Though soon-to-be-wed couple Kelly Frye and Nick Campbell are the definition of jet-setters—traveling all around the globe, from filming in New Orleans, living it up in Hollywood or hopping across the pond to Campbell’s English hometown—the pair has put down roots in Austin.
The “Secrets of Sulphur Springs” actress and international fine art consultant Campbell will tie the knot this week in Houston, Frye’s hometown, officially starting their new life together in the Lone Star State. Though the couple is looking to buy their own land in Austin, they are currently renting a home in the Travis Heights neighborhood while they navigate the red-hot real estate sphere.
Between Frye’s mystery character in “Hypnotic,” which was filmed in Austin with Ben Affleck, and Campbell’s Austin-based art advisory company making a case for buying local art, the new residents have already made a splash in the city.
So what made this international power couple want to make Austin a home base?
Frye: It’s the Hill Country drives and artistic freedom
Frye has been living in Austin on and off since 2018, the same year she met Campbell, but ever since the pandemic began and auditions went virtual, she’s been able to spend more time in her home state.
While she’s here, Frye’s inner Texan comes out as she explores the many food options on South Congress and greater Hill Country towns like Lockhart for some Black’s Barbecue or Fredericksburg for antiquing and wineries. Having spent lots of time in Austin, Los Angeles and New Orleans, Frye likes to pride herself on her tour guide abilities.
“I like getting in there and finding my favorite spots, discovering a city, discovering the neat things that it has to offer, no lenses,” Frye said.
Frye said she is fortunate to have been able to keep up her travels despite the pandemic but since relocating to Austin, the local opportunities have come to her: Frye will star alongside Affleck and Alicia Braga in Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming feature, “Hypnotic.”
Frye said landing a Rodriguez film was one of her top five career goals—so important, in fact, that she left a vacation in Greece less than 24 hours in for the chance to be booked and dyed her signature red hair blonde.
Frye starred alongside Affleck in the new movie, which famously filmed in downtown Austin September-November. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
“('Hypnotic' was) a total dream come true—I was pinching myself,” Frye said. “So traveling 37 hours and dyeing my hair blonde was a big moment, but so worth it. (Rodriguez) is a true creative. The people he works with are like extensions of himself as a creative, which is an amazing thing to watch.”
Frye wouldn’t release many details about her character other than she’s “a reveal” and a “boss ‘b,’” but the film could be in theaters as early as this summer.
Campbell: Austin is “on the brink of something exciting.”
Much newer to town than his fiancée, English-born Campbell said he is still learning the local ropes having only been in Austin for a few weeks but is excited to be part of the city’s growth spurt.
“This established, but small, very vibrant, very exciting city is going through this sort of unprecedented state of flux in a very positive way,” Campbell said. “It just seems like it's a city that's on the brink of something very exciting, so we wanted to be a part of that.”
Campbell comes bearing a new perspective in the art collection industry—he launched Narcissus Arts, an art consulting firm specializing in art under $14,000, or £10,000, in 2010 with the intent of bringing fine art to the masses. Campbell then launched Campbell Art Advisory, based in Austin and Los Angeles, catering to all price brackets in 2018.
“It seemed to me that there was this growing number of friends that had, as it were, smaller resources to put into art,” Campbell said. “There was obviously an incredible amount of supply out there but one just needed to know where to look.”
Campbell is leveraging his new home base by connecting Texan artists Adrian Armstrong, Shaun O'Dell and Kyle Steed to buyers who can support their endeavors.
“I think that the talent is here, that's very obvious, and they need to be supported,” Campbell said. “There are people here who are telling interesting stories that are very talented at telling those stories, and they need to have a light shone on them and should be celebrated.”
Reflecting both Frye’s love of Houston and Campbell’s art profession, the pair plan to get married in the Rothko Chapel this week. They plan on continuing to split their time between here and L.A., so don’t be surprised if you spot the pair on South Congress.
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Emmy Amash has always been the friend that people would go to with questions about sex, birth control and women’s health issues. It’s what called her to work as a birth doula and go to nursing school.
But during rotations around Austin, she’s noticed a shift in the trust between patients and healthcare providers, and it’s been happening under Texas’ Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
“What I've seen working in the emergency room with women who are coming in experiencing complications after or during a miscarriage is a lot of what feels to me like mistrust and hesitancy to be sharing complete histories of what's going on,” Amash said.
Over the last 10 months, SB 8 has had a chilling effect on healthcare workers and patients that’s endangering people’s lives, says a new study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project in the New England Journal of Medicine. It also offers a glimpse at how the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—which is expected to outlaw or restrict abortion in almost half of the states—will make the risks to patients more common.
The study shared findings based on interviews with Texas clinicians and 20 people who had medically complex pregnancies and sought care under SB 8. The law—which bans abortion before many even know that they are pregnant—is aimed at those providing abortion care. But researchers say that, to the detriment of patients, it has an effect on other health care workers.
For example, a woman who took part in the study reported receiving a fetal diagnosis of trisomy 18, a rare condition lacking a cure that causes most babies to die before they are born. But the woman’s physician didn’t inform her about termination options.
“When you already have received news like that and can barely function, the thought of then having to do your own investigating to determine where to get this medical care and to arrange going out of state feels additionally overwhelming,” the woman said.
On the health provider side, Amash understands the frustration and secrecy of patients, citing Lizelle Herrera’s case as an example of the kind of situation patients may worry about running into.
Herrera, a 26-year-old in the Rio Grande Valley, was arrested on a murder charge in April for a self-induced abortion. She was held in jail for three days on a $500,000 bond until a local district attorney dropped the case.
🚨Breaking News!!!🚨 Charges are being dismissed for Lizelle Herrera!!! #Justice4Lizellepic.twitter.com/yG15cw74Oi
— Frontera Fund (@LaFronteraFund) April 10, 2022
But there could be more instances like Herrera’s, and Amash talked about what it’s been like to continue working amid added restrictions on abortion rights. It’ll only continue given that Texas and a dozen other states have a trigger law making abortion illegal after the repeal of Roe v. Wade. In Texas; it’ll go into effect within 30 days.
“I feel like I've been holding my breath,” Amash said. She went on to describe “feeling powerless to this larger system that's making these choices that's so far removed from the actual lives of individuals.”
But local officials are taking action in light of the high court's decision. Austin City Council will hold a special meeting the week of July 18 on a resolution aimed at decriminalizing abortion. Submitted by council member Jose "Chito" Vela, it would direct the police department to make criminal enforcement, arrest and investigation of abortions its lowest priority. But for Central Texans, it may only allow for a patchwork system in which only abortions within the city escape criminalization.
“That's nice, and also, it's just not enough,” Amash said. “Not enough for how big Texas is for us to have one little area. There's a lot of people here that need care and aren't going to have access to it.”
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