Hey-diddly-ho, gayborinos! I hope you’re all having a fabulous day.
Over the years, I have had a few young queens ask me if I would be their drag mother. For those that don’t know, a drag mother is a more established drag queen who finds it in their heart to help a little newbie in the ways of a showgirl. A drag mother helps their child with all things drag-related: makeup tips, wigs, lets them borrow clothes and costumes and sometimes lets them use their last name. There are quite a few O’Haras, even more Davenports and even a few Summers babies.
But alas, there are no baby Novas running around annoying the masses. Nova is just not a great last name for anyone but me. If I did have a drag child, I would want her name to be Bella. She would have to be funny, but not too funny. Pretty, but not too pretty. She would have to be a smart ass without being a cunt. Edgy, but still true to the art form. In other words, I am barren because of my high standards. I’m not going to let some little sissy-boy walk in and ruin the good name Nova.
I had a few queens help me along the way but only one I would call my drag mother: Celeste Martinez. In the early days of Cassie Nova, Celeste taught me to do hair, let me borrow clothes and taught me some valuable lessons, but most of all, she always had my back.
The timing for us to be friends was perfect. She needed a roommate and I needed a place to stay, and we got along, so for me it was a match made in heaven. Looking back, I feel sorry for her. I wouldn’t wish me on anybody. I was messy, loud and annoying. Thank God I have changed (I’m not as messy now).
I remember once when Celeste and I were going to pay the rent. We decided to stop in the wig store that use
d to be across the street from where Whole Foods is now. It was very uppity, bougie and way overpriced. The lady that ran the place looked like an Asian Tammy Faye Bakker but spoke with a Russian accent and had on a long blonde fall o
n the ba
ck of her head, while her bangs were teased up and out. From the moment we walked in the store she was on us. She looked down her nose at us and was very rude. “Whatchoo need?” she demanded. Celeste asked if she could see this lovely long brown wig that was up on a shelf; that bitch replied, “Dat one iz berry expensive.” Celeste looked at me like, “did this bitch really just go there?” I looked at her like, “Oh no she better don’t.” Then Celeste got this twinkle in her eye that said, “Watch this!” Celeste reached into her bag and pulled out our rent money. Yes it was all in cash, as we were on our way to get a money order. And you know coming from two drag queens it was a huge pile of bills. It was a few hundred dollar bills, a shit ton of twenties, tens, fives and ones. We looked like we was big pimpin’ and Celeste told her that money was no object.
The woman’s whole demeanor changed and she was suddenly our best friend. “Ooooh, dis wig look good on yoo skin tone. Dis one highlight yoo pretty face.” Celeste said we would take them all. Miss Bitch got so happy, running around the store almost dancing getting us whatever we needed.
We get up to the register and the bouncy happy bitch starts to ring the wigs up when Celeste said, “Hold on. You know what?
Never mind. We are going to go down the street to Lemmon Wigs and get this same shit cheaper and without the bad attitude, but thanks. Bye!” Celeste put away the wad of cash and we sashayed away out of there. If
looks could kill, we both would have been vaporized. It felt very Pretty Woman.
Here’s another memory. Every year, Caven Enterprises — which is the parent company for the Rose Room and the surrounding clubs — would have a huge Christmas party. The first few years I worked for Caven we had the party at the Lizard Lounge in Deep Ellum. It was always a blast — free food and free liquor. Celeste and I went one year out of drag. Just a chill night of fun was what I was hoping for, but No… I had to go and get in a fight.
It was a festive atmosphere and I was walking around, mixing and mingling. I stopped to talk to a group of friends and strangers and casually inserted myself into the conversation. It was just some light banter, nothing too serious. Then Valerie Lohr walked by with her husband Johnny, I yelled hello to them both and waved like some weird fanboy. I turned back to the group and said, “Oh my God, I love Valerie Lohr.” This one guy, kind of tall and good looking, had this look of disgust on his face. He said, “Gross, I hate drag queens.” I immediately got defensive and said, “Whatever dude! You don’t even know her, she’s…”
Then BAM! He punched me in the face.
I swear I don’t remember the next few seconds, but apparently I grabbed him and started to punch him repeatedly in the nose.
Then someone broke us up. I do remember when it was over and seeing blood on the ground. I just knew I was going to be fired, I was never going to be booked again. I was crying hysterically like a pussy, overcome with emotion. I had only been in a few fights growing up but I had never been punched in the face. It was shocking to say the least.
My friend Celeste was there telling me to calm down, everything was going to be okay. I looked around for the douche that popped me and realized the blood on the ground was not mine. We followed it to the front door, they had thrown him out and I figured I was next to be escorted out. Then I saw Paul Lewis, our big boss. He was my bosses’ boss and what he said was law. I saw him and started to cry again. He was a father figure to a lot of people in our community and I feared and respected him. He came up to me, put his arm around me and said, “I think you broke his nose.” Then he started to laugh. “He started it, you finished it. I tell people all the time, you don’t mess with a drag queen.” Then told me, “Let’s go get a shot.” And we did and all was well.
The dillhole that punched me was apparently some random dick dancer. I did break his nose. His ex-boyfriend still comes out to the Rose Room and tips me on occasion and every time he gives me a dollar he says, “Remember that time you broke my boyfriend’s nose?” and I always say yes, I remember.
My favorite part about this story is something I did not see, but which many people have told me: That when I got punched, my good Judy, Celeste Martinez jumped over a table and ran to the action to help me out. Just like Wonder Woman ready to kick some ass. There is no better feeling than knowing someone has you back. Celeste and I are not as close as we once were, she is off on a great adventure, but I will always consider her one of my best friends and my drag mother. I love that bitch!
Remember to always, love more, bitch less and be fabulous. XOXO Cassie Nova
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2016.