Nevena Christi says she wants to start a girl gang.
The bosslady at El Paso-based Rocketbuster Boots, 115 Anthony St., is building a community of women, and it’s all centered on a pair of cowgirl boots featuring former-congressman turned presidential-hopeful Beto O’Rourke’s likeness.
“It really is the Sisterhood of the Traveling Beto Boots,” Christi says.
In September 2018, Christi was inspired to create a pair of boots featuring an image of O’Rourke after seeing a print that El Paso artist Partick Galbadon had made during O’Rourke’s unsuccessful Senate run.
“So I was thinking well, what if it was like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?” Christi says, referring the popular movie about a group of women who share a pair of jeans.
Christi says that Rocketbuster staff regularly borrow sample boots to wear, regardless of size. She wanted to apply the same principle to the Beto boots.
“So we thought we could make a pair of Beto boots that any woman could check out like a library book if she was a size 7 to an 8 ½ with the right insoles, and wear them out,” she says.
Christi put out a call to Rocketbuster’s large social media following for women to join the sisterhood and “people were just thrilled with the idea.”
Monica Alvillar, the artist’s wife, was the first woman to join the sisterhood. She debuted the boots in Los Angeles at a fundraising event for O’Rourke’s campaign hosted by Hollywood director Judd Appatow, where she says “people loved them.”
“It is absolutely the funnest thing,” Alvillar says. “Not only were we supporting Beto in a Senate race, but we were also supporting a local artist, as well as Nevena.”
Alvillar then sent the boots directly to Austin, where El Pasoan Michelle Cummings wore them to the Willie for Beto for Texas concert put on by Willie Nelson.
Cummings says that part of the fun of wearing the boots is the attention they grab. She says while wearing them, people were constantly asking to take pictures with her and the boots.
“The boots had a character of their own,” she says.
El Pasoan Teresa Echandi wore the boots at O’Rourke’s 2018 Texas Senate election watch party and O’Rourke’s El Paso presidential campaign kickoff on March 31st.
“I think we are a very proud group of ladies. We wear (the boots) very proudly,” Echandi says.
Women who join the sisterhood are asked to post their adventures with the boots to Instagram for others to see using #BetoBoots.
During O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate run, the boots became so popular that they required their own calendar. Women wore them to concerts like the Austin City Limits festival and the San Antonio Jazz Fest. They attended parties, fundraisers, events around El Paso and they even traveled as far as New York.
“I think it’s fun that these boots have a story. That they follow different people through their travels,” Cummings says.
If Christi had enough time, she would like to make many more pairs of the boots to have several women wear them at once.
“You know I would love to make twelve pairs of Beto boots and we can have a girl gang,” she says.
Many members of the sisterhood agree that they would have joined, even if the boots had nothing to do with O’Rourke, because the community that they have forged has been so special.
“The sisterhood is very strong. I still talk to several of the girls who have worn the Beto boots,” she says. “It was just such a fun thing to do and the people we met along the way were amazing.”
Now, the boots’ adventures will continue as O’Rourke carries out his presidential run.
But, Christi is looking beyond 2020. She says she hopes to one day create what she calls “the perfect pair of party boots” that would be shared in the same way the Beto boots have been and carry on the sisterhood.
“I love meeting all these strong women who really want to put (the boots) on and go out there and have fun. And they love the effect of what happens when they’re wearing them,” Christi says.
To find out how to join the Sisterhood of the Traveling Beto Boots, check out Rocketbuster’s Facebook page.