Brugel was born in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. Her mother later married a man of South Asian and Jewish descent, who later adopted Brugel.
She started out as a dancer, but quit when she grew to be taller than her partners. She entered the renowned Theatre Program at York University with a Fine Arts talent scholarship, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2000.
In 1999, Brugel made her acting debut in the HBO drama film Vendetta, alongside Christopher Walken. In 2000, she had a role in A Diva's Christmas Carol, a Christmas television film starring Vanessa Williams, Rozonda Thomas, and Kathy Griffin. She made her feature film debut as Geko in the slasher horror film Jason X (2001) and starred in the horror television film Kaw (2007).
Brugel had recurring roles as Sita Petronelli in the USA Network drama series Eyewitness (2016) and as Sonia in the CBC comedy series Workin' Moms (2018), for which she was nominated for the Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress, Comedy.
Beginning in 2017, Brugel had a recurring role as "Rita" on the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale. From the second season on, Brugel became a main cast member on the series and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award three consecutive years for an Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series and won a Gold Derby Award in 2018 for Ensemble of the Year.
From 2019 to 2020, Brugel had a recurring role as Faith Hanlon in the USA Network teen drama series Dare Me. In 2020, she appeared as Eugenia in multiple episodes of the TNT post-apocalyptic drama series Snowpiercer, which is an adaptation of the film of the same name. Also that year, Brugel starred as Kayla in the action thriller film Becky.
In 2020, Brugel appeared as a panellist on Canada Reads, advocating for Samra Habib's memoir We Have Always Been Here. She successfully defended the memoir and won the competition.
- Brugel was one of the guest hosts on Season 1 of Canada's Drag Race, appearing in the eighth episode, before being announced as a main judge for Season 2.
- This makes her the second guest judge to become a main judge on the same iteration of the show across the Drag Race franchise, after Ross Mathews guest judged on Season 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race and became a permanent judge in Season 7.
- She was also a guest on The Official Canada's Drag Race Podcast in 2020 hosted by Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman.
Canada's Drag Race Season 1
Canada's Drag Race Season 1 Looks
Canada's Drag Race Season 2
Canada's Drag Race Season 2 Looks
|Runners-Up||2nd & 3rd: Kendall Gender & Pythia|
|Other Queens||4th: Gia Metric • 5th: Adriana • 6th: Kimora Amour • 7th: Synthia Kiss • 8th: Eve 6000 • 9th: Suki Doll (Miss Congeniality) • 10th: Stephanie Prince • 11th: Océane Aqua-Black • 12th: Beth|
|Judges||Amanda Brugel • Brad Goreski • Brooke Lynn Hytes • Traci Melchor|