IMsBB 2017 Contestant: Bootblack Nona - The Leather Journal

IMsBB 2017 Contestant: Bootblack Nona


Name: Bootblack Nona

Title: SA Bootblack 2017

City/Country: Cape Town - South Africa

Assist with organising SA Leather social events and the annual leather contest.

Favourite Leather item: My favourite piece of leather is my SA Bootblack South Africa Stole! (Sponsored by Shane Hutchinson of Abraided Leather) The first of its kind to be in South Africa.

Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor (feel free to include a copy of their logo and a url to their website) and your involvement with them in 100 words or less.    I am sponsored by SA Leather South Africa. We are small but powerful group of leather people who are dedicated to the continuous growth in our diversity. We regularly hold workshops so we can educate each other and believe in supporting each other completely. We uphold our constitution with the highest regard and we do our best to give back to the NPOs we support.

My involvement in SA Leather is being part of the committee, to assist with the organising of our contest and being the first bootblack for SA Leather it will be important for me to build a solid foundation for future bootblacks within SA Leather South Africa.



Tell me about your favorite charity.    My favourite charity is Childhood Cancer Foundation SA - CHOC which supports children who have cancer. My connection with this organisation is from when my sister was diagnosed with a rare tumour; CHOC stepped in to assist us. They were there if we needed emotional support or guidance in any way. During the two years that my sister had treatment I saw how CHOC was there for many families at time when things seemed uncertain.

Annually there is a tattoo-a-thon that I participate in   and this fundraising effort helps to keep Childhood Cancer Foundation SA going so that they can continue to help families. They also see it as a chance to also break the stereotypical view about people with tattoos.


Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service.    Community service is important because giving back to your community without expecting something back in return helps you grow as a person. I find it up lifting knowing that I have done the right thing by assisting at an event or people in need. I truly believe that the more you give to the community; the more you will get back in ways that you don’t expect.  


What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?    It’s not only the love of wearing leather, playing in leather and looking after leather that makes me a bootblack but it’s my dedication to the community, being involved in a fundraiser for a charity and to strive to be supportive of the people within community that makes me a bootblack.


I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge with fellow SA Leather members and when I hear from the people attending my workshops say that they can clearly see my passion for bootblacking; it makes me realise that this is my path. They have mentioned a seen a change in me it makes me realise that the change that I have felt myself is showing in my approach to being part of a community. That is what makes me a leather woman/bootblack.


Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?    My favourite leather woman...only one? There are a few that come to mind; Leslie J. Anderson, Dara, Patty, Lamalani, Sarge but for me its Sandy ‘Mama’ Reinhardt.  Mama’s family started over 18 years ago in Phoenix where a tradition was created after a drag queen said the phrase ‘you must be my mama” It was soon after that Mama Reinhardt started pinning gold badges to people who she noticed within the Leather and LGBTI community.

She recognizes people who give and do a lot for the community whether it’s with volunteer or charity work.  I think it’s wonderful that someone like Mama is out there that recognize the efforts of people who give selflessly to their communities. There are over 2000 of Mama’s babies out there and in South Africa Mama Reinhardt has 7 family members. I am proud to say that I am Mama’s SA Rainbow.


What do you feel is the most dangerous mis-information passed through traditional & social media affecting our community today, and how would you combat it should the opportunity arise?    Most people that I have spoken to about the leather community think that we are simply a bunch of weird abusive freaks. People do not understand how diverse sexuality and gender identity can be because of religious, conservative views or they have not been educated about our community. This does have an influence how the media presents our community to the world because they don’t understand.

I think that social media allows people to discuss their views but a person’s perspective can sometimes be twisted by emotions and assumptions; not by facts which snowballs into something else completely.

I think that we should engage and invite people to attend workshops to ask the questions, to address the misunderstandings and concerns they may have. Hopefully when people leave these workshops that they will understand the people who are involved in the leather community despite their beliefs.


In 100 words or less what will you do as IMsL or IMsBB to promote your title?    The way I would promote the IMsBB title would be to attend events within a diverse group of organisations within South Africa; to educate them about the leather/bootblack community and give people a chance to ask questions about its all about. I would like to go to countries where they don’t have a bootblack in their clubs and bars to share my journey. I would like to get people to enthusiastic about leather care and start their journey as a bootblack like Leslie Anderson did for me.  Mentorship would be a good way to encourage that process even more.


What do you say to those who think there are too many titles and that it has diluted the meaning of holding a title?    Holding a title is important to the community at large because not only does the title holder celebrate the existence & being proud to be part of the leather community but it should show a commitment and a will to want to do something positive for the community.  To me that is what having a title is about! Doing something positive whether its holding a workshop, a Q & A session, giving your time to charity or someone in need. It could bring people together and a title holder is a leader who can start something that could change a point of view or a life.


About Author

Vonn Tramel has been a kinky "friday night femme" since she was 17.  She found the Leather community in 2007 and began her Leather Journey in 2008 after attending a Cigar Play Class in Long Beach, CA at Pistons Bar. A meeting with Dave Rhodes in May of 2008, changed her path for better or worse when she filmed and photographed the 2008 West Coast Olympus Contest, then International Olympus in Chicago that year....the rest they say is her-story. 

Edit: In 2012 she was approached by Dave to join The Leather Journal as it's Webmaster with business partner Bryan Teague.

Most misspelled word: Leahter (Sad but true)