I'm Amber.

I am Amber Von Tussle, and I'm not my mother.