We had the good fortune of connecting with Jace Hudgens and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jace, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am frequently asked where I am from, I am sure it is mostly because of my quirky country accent or the big Texas hair. I am from the small town of Burleson Texas just south of Fort Worth. I was born and raised here and have watched this once considered small town blossom into a thriving suburb of Fort Worth. I attended Kerr Middle School and while I was there I began to realize that I am not your average Burleson student. I came to the realization that I was a young gay man, in a small conservative town. The daily struggles and battles that I had to face were those that many will never understand unless they have been in my shoes. My role model that got me through some of these very tough days was the great Dolly Parton. I learned to always keep my head up and continue smiling. Dolly taught me that you can’t force people to understand why you may be different. But one thing I can say is her music is definitely what encouraged me to get through this time period in my life. It was not all bad though necessarily, I am quite thankful to be from a small suburb in Texas… “Why?” Many people may ask. Being from a small town has provided me the opportunity to connect with influential people in the community much easier. Doing so, I have now acquired my own radio show on Joco Community Radio that streams via TuneIn, Facebook, Youtube, and Apple every Monday night at 8pm CST. Having this radio show has given me a great platform in the community, I feel as if I have now become a voice for the LGBTQ+ Community in the rural area of Johnson County. Growing up here has made me realize that there isn’t much of an opportunity for young people to learn about those that are different. I recall turning eighteen years old and the next day I got in my car and drove to Fort Worth so I could see a drag show for the first time. I was eager to learn about the gay community and what all it stands for. During that small commute I recall wondering why Burleson and the surrounding areas do not really have anything for those that are different like me. Now that I have been blessed with the radio show I strive to educate those that may not completely understand why we are different, I feel as if I have an obligation now to stand up for the young students, including the men and women that fear being true to themselves and their sexuality. As long as I continue with my career I will do my best to provide an outreach for the LGBTQ+ Community. I feel not only more connected with the minority in my area, I even feel more connected to those that would be considered the “normal” person. Men and women of all ages straight, gay, and even trans-sexual have reached out to me, and I have connected with each and everyone of them in a very special way. So what does entrepreneurship mean to me? I would say, it is not always about how much money you make, or how many viewers you have, or really even the success that comes along with it. In my eyes, as long as I have made at least one person in my community feel safer, more accepted, and most importantly I have made them smile then I have succeeded in my own special way.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have a full time career at a high end home design showroom in the Dallas Design District. This path has given me the opportunity to engage and work with many different people throughout the DFW Metroplex. We do projects on any scale, large or small. The showroom I am currently at has been nothing but supportive of me and my extra entrepreneurial activities that I engage in, such as my Radio Show. I feel as if I am where I am today because of those that I choose to surround myself with, my father always told me growing up “you are who you hangout with”, I took this to heart. I believe if you want to be a successful entrepreneur you must surround yourself with those people that you strive to be like, but don’t ever leave the ones that you love behind along your journey. They are going to be the fuel that helps get you to where you deserve to be. It is not always an easy journey, I have gone through very tough breakups due to me wanting to pursue a larger platform to accomplish something bigger and better. This is one of the toughest journeys I think one may ever go through. One of the most valuable quotes that I live by on a daily is “Make new friends keep the old, one is silver and one is gold”. My goal is to be a voice for the LGBTQ+ Community is my area, I want to provide a voice for those in more rural communities and engage with them in special ways that brings everyone together.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Wow, the metroplex has so much to offer. Fort Worth has to be my favorite though by far, because of the strong sense of culture. The first place I would take any friend of mine is to the newly-built, iconic Hotel Drover. The food is amazing and the service is phenomenal, all while embracing the authentic Texas culture. Another hot spot that I enjoy is The Urban Cowboy Saloon, they always are hosting hilarious drag shows. If you ever want to step out of your comfort zone, or just get out and be yourself in a judgement free zone right in the heart of Fort Worth, The Urban Cowboy Saloon is always a great place to go on a Friday night. Now on the Dallas side of things I like to step my game up quite a bit on that side of town. My favorite place to eat is Bistro 31 in Highland Park Village. If you ever want to feel like a million bucks (or that you’re drowning in debt) Highland Park Village is an absolute blast for shopping and fine dining.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to shine a very bright light on the owner of the Radio Show, Tiffany Carlen Hurd. She has been one of my biggest supporters. Tiffany, is the reason I have been able to take advanatge of the many opportunities such as this one that I have been blessed with. She has a heart that is pure gold, I recall many times arriving to the studio and seeing Tiffany in the conference room talking to people of various different races, genders, and sexual orientations and she does not have a hateful bone in her body. Tiffany is one that I know I can always count on no matter what. Everyone needs an influential woman in their life that is as beautiful, bold, and smart as Tiffany Carlen Hurd.

Website: https://jococommunityradio.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Jacehudgens/

Facebook: @livejaceandwhitney

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