The year was 2013 and Nicole Camacho and Reina Hohener were about to become inseparable. They just didn’t know it yet.
Both worked at the now-shuttered Coterie clothing store, sandwiched between the Griffin and Beauty Bar Downtown. After the East Fremont venture closed, Camacho bought a trailer and transformed it into a mobile clothing and jewelry boutique.
“From Day One the community supported it,” Camacho says. From renovating the trailer to helping with the electrical wiring and even acquiring funding, getting Burnt Boutique off the ground was a Vegas-wide effort.
At Life Is Beautiful’s 2016 edition, Camacho and Hohener found a kindred spirit in the Bunkhouse Saloon, where they set up shop just outside the festival’s footprint. The Burnt Boutique has called the Bunkhouse lawn home ever since.
“They’re so good to us,” Camacho says of the Downtown bar and music venue. “All the bartenders shop here,” Hohener says. “It’s almost like we work there.”
They kind of do. Casually referred to as the “Burnt Babes,” Camacho and Hohener landed a Monday-night gig at the Bunkhouse, taking over the saloon for Burnt Karaoke every week.
“Karaoke is my therapy,” says Camacho, who attended karaoke at the Bunkhouse long before she and Hohener began hosting their night there. “It was our girl time,” Hohener adds.
Now, Burnt Karaoke has a regular crowd, which turns up to sing with the Burnt babes weekly. Some nights, folks are still singing when the sun comes up.
“I think we’ve been doing it a whole year, bro!” Hohener exclaims, almost jumping from her seated position on the counter inside the Burnt Boutique trailer.
But that year hasn’t been without setbacks. In June, someone broke into the trailer, forcing the shop to close temporarily. The store has “hibernated” most of the winter, allowing the duo to focus on running karaoke.
Hohener and Camacho have an ever-growing list of songs they love to sing—Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” is definitely one of them—and they have some tips if you’re new to the stage. “Have fun and be nice,” Hohener says. “Even if it sucks, people will respect you more because you f*cking stuck to it and tried.”
That chill vibe reflects the Burnt Babes’ original ethos. “We were burnt out on doing things everyone else’s way,” Camacho says of how they got their name. So they carved out their own path instead, and built a lasting friendship in the process.
“I mean,” Hohener says, “We’re basically soul sisters.”
BURNT KARAOKE Mondays, 10 p.m., free. Bunkhouse Saloon, 702-982-1764.