NightlifeQueer in Galveston

Chachie Pedraza Van Wales Shines in Galveston’s Queer Scene

“The Mother of the Island” sprinkles her magic all over the Gulf coast.

Chachie Pedraza Van Wales (Photo by Grandson Studios)

For over a decade, Chachie Pedraza Van Wales, “The Mother of the Island,” has been sprinkling her magic all over the Gulf coast. As the former show director for the first gay bar in the great state of Texas, Robert’s Lafitte, Chachie has become an Island household name. Originally from Houston, this true-to-the-South Texas Mother has blossomed with her own rare beauty, much like that of the bluebonnet.

I met Chachie in 2022 during a scorching summer while moving a mutual friend of ours into his new place. The first impression I had of Chachie, without hesitation, was “this person is incredibly magnetic.” Chachie’s sweetness cut the swelter of the summer sun with a simple smile and textured laugh.

It’s easy to pick out Chachie from the rest of the crowd. She can be found, when not performing on stage in drag, inside local venues supporting other performance artists of all kinds within theater, music, and of course, drag. Chachie is the Drag Mother to 11 children under the Pedraza umbrella.

While I have recently become her drag kid, it took nearly a year before I accepted her invitation to join her family. Throughout the year leading up to my acceptance, we discussed my persona, mission, and of course, my drag name. Although the drag birth certificate will not say Pedraza, the essence of the family name will carry on through their legacy of love for others.

Chachie and I worked together side-by-side at Lafitte’s during my six-month residency, headlining as the Live Singer every week. Thanks to Matty Mattress giving me the opportunity to sing, Chachie and I developed a deeper bond as she hosted Drag-Me-To-Bingo on the Thursday night following my set. By the last month of my residency, Chachie and I combined forces to create a unique weekly event, building off of our chemistry for the stage to entertain the crowd from drag to music to bingo. This ultimately would spark an ongoing relationship full of respect, support, and love.

Chachie has this incredible gift of making the people of our Island feel safe. “Hello?” she answers on her phone while hanging out in my room listening to Schubert’s Ave Maria. Chachie tells me it’s my drag brother, Skeeter, on the phone.

“It’s going to be okay. You’re fine. Take a deep breath. Let it go,” Chachie encourages him. This is one of those gifts she has that provides a sense of safety. Her voice is soothing and her words are the medicine. Once she’s able to calm my drag brother down, we get back to our conversation.

She picks up her phone after Ave Maria ends and selects Italian Classical from her playlist. Within moments, my phone begins to ring. It’s my Island creative comrade, Izzy.

“It’s for you, Chachie,” I tell her.

“Mother” in her pearls

My door is always open for Chachie—literally. We could be walking downtown on The Strand and from across the street someone will yell, “Chachie!” then barrel over to catapult into her arms for a hug. So often I see new faces who encounter her, although she says she’s known them for years. Perhaps this is what happens when you’ve got a community such as Galveston to thrive in. If it weren’t for the ones who initially opened their arms to receive Chachie, we wouldn’t have Chachie to receive us.

“I never dreamed that I would feel this amount of love and recognition from my city for just being unapologetically me!”
— Chachie Pedraza Van Wales

As a true community member of the Island, Chachie bolsters advocacy for the people at large. During her reign as Ms. Sweetheart alongside her Mr. Sweetheart, Matty Mattress, the two supported nearly 200 children at Shriners Children’s Hospital with donated Easter gift baskets. As with the many other crown titles she holds, Chachie makes the time to support local fundraising events year-round for ACCT (Access Care of Coastal Texas), an Island foundation deeply connected to her heart. This is a shining example of the star she is at heart. As many can relate, life can be challenging at times. There were moments in Chachie’s life, before winning titles and headlining shows, where she contemplated ending her life. When I asked Chachie what changed her mind, she said, “I was thinking about other people.”

“You’re done,” she says, wiping the massage lotion from her hands.

“Thank you, Mother,” I replied in kind. Chachie has taught me how to pass along the gift of touch.

“Now you can rub your mom’s feet and help her out,” Chachie adds.

My Drag Mother is undoubtedly helping me heal the relationship I have with my birth mom so I can become a better son to the first, and most important, queen in my life. Whether you’ve known Chachie for five years or five minutes, you know she exudes the energy of healing simply by existing.

This summer, Chachie will surely become a tourist favorite. When the four pairs of fishnets come off after serving the looks in drag, she shifts into serving delicious margaritas, tacos, and cantina specialties downtown in Galveston’s Historic District on The Strand at Brewchacho’s on the patio. On occasion, she also supports a downtown Strand staple, Stuttgarden Tavern, with friend and bartender Shannon.

Perhaps you’ll be visiting the Island and want something fun and fabulous to do during your stay? Good news. Chachie is slated to perform throughout the summer months at Robert’s Lafitte, and at Island Time Beach Bar & Grill on select weekend days and nights for nightly drag and daytime brunches. Throughout the week, Chachie will be serving downtown at Brewchacho’s. The magic of Chachie can only be described through feelings. Mother wants you to know: “You are Loved. You got this. If you need a reminder, just ask my son. He’s Finna Getchoo.”

Keep up with Chachie Pedraza Van Wales on Facebook at

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Lucio Nieto

Lucio Nieto is an entrepreneurial creative and the CEO of Grandson Studios. He currently works as the Brand Culture Expert at Del Sol & Cariloha in Galveston. Lucio serves his community by supporting youth in the performing arts and helping his neighbors with artistic service. Connect with Lucio and his mission by emailing him directly at, and follow his journey on social media @reikiminister.
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