Why We Loved the "Love Nadine" Campaign
At the end of 2020, one of our own, Nadine Hughes, fell ill to Covid-19 and was hospitalized. Nadine was incredibly smart and cautious about following all the necessary precautions when it came to performing during a pandemic. Despite her efforts, though, this amazing drag queen contracted the virus. It was a huge shock to the entire drag community, and the LGBTQIA+ community in Austin, Texas.
Being hospitalized meant Nadine and her mother, Melody Cass, were suddenly facing hardship after hardship. Nadine was no longer able to perform at drag shows or bars, which meant there was suddenly one less source of income for the family. Melody, or Mama Cass as many know her, took to social media to update all of Nadine’s fans and friends. In the true spirit of the Austin LGBTQIA+ community, there was an influx in efforts to raise money and awareness for Nadine, her hospital bills, her living expenses, and more.
We, at Booth & Stager, have a deep connection to Nadine Hughes as well, and knew we had to do something. We wanted to help spread the love for Nadine, and do our best to raise some additional funds for the family. In January of 2021, we launched the “Love Nadine” campaign. With the help of local artist Shane Loza, of Enahs Designs, Booth & Stager set up two designs for the campaign. T-shirts and tank tops, with one design or the other, were made available on Nadine’s new Booth. Booth & Stager was to donate 100% of profits of all shirts sold to Nadine and Melody Cass.
We’d like to extend a special thank you to Adam Stone, and the staff at Iron Bear, for helping us in our efforts. Adam Stone, former Mr. Austin Pride, set up a benefit drag show (and underwear auction!) at Iron Bear. Working with Iron Bear, Sir Rat Leather, and some local queens and performers, they were able to raise more than $1,500 for Nadine and her family. Iron Bear was also fantastically supportive in purchasing Love Nadine shirts for the entire staff working that day, and let us promote our shirts at the event as well.
More thanks goes to the team at Highland Lounge. Highland’s manager, Jonathan Melendez, also purchased a Love Nadine shirt for every staff member at the bar. Jonathan, and the rest of the team, are also working on special events for the bar that would include the staff wearing and promoting the shirts, as well as helping to share the love that we all have for Nadine Hughes.
Christine King, and the staff at Doc’s Drive-In Theater in Buda, also deserve a huge thank you from us. Christine King, former Miss Austin USofA Classic, worked with the team at Doc’s to put together a special drag show and drive-in movie to benefit Nadine. Some of Austin (and Nadine’s) favorite performers put on a fabulous pre-show, and then Doc’s showed one of Nadine’s all-time favorite movies - The Wizard of Oz. Doc’s helped promote our Love Nadine shirts, and prompted a couple sales at the event as well. All in all, the event was able to raise more than $1,350 for Nadine, and we are happy to have been part of it.
Seeing the love and support within our community for Nadine and her mother has been absolutely beautiful, and we feel so elated that we were able to do our part to help. Nadine has since made huge strides in recovering from Covid-19, even taking the time to FaceTime some of her friends and drag-family. She has a long way to go before she’s back on stage again, but we know it will happen again some day.
And we’ll be there, front and center, at her first show, with a smile on our faces, and wearing our Love Nadine shirts proudly.
Although the Love Nadine campaign has come to an end, the shirts and tanks are still available at Nadine's Booth. You can continue to purchase those items, and help share love for Nadine Hughes.