I Married a Drag Queen in Vegas, Here’s Our Story
When Henry and Nick initially met in early 2021, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.
Although they both felt a connection, months passed, plans were made and unmade, and the fog of apathy and disillusion that so often precludes relationships in this modern age began settling in. In fact, it wasn’t until the end of November that they finally went on their official first date.
What neither of them could have predicted was that it would be their last first date — ever.
Nick, who goes by Lana Vandal in drag and proudly identifies as “country,” wanted to make a statement about who he was, so he wore a fringe jacket and a Bud Light hat, a combination Henry apparently couldn’t resist. They talked for hours at a bar until close and individually arrived at the same conclusion at the end of the night: this felt different from any other date either of them had been on.
What followed was what most would call a whirlwind romance, albeit with a few unconventional twists and turns.
Lana Vandal was an up-and-coming drag queen and had a rigorous performance schedule. Henry would tag along for the wild and glittery ride, offering his company and help as any good drag boyfriend would.
As they continued getting to know each other, traveling for Lana’s shows and growing in love, they made the decision to move in together, which was not something they took lightly. It was their shared belief that living together was pretty much the equivalent of being married.
So, during a cross-country road trip, spanning from Florida to Las Vegas, they decided to do just that.
mitú sat down with them to discuss a number of hot topics, including what it’s like to be a drag queen, what it’s like to be married to one, Vegas weddings and all the hot juicy details in between. If it feels like their love story breaks all the rules, it’s because it does, and that’s exactly what we want to celebrate.
When was the moment that you knew?
Henry: We knew we were in love on our second date. He invited me over to his place and I wanted to be romantic, so I brought champagne and juices to make mimosas and a cheese plate, and he put ABBA on his record player, and we danced. There was one moment when we were kissing and we just stopped and nuzzled noses, and that was when I felt it.
Nick: It’s funny because we felt it at the same time. We didn’t even need to say it. But I brought it up to him later, what I had felt, and he was like, “Oh my God, me too.”
Henry: Yeah, and I also said something with my mouth full and he understood what I was saying. That’s love. He did say “I love you” first, though.
Nick: When I was drunk.
Why did you decide to get married in Vegas?
Nick: Honestly, I just wanted to be married already. Henry talked about waiting a few years, but I was like, “I want to be married now.” We already lived together, so I thought there was no point to living together and not being married. It’s basically the same thing.
Henry: Well, we had been joking around with the idea. We didn’t really have the money saved in our budget —
Nick: Yeah, I’m not working right now. I mean, I werq but he’s the only one who works.
Henry: And we kept thinking, “Oh, that would be such a great story to tell, how we got married in Vegas.” And so, we went on that road trip and we stopped in Dallas, where our friends live, and my friend Evan asked, “Are you guys going to get married in Vegas?” And we said we’d thought about it but we knew it’d cost a lot of money and then he offered to pay for it! I looked it up online and showed him how much it would be and he sent me the money on Zelle right there. We wanted to get Elvis, but he was too expensive. So, it was spontaneously planned.
How was the process of getting married in Vegas?
Nick: I just want to say that I cracked under the pressure of this wedding a hundred times and Henry cracked zero times. I think I cracked the first time about the shoes, and then I cracked about the outfit. I was like, “Oh, we don’t have ties, we don’t have anything!” Because I just wanted everything to be perfect. And then we got in the limo and I asked Henry to give me the rings and he’s like, “I thought you had them.” We had left the rings in the hotel. It was really the end of the world. And our friends were like, “You don’t need rings if you’re in love!” And I was like, “No… I need the rings.”
Henry: When you get married in a chapel in Vegas, you only have seven minutes. They give you a boutonniere, ask you how you want to walk down the aisle… we chose to walk down together. The guy who married us sounded like Dracula but looked like Einstein. Part of the package was that a limo would come to pick you up from your hotel and bring you back. We went back to the hotel afterwards and had some drinks, and then we hid in the bathroom and I was like, “Announce us!” And we came out and had our first dance to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, just in our pants. I don’t know why we were shirtless, but we were. That was the vibe. Then, we rode a roller-coaster, and we had our rings blessed in front of the Excalibur.
What’s something you wish the general public knew about drag queens?
Nick: If you are serious about starting, you need to do it now. It is not cheap, it’s not easy, it’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks it is — it’s painful. That’s why it makes me so upset when I see people messing with drag queens, like, putting the tip in their mouth and mistreating them or making fun of them, because we’re hot, we’re tired, we spent thousands of dollars… I’ve honestly probably spent several thousands already.
I feel like a lot of new girls are doing it now because of [RuPaul’s] Drag Race, thinking that they’re just going to put on a wig and make-up and they’re going to be it. But I’ve known entertainers who have been doing drag for 45+ years and were around during the AIDS epidemic. It was not easy back then, they literally had to fight for their lives. I feel like a lot of people really take that for granted. That’s why I look up to the old school drag queens like my drag mother. I think these new girls nowadays have it super easy, myself included.
What’s it like to be married to a drag queen?
Henry: It’s exhausting [laughs]. I mean it’s exciting, it’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure. And I’ve learned a lot. I used to watch Drag Race, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. You learn what drag really is when you support local talent and meet the people themselves. At first, it felt crazy to be immersed in that world. But now I really enjoy going and helping out, and then sitting back and enjoying the show.
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