Tuesday 26 September 2017

Amanda Sparrow - Irish woman spends €6k on name change, tattoos, and gold teeth to transform into Jack Sparrow

Amanda Sparrow in full Jack Sparrow costume, (right) the real Captain Jack Sparrow
Amanda Sparrow in full Jack Sparrow costume, (right) the real Captain Jack Sparrow
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

An Irish mum-of-four has spent almost €6,000 on transforming herself into a female version of Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp's pirate character from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movie series.

Amanda Sparrow changed her name by deed poll from 'Amanda Large' and has had replica tattoos, dreadlocks, and gold teeth added to her look to make it more authenthic.

Amanda Sparrow in her full Jack Sparrow impersonator costume
Amanda Sparrow in her full Jack Sparrow impersonator costume

The 43-year-old, who lives in Belfast but is originally from Drogheda, was struck by the similarities between herself and the character when she saw the first film in the series for the first time in January.

"I was really fascinated by Jack Sparrow," she says.  "I could see a lot of my personality in him and a lot of his personality in me. 

Amanda Sparrow as she dresses every day.
Amanda Sparrow as she dresses every day.

"My daughter Coral even said, 'My God you walk like him!' which I didn't take as much of a compliment at the time!" she laughs.

Within the week Amanda had watched all four Pirates movies on Netflix and began to channel Jack's look.

Amanda Sparrow with her name change certificate
Amanda Sparrow with her name change certificate

"I already had dreadlocks and I started adding a few beads and copying his style, in a more modern way, with baggy trousers and men's waistcoats.  People started calling me Jack Sparrow."

Amanda began to receive invites to events including a pirate festival and Belfast Pride and began to conduct further research into the character.

"I eventually added the facial hair and I wanted the whole look to be really screen accurate so I read the book Price of Freedom which is a prequel to the film and there's a lot of background on his trinkets, hair and clothes," reveals Amanda.

"Everything he wears has some kind of meaning, from the tattoos to the beads to the bandana, which belonged to his ex-fiance.  I had fun sourcing all the authentic stuff from car boot sales and charity shops and altering items so they'd be as much like his as possible."

Johnny Depp in character as Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp in character as Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), in a scene from 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End'
Johnny Depp visited a school dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow

Amanda spent the most on two gold teeth, which cost £800.  She hopes to add gold veneers to two bottom teeth next year as Jack has four.

"I love them but the only thing is, when you take photograph they look black!" she laughs.

Amanda, whose four children are 22, 19, 14, and 5, moved to Belfast in 2009.  Tragically she lost a son the following year.  It was a tough time, and she credits her Jack transformation for giving her confidence in herself and changing her life.

"The biggest commitment to it is the name change, because ultimately everything else you can take off, even the veneers," she says.

"But the name change is permanent.  It had made such a huge difference in my life from teh type of person I would have been before - I won't say very needy or unconfident - but I didn't like the way I looked.  I never really felt like I was being true to myself.

Amanda Sparrow before her transformation
Amanda Sparrow before her transformation
Amanda Sparrow before her transformation
Amanda Sparrow before her transformation

"Jack gave me the freedom to be who I wanted to be and it has given me great confidence.  I love the way I look and I feel really comfortable in myself.  This is who I am and it has made a huge difference to how I feel about myself.

"I just said I'm not going to regret this, even if I stop being an impersonator and it doesn't work out doing it professionally, I will always love Jack Sparrow for giving me my confidence and finding out who I really am."

Amanda now channels Jack every day, apart from the facial hair.  She has had mostly positive reactions from people although she did receive negative comments from the staff of a well-known supermarket.

"The staff started laughing at me and jeering saying thinks like, 'She thinks she's effing Jack Sparrow' in front of my kids," reveals Amanda.

"I went to the manager and said it's freedom of expression and I can dress whatever way I like.  The staff were very unprofessional.  I was very upset about that, because my kids were there, but the manager was very nice about it."

Amanda says she has the full support of her children, and her 14-year old daughter Coral was fully behind her mum on that particular occasion.

"She said to me, 'If you're happy don't let narrow-minded people put you off doing it,'" says her proud mum.

Amanda has reduced her day job working hours to part-time and works as a Jack Sparrow impersonator at the weekends.  Much of the work she does at the moment is with charities.

She's also currently taking acting lessons in order to channel Jack's voice.  She laughs, "It's ongoing.  The voice is the hardest thing but I'm getting there."

Amanda Sparrow can be contacted via her Facebook page - www.facebook.com/JackSparrowIImpersonatorIreland

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