Cheers to Three Years of BossBabesATX / by Tess Cagle

Three years ago this week, I watched someone I really admire take the world by storm on top of a picnic table in a backyard in East Austin. (Yes Jane, I'm talkin' about you.) Me and a couple hundred other creative women in Austin witnessed firsthand the launch of BossBabesATX, a non-profit that amplifies and connects women and nonbinary creatives, entrepreneurs and organizers.

What started as a series of community meet-ups has morphed into a revolution.  

You can check out the hardcore stats about #BBATX on their website, but here's the gist: 

  • Bossbabes' events and programs have contributed more than $1 million to the local economy. 
  • Since 2015, the non-profit has served more than 1,500 women and non-binary creatives, entrepreneurs, and organizers in Austin. 
  • Their events have been graced by more than 20,000 guests. 
  • The non-profit has collaborated with more than 50 nonprofits in Austin. 

So why does #BBATX matter so much to me? Well, after photographing 25 events for the non-profit over the past three years (wow!!), you could say I've grown quite a bit with the organization. I was #BBATX's OG community management intern, and Jane and Leslie took a huge chance on me by giving me the very important job of documenting the organizations events. It's true, #BBATX has either directly or indirectly impact thousands of women in Austin and my story is just one of the many. Jane was the first person who ever valued me enough as a photographer to PAY me. She and the rest of the founders allowed me to grow as a creative through opportunity and in-turn helped me develop a passion for event photography—they seriously gave me the tools be the business owner that I am today. 

All sappiness aside–in honor of the organization's three year anniversary, I'm sharing my favorite pics from the #BBATX archive. 

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BBATX LAUNCH

Kind of already gushed about this in the text above, but I gotta say—I’ve been combing through all my old folders of these photos and my heart has been swelling to see how many women I photographed that first year that I didn’t know, who are now some of my favorite friends in this city. This has been the best gig over the years because of the kickass people I’ve met. 

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THAT MEETUP AFTER "FORMATION" CAME OUT

Y'ALL, it was iconic. A dance team from Austin even performed the whole damn thing for attendees. 

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THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Jane gave a speech that overwhelmed me so much I felt compelled to record the whole thing (as I took photos) and cry unapologetically. It was wild. 

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THE FIRST BABES FEST SCREENING

The first annual Babesfest film screening happened the day after the shooting of Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest. I don't think we had never needed hugs from my community so much. Personally, I also discovered my love of FemBeat and the Sekrit Theater. 

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THAT TIME WENDY DAVIS SHOWED UP...

And made a babe announcement.

Enough said. 

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THE OG HEADSHOTS

The BBATX lineup has changed a lot since I took this photo in July 2016, but it remains one of my favorite photos of the team to date. 

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FEBRUARY 2017 MEET-UP

This was the first meet-up after the inauguration. I missed the State of the Uterus, so this was the first big #bbatx event I photographed that was after the election (and when #bbatx fully turned into an act of resistance.) 

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BABESFEST 2017

I fell in love with so many artists during this showcase—Melat, Madame Ghandi, Anna Wise—and took a miracle portrait of Madame Khandi I still treasure to this day. 

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APRIL 2017 MEET-UP

There were so many epic performance at this meet-up and I finally got to see Chulita Vinyl Club DJ. The Sass N Struts dance team also put on a crazy, memorable performance. 

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YEAR TWO ANNIVERSARY

There was just so much joy at this fundraiser. The best part about being a photographer is capturing joy and I was swimming in it last May. 

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MEET HER HANDS SERIES

I had the pleasure of photographing multiple installations of this series, and I've got to admit it's one of my favorite things #BBATX does—allow artists to sit down with us regular folks and talk about how they make their art. 

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BABESFEST 2017

Best photo I've probably ever taken of some of the best women I've ever met—shout out to FemBeat and Counter Balance ATX. 

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CRAFTHER MARKET 2017

Y'all. There were so many dogs out at this one. And it was my last community event before moving to New York. I had so many feelings. 

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THE KYM WHITEHEAD MEET-UP

Kym will probably hate the title of this card (hi, Kym!) but anyone who attended this meet-up will tell you that her announcement was #iconic. 

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POWER TO THE PEOPLE RESIDENCY

Right now, I'm the resident photographer at #bbatx's monthly artist residency at Native Hostels. If you haven't made it out to one of these yet, lemme just tell ya—you do not want to miss another of these cleansing soul trains. 

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FIRST EVER ARTIST DINNER

#bbatx hosted this badass dinner to connect local artists to national artists and boy, oh boy, it convinced me that Maureen should design events forever and ever (including my future wedding tbh). 

That's all for now. Kind of wild that so much has been done and accomplished in just these three short (yet super long) years. I cannot wait to see what BossBabesATX has in store next—and with your support, it could be BIG.