subMissAnn, North American Pony/Trainer 2009 Los Angeles, CA
Mel, Ms Alameda County Leather 2013 Sacramento, Ca Sponsors: Alameda County Leather Corp, The Bolt Bar Sacramento, ca Leather Masters
Lydia Joie Divine, Ms Leather Sydney 2013/2014 Sydney, Australia Sponsors: No Trees Aquila, Safari Lee Jewellery, Divine Bespoke
Jenniffer Allen, Ms Iowa Leather 2014 Des Moines, Iowa Sponsors: Blazing Saddles, Liberty Gifts
lynn, Great Lakes Ms Leather Pride 2013 Indianapolis, In. Sponsors: Great Lakes Leather Alliance (GLLA)
Patty, Ms Leather Toronto 2014 Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Eh Sponsors: Heart of the Flag Federation; Northbound Leather; The Black Eagle Toronto
Flossie, Ms Southeast LeatherFest 2013 Columbia SC 3 IMsL Sponsors: Bulldog Custom Leathers
Nerine, Oakland, Ca Ms San Francisco Leather 2012 Sponsors: Ms San Francisco Leather
International Ms BootBlack Contestants:
VT-TLJ: Is your contestant run sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization?
Patty: I am honored to have three amazing sponsors!
Heart of the Flag Federation Inc. (HOTFF), of which I am a founding member, produces a variety of leather, fundraising and educational events. http://hotfftoronto.com/
Northbound Leather is a Canadian owned and operated leather/fetish business. I was Ms Northbound Leather 2013 and they have continued their generous sponsorship of me as Ms Leather Toronto 2014. http://hotfftoronto.com/
The Black Eagle Toronto has been my “home” for almost a decade. Whether I’ve been running women and trans* events, hosting fundraisers or just being social, the Black Eagle family has been an amazing support. http://blackeagletoronto.com/
VT-TLJ: Tell me about your favorite charity.
Patty: I have spent my title year promoting and raising funds for an incredible charity, The Rainbow Railroad (www.rainbowrailroad.ca). In the spirit of and with homage to the Underground Railroad, the mission of the Rainbow Railroad is to help lgbt people as they seek safe haven from state enabled violence, murder or persecution.
You are formally invited to enjoy fun and debauchery in the corn fields of Iowa October 4-6, 2013 in the form of the 25th Annual Iowa Leather Weekend. The titles to be awarded during the weekend will be Mr. Iowa Leather and for the first time, Ms Iowa Leather. Unlike most contests that combine the contests into one day, Iowa Leather will host the Ms Iowa Leather competition on Friday, October 4 and the Mr. Iowa Leather contest on Saturday Oct 5. A continuing tradition is the partnership with Le Chateau Exotique as the official Leather vender and Liberty Gifts as the official lube and toys vendor.
Judges for the Ms Iowa Leather contest will include Elena Franco, owner/producer Heart of America Leather Weekend, & Producer Kink-U Kansas City; Sarha, International Ms Leather 2013; Mike Pagano, cofounder of Titans of the Midwest and Mr. Iowa Leather 2011; His Most Imperial Majesty, Matthew ‘Wait for it’ Aspire, Emperor for Reign XX of the Imperial Court of Iowa; and Her Most Imperial Majesty Muffy Rosenberg, Empress for Reign XX of the Imperial Court of Iowa. Mark Turnage, Mr. Iowa Leather 2013, will be MC for the evening and Pup Itus will be the tally master.
The Blazing Saddle will be the host for the 25th anniversary of the Mr. Iowa Leather contest. The winner of this contest will go on to represent Iowa at International Mister Leather XXXVI competition in Chicago, IL May 2014. The panel of judges for this year's MIAL contest will be Chad Neil, co-founder KC boys of Leather, Chester Munroe, former Mr. Chicago leather, Sir Papa Bear, Great Lakes Leather Sir 2013, Jesse Driscoll, Mr. Midwest Rubber 2013, former Mr. Blazing Saddle, executive board member Titans of the Midwest, and Mr. Friendly - Team Iowa co-founder, and Mark Turnage, Mr. Iowa Leather 2013 and Top 20 IML XXXV contestant. The emcee will be David Watt, founder of the Mr. Friendly program and former Mr. Michigan Leather. The tally master will be Pup Itus and the den daddy for the evening is John Jack Trujillo.
A Victory Brunch will be held on Sunday, October 6 at the Blazing Saddle at noon. The Iowa Leather travel fund will be the beneficiary for the Victory Beer Bust fundraiser held at the Blazing Saddle at 2 PM.
Anyone interested in competing should contact any Iowa Leather staff member or former title holder for the application. Applications may also be downloaded from the Blazing Saddle website.
The contestants for International Ms Leather 2016 and International Ms Bootblack 2016 were announced recently. IMsL and IMsBB will be held in San Jose, CA the weekend of April 14-17.
Following a terrific year with each of their titles, IMsL 2015 Sarge and IMsBB 2015 slave tabitha arie will pass their torches to one from each group below.
International Ms Leather and International Ms. Bootblack 2016 Contestants
Aurora Lee’s own rags to Leathers story brings her from small-town Missouri girl to Twin Cities Metropolitan Leather Woman. She co-founded the Twin Cities girls of Leather as one of the several ways she focuses on empowering those who identify as Female and Leather. Involved in several clubs, Aurora is frequently found volunteering for events when she’s not tied up getting flogged. Suffice to say when she’s not giving, she’s certainly receiving. She’s well known for her Leather working, fundraising, and photography skills that she frequently lends in service to her local community
LasciviousJane is a power-femme switch, kinky burlesqueer, and sex educator. In addition to being perpetually covered in leather and glitter (a bootblack’s worst nightmare), in 2015, she became the first Ms Philadelphia Leather in a decade. She is the Artistic Director of the multi-award-winning Liberty City Kings Drag and Burlesque and sits on the Board of Directors of The Diabolique Foundation, which produces Philadelphia’s largest charity fetish ball. She is also a charter member of Queer Leather Alliance. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching the art of striptease, getting dirty in her garden, and community organizing.
Smart, sassy, powerful, present, fierce and Femme… Miss BEEhave is Sydney (Australia’s) Ms Leather for 2015. Also an integral part of Sydney Femme Guild, she works toward building Leather Femme visibility in the broader community. She has co-taught a fisting workshop (No Holes Barred) in conjunction with Sydney Leather Pride, and has also conducted joint events with GLBTI groups to build community partnerships.
Leather is Ms BEEHave’s presence, her power, her strengths and her loves, embodied as an ever-evolving outside skin. Her belief is that the leather family holds a beautiful space where identity, expression and love are never questioned.
slavegirl marion, an attorney by trade, began following the BDSM path in 2005, and Leather in 2007. She is an active member of several Leather clubs and is a volunteer at Xpressions Dungeon in Tulsa. She has been a collared service slave to Master Malik since May 3, 2014, and enjoys serving him. She is focused on serving the community, working to help her kinky community grow, become well educated, and to ensure that there are safe and comfortable play spaces available. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, Tom, children, and grandchildren.
Angel began to embrace her whole self through striving to be beyond the binary. With a teacher’s heart she walks her path ever growing and learning. She is a multi-faceted edge player and believes in exploring beyond labels when it comes to play, boots, and love. There are many ways to love and be loved. She uses Bootblacking to support her community, opening dialogues about leather, and collecting history. She has been honored with the titles of Ms. Great Plains Olympus Leather 2009 and 2010 and Southwest Bootblack 2014. Her devotion for service shines through in all she does.
Meghan is proud to represent her region as Great Lakes Bootblack 2015. Since 2012 she’s been active in her local Kink and Leather communities, blacking regularly at The Barracks, ReMix and fundraisers throughout her region. At home, Meghan runs a Boot Lab for new and existing bootblacks in the area. She also serves as Treasurer for Mr. Friendly: Team Louisville.
Meghan seeks to create an experience in her chair that not only honors and worships your Leather, but also your journey. Bootblacking gives her the space to define her ideas of sexual expression and spirituality in ways that resonate deeply.
While reading fanfiction Shelly stumbled upon a story involving a D/S couple and identified with the submissive. She was intrigued! She needed to get started immediately! She found The Threshold Society. She dove in by playing and volunteering. Being of service to her local community was not enough, so she found the Leather scene. Shelly began bootblacking in 2012 and fell madly in love with it. The science, the art and the service became the focal point of her Leather lifestyle. She is mentored by Q and owes Jayson DaBoi a big hug. She also enjoys puppies and purple.
The panel of judges which will make the decision on the IMsL 2016 torchbearer are Ms World Leather 2001 Annie Romano, American Leatherwoman 1994 Sarah Humble, International Ms Leather 2014 Patty, International Mr. Leather 2015 Patrick Smith, International Mr. Bootblack 2001 Paksen Burrell, past IMsL producer Sky Renfro and Metis Brown; the IMsBB 2016 judges will be International Ms Bootblack 2014 Dara Bryant, International Mr. Bootblack 2015 Bamm Bamm and International Ms Leather 1987 Judy Tallwing McCarthy.
The tally folks will be Women's Leather Legacy 2013 Tracy Wolf and TNG founder Boymeat.
To see the IMsL and IMsBB 2016 contestants' photos go to http://imsl.org/contest/2016-imslimsbb-contestants/
This year’s brunch will welcome Keynote presenter, Vi Johnson. Vi is a Leatherwoman, activist, author and archivist who embarked on her journey in the Leather/BDSM scene in the early 1970s. A strong advocate for the necessity of preserving Leather/fetish/erotic history, Johnson speaks and writes with a single-minded focus on the broad spectrum of issues that concern her and her community.
For registration information visit http://imsl.org/event/register-now/ There will not be any on-site registration. Registration closes on April 13.
Events where you'll find me:
IMsL every year forever!
Folsom Street Fair & Dore
Society of Janus events
My Vest is my best leather buddy! We go everywhere together. I recrafted it myself from a thrift store find and have loved it real hard over the years. It was my first and might always be my favorite leather.
Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? My run is sponsored by three amazing groups: Since I announced my intention to start a online sexuality forum, LeatherLand, I have had the pleasure of intercoursing with Rubber Women of San Francisco, Rough Cut Leather, and Wicked Grounds, all of whom provide our community with safe spaces to celebrate our sexuality and express our kinks freely. They each do this while improving leather awareness and providing instruction in skill sets to help kinksters cope in the world. I'm elated to work with them for years to come.
Tell me about your favorite charity. My favorite charity would have to be The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom which started in 1997 and helps members of sexual minorities with legal problems. As a law student, I know the importance of organizations which provide assistance on a judicial level. If you need help contact them at ncsfreedom.org
Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service. Volunteering for the community is how I got my start in leather. Believe it or not, I get freaked out in a crowd at times. Service is where I find peace. Knowing that I have a purpose has always been the cure for my anxiety. How do I feel about community service? I feel like it is vital for socialphobes and it makes the leather world go round!
What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack? Holding leather womanhood and bootblacking labels are ways I care for my self-esteem. I hold these labels dear because they make me feel pride and pride in oneself is key to my mental self-care.
Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why? Joan Jett is my favorite leather woman. She has supported our community since entering the scene in her early career. Her music provided me with a feeling of inclusion in the most lonely parts of my leatherwalk, like her I don't give a damn about my reputation. That song's video is a re-enactment of 23 record labels rejecting her first solo album and her subsequent rise to the top, similar to the many rejections I faced in my early leatherwalk and my subsequent inclusion into the leather scene through IMsL.
Current Title: N/A
City, State: Oakland, CA
Regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3)
International Ms Leather
Favorite Leather item in Q's arsenal of bar/fetish wear:
My Minx Licorice harness from Aslan Leather!
TLJ-VT: 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.
IMsL Contestant Q: Dark Odyssey was created in 2003 as a wholly unique experience, built to bring together sexuality, spirituality, education, and play in a fun, supportive, non-judgmental environment where fantasy becomes reality. Since that time, Dark Odyssey has become the home of top-notch play spaces, creative amenities, and inspiring events where people can have truly immersive experiences. I’ve worked had the pleasure of working on both the east and west coasts with Dark Odyssey in a variety of capacities...from bootblack coordinator, to workshop facilitator, to performer, to stunt fist.
President of the Salt Lake City girls of Leather
Executive assistant for Sin in the City
Founder of Meow Mixx- a queer womens bar night
Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about all your Sponsors (feel free to include a copy of their logos and a urls to their websites) and your involvement with them in 100 words or less. Denver Bound, where I first learned rope skills and found community. I later became one of their teachers
Black Boots- a local gay men's organization that has been supportive and encouraging to the local women's community and helped our group and others with event logistics, connections and support
President of the Salt Lake City girls of Leather- these ladies are my heart and keep me encouraged and energized
Utah Leaf and Leather- I am a board member and representative of the women's community within this group. This group pairs my love of cigars coupled with my love of the Leather community.
Tell me about your favorite charity. I truly love the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. They do amazing work in the constant battle for sexual freedom and tirelessly fight for human rights. The work they put in gives me the rights I have today and I am incredibly grateful for their sacrifices.
Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service. Community service is what creates the cohesion in a community. Some of my most precious memories have come from real work put in my myself and my community. It isn't always about teaching a class or being in front of an audience. Sometimes the events that create the bonds of a community are helping to landscape your community space or helping to build a library so those after you can have access to that knowledge. Community service builds strong communities.
What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack? Leather is about freedom. Freedom to express oneself authentically and without judgment. Leather is about honor. Honoring oneself and others, keeping our history close to our hearts while we forge on and create new experiences and traditions for ourselves. Leather is about integrity- about holding on to your own beliefs and values no matter what storms you may weather. Leather is about respect. Respect for my community, myself and for the beliefs and traditions of others. Finally, Leather is about sex. Embracing one's sexuality and allowing ourselves to find the deep, raw, animal passion that we have learned to bury and deny. As a leather girl, I hold all of these things dear. I hold my community and my chosen family close, knowing that I have the freedom to be myself whatever self that may be. I hold pride in the leather I wear and in the Leather I am
Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why? There are so many incredible women who have come before me and who walk with me.
If I had to pick, I would say Lolita Wolf. She is down to earth, open about her sexuality, clever and witty. She finds strength in submission and fights tirelessly for sexual freedom.
My own story mirrors hers in many ways with the road to discovering, being comfortable with, and embracing my sexuality. I am grateful for her openness, encouragement and volunteerism that supports this community.
Name: Aurora Lee
Current Title: Great Lakes Ms. Leather Pride 2015
City, State: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Website & (if any) regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3): I currently produce ‘Cigars and Leather: A Play Party for the Community,’ monthly socials for the Twin Cities girls of Leather, and a variety of Minnesota Leather Pride fundraisers.
Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear: I would have to say that my favorite item in my leather arsenal would have to be my Leather Hair Bows. They allow me to flag without having a back pocket.
Is your IMsL run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor: I am lucky to have overwhelming support from my home community and region. My main sponsor is Great Lakes Leather Alliance, producers of my current title: Great Lakes Ms. Leather Pride 2015. I have three supporting sponsors: Minnesota Leather Pride, Twin Cities Leather and Latte, and The Saloon. Minnesota Leather Pride awarded me the title of Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride 2015, and I currently serve on the board for MNLP. Twin Cities Leather and Latte is my current employer and the local Leather shop. The Saloon is my home bar for the fundraisers and events that I produce.
Oklahoma Ms. Leather 2016,
Leather and Rhinestones, Kink Weekend OKC.
My favorite item I have is my rhinestone corset.
Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? Rose Rock girls of Leather- They the producers of Oklahoma Ms. Leather. I have been active in the activities that RRgoL puts on. https://rrgol.org
Tell me about your favorite charity. My favorite charity is Team Friendly because of all the education they share to help remove the stigma of HIV testing and the stigma related to those living with HIV and/or their loved ones.
Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service. Community service makes me feel like I am doing something for someone or something greater than myself. It's a way for me to keep myself centered.
What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack? My heart is what makes me a Leather Woman. I have a desire to help support women in realizing there is a place for them and to trust in themselves in that place.
Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why? Sandy "Mama" Reinhardt- Because she is and has been so supportive and involved with individuals in the community suffering from HIV/AIDS. Everything she does for her community is done out of love and comes from her heart.
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? Traditional and social media allow bullying of children, teenagers and anyone "different" with very little consequence. When leaders are allowed to bully, everyone else believes it's ok. According to The Southern Poverty Law Center, 867 hate incidents occurred between the period of November 9th through November 18th 2016. Education and stricter laws is the only way that this can be decreased. I would educate and lobby for stricter punishments.
In 1998, Amy Marie Meek announced at International Ms Leather (IMsL), that there would be a new Title for the Leather Women’s Community, and in 1999 the Title for International Ms Bootblack was erected. Now 17 years later, a Documentary about the Journey of the female-identified Bootblack Titleholders has been summed up in a one film, High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack.
After IMsL’s 25th Anniversary, Jayson Daboi (a bootblack and IMsBB 2010 ) felt it was time to tell their story, the Journey of the International Ms Bootblacks. He wanted to tell the story of how significant it was to be a female-identified bootblack, and how they had impacted and made changes in the Leather Community...he and his good friend, L.e. LeGirl, another Leather Community Member, wanted to bring it into part of the 15 year IMsBB Celebration. They had come up with a proposal that included the Documentary. They weren’t sure how they were going to do it, but they began the process anyway. L.e. LeGirl dedicated herself to the fundraising, having Leather & Lace parties all across the country. They wanted to be able to have as many IMsBB as they could, interviewed on film, and their stories told. In late 2011, Jayson Daboi approached Christina Court about making the documentary, and she agreed to take on the endeavor which included, coordination, research and production of "The Bootblack Film". It became a second job, spanning just over 3 years to completion this year, 2015.
In 1998, Amy Marie Meek announced at International Ms Leather (IMsL), that there would be a new Title for the Leather Women’s Community, and in 1999 the Title for International Ms Bootblack was erected. Now 17 years later, a Documentary about the Journey of the female-identified Bootblack Titleholders has been summed up in a one film, High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack.
To understand what it takes to make this Documentary, you have to remember, film was in different formats, and at various places. There was dated film that reached all the way back to 1986 that was located in storage units in Berkeley. There were boxes of film in a basement in Omaha, Nebraska, and someone had to go get it. Christina had no idea of what some of the old film had on it, was it even salvageable, was it even useable...This Project also included getting as many IMsBB Bootblacks together and recording the stories of willing IMsBB Bootblacks. Then taking these various montages, and combining it all together into one film. With the help, coordination and assistance of various individuals, the dream making a documentary of International Ms Bootblacks became a reality, and High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack was born.
Last month, “High Shine” finally made it's debut at the Cinekink Festival in New York City. In attendance were many of the individuals that not only helped bring the film together, such as L.E. LeGirl, but also a few of the International Ms Bootblacks, including the first of the IMsBB Titleholders, Leslie Anderson, IMsBB 2011 kd aka Katie Diamond, who also designed the challenge coin that is used as the logo, and Pony, IMsBB 2009. Making a documentary is not an easy task, it takes tireless dedication, unwavering focus, a lot of help and a lot of time.
I decided to sit down with Christina Court to discuss what brought her to making this her first film, how she got through it, and a few insights into the process and just what it took to make this Documentary.
Q: Why did you make this particular Documentary on Female Bootblacks, or what inspired you to make this particular Documentary?
The better question is who inspired me to make a documentary about female-identified bootblacks...and that would be IMsBB 2010 Jayson DaBoi and IMsBB 2009 Pony.
In 2011-2012, I assisted then-IMsL owner Glenda Rider and the folks at Kink Academy with some of the storyboarding aspects of Sisterhood of the Sash, a film short that profiled the International Ms Leather Titleholders. I came into the project toward the very end, as they were making a push toward meeting the CineKink 2012 deadline. I loved working on the film project and working with Graydancer, who was the film's editor. After CineKink 2012, Glenda began to talk about the IMsBB Documentary that L.E. LeGirl and Jayson DaBoi proposed to her as part of a larger IMsBB XV Celebration. I agreed to help with the research/directing/storyboarding aspects of the film. It was at the GLLA (Great Lakes Leather Alliance) Weekend that I sat with Jayson DaBoi and smoked cigars until 4am, and agreed to take on the project.
Q: I would like for you to shed some light on how hard it was to make this Documentary...and what are some of the things you had to do in putting this story together?
I started doing the research for this film in August 2011. I live less than 15 minutes away from Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M), which is an exceptional advantage to me as a researcher. From 2011 through August 2013, I was also serving on the IMsL staff as the Historian and Archivist. Holding this role in tandem helped simply because it was my "job" to track down lost and rare IMsL organization materials...and I still have some "on loan" media materials that I utilized in the High Shine film that, within the next two years, will also end up at LA&M for future researchers and scholars. I spent much of my "free time" seeking out materials, converting footage from antiquated media sources.
Then on to the interviews of the IMsBB Alumni. Most people don't realize that, to prepare for a massive, six-person film crew, one-time film shoot like we did at IMsL 2013 requires a heap of planning and organization and knowledge of the subject's backgrounds. Nine of the IMsBB alumni were in attendance, and I needed to know a bit of each of their stories, what their title year looked like, all before we put a camera on them or set foot in the IMsL 2013 hotel. Much of this information was buried within unconverted VHS tapes or without a centralized depository of images, articles, etc., it becomes a wild and challenging mystery.
I've read every single piece all the way down to the grocery lists scribbled on scratch paper. I have watched every IMsL contest I could locate. In order to utilize old footage, which was mostly stored on VHS and mini discs, I needed to convert everything and do some sound and image editing before even considering whether or not they were "usable" in the High Shine film. These media conversions alone have taken hours upon hours, and I did them at night and on weekends when I wasn't working my full-time professional job. On average, since late 2011, I've worked between 30-40 hours a week on something related to IMsL or IMsBB history…
Q: Are there particular moments or people in the film that you feel we should really pay attention to in the Documentary?
I think it all depends on the motivation that brings a person to watch the film--each person walks away learning something "new," even if they've been in the Leather Community a long while or just trying to understand what some of this "Leather stuff" is about.
What strikes me the most about the International Ms Bootblack (IMsBB) and female-identified Bootblack "story" is how those who hear the calling to be a Bootblack work and support one another, and I am often stunned and humbled by just how close knit the Leather community Bootblacks are with one another. On a different, level, I find that the stories that the IMsBB’s tell about busting through barriers in the gay male Leather community to be inspiring and empowering...and the changes that have happened in terms of female accessibility to Leather space has been fast and furious over the past 15 years.
The first International Ms Leather Leslie Anderson (IMsBB 1999) and I have worked closely together over the years on the High Shine film and within the Leather Archives & Museum's Leather Preservation & Conservation Project. In watching her work, I see the amount of research needed to keep our Leather alive--and not just research about leathers, but about so many aspects of the Leather Community. Loving Leather also requires someone to learn their Leather history, and Leslie embodies this.
Q: Was there anything in particular that you personally learnt about Bootblacking?
While making this film, I learned so much from delving so deep into Bootblack history and bootblacking. What's most striking to me was that I quickly learned that I couldn't separate the art and act of bootblacking from the Bootblack her/him/hirself. While there are some basic techniques, some standardized tools and beloved products, Bootblacks don't do everything the same. In fact, more than one person I interviewed said, "Ask 10 Bootblacks a question, and you'll get 20 answers in reply."
Q: And in making this Documentary, how has doing this changed you, if it has?
First, let me say this: I absolutely loved having the honor of interviewing the IMsBBs and talking with so many Bootblacks. Bootblacks give in amazing ways. Interviewing them and then reviewing, and spending so much time with the footage containing their stories of joys and sorrows has filled me in ways that are nothing less than spiritual. I will always be grateful for those whom we interviewed, and those having the courage to be so vulnerable and open to me and my team.
Trust me: it's not easy working a full time job, then coming home to try and work on a film that's financially breaking you... I think it's also important to be very honest about this experience. Since 2011, I have gained 70 pounds from sitting at my professional management job, then going home and sitting and working on editing and media conversions until 1am nightly. My back went out on me in August 2014, and I ended up bedridden for almost two weeks. I took unpaid leave of absence from work specifically to get through a particularly research-heavy section of the film between 2013 and 2014. It is exceptionally hard to try and work through rich and empowering footage, all the while bill collectors call. In essence, this film has made me "Leather Strong".
Q: Why did you choose Cinekink as your first place to debut the Documentary?
CineKink was the "obvious" choice for debuting High Shine for two specific reasons. It was where the first film project upon which I worked, Sisterhood of the Sash, debuted. For me, applying to CineKink and hoping I could do my world premiere at CineKink NYC, was a coming home and a full circle journey of sorts, and I am so pleased that things unfolded as they did.
It was at CineKink Chicago where I saw Mike Skiff's film, Kink Crusaders for the first time. It is a documentary about the IML experience and the IML 2008 contest, and I loved it. I remember watching the film and wondering why the International Women's contests didn't have anything equivalent and thinking that Leatherwomen should work to change that fact. Little did I know that, shortly thereafter, I'd be involved in creating that change and that, in 2013, I'd be working with Mike Skiff himself to create a feature-length film about female-identified Bootblacks and the IMsBB Title.
Q: Now that the film has been completed and it is out there to be seen by the public, how would you like it to impact people?
I think the best narrators are invisible to the story being presented. Now that the film is finished and being shared, it's my hope that, during a viewing of my film, I am forgotten...that would be the highest compliment for me to receive. In fact, after seeing the film, rather than turning and thinking of me, it's my greatest hope that folks turn and think about whether or not they've been tipping Bootblacks the amount of money that they're truly worth and giving Bootblacks the degree of respect they deserve.
Q: What do you want the current or future women, who are interested in bootblacking to know, understand or learning from this Documentary?
I wish for anyone who feels that they have a Bootblack Heart or the bootblacking bug to embrace that part of themselves, and never be embarrassed to reach out to another Bootblack. I find this generosity of time and spirit consistent with most Bootblacks I meet. In learning the art, they hold onto the traditions of mentors and those who've passed, and in being such an inclusive bunch that often sees the "Bootblack" identity before sex, gender, orientation or presentation, they illustrate what could be the future for Leather, and in caring for others' Leather wear.
Q: Do you see yourself making any other Documentaries in the near future? or will you take a different film avenue?
Now that I've finished High Shine, I can also begin to move through a backlog of other interviews of Leather community members I've filmed (or inherited from previous videographers) for the LA&M Fireside Chat series, and I can begin to dive full throttle into the IML video production work needed to make the 2015 contest visuals look sexy as hell.
I have many "dream" documentaries I'd love to create and share with our community, so let's see what's ends up on my plate next. What I do know is that having the intent to provide a voice to people and resources that may otherwise be overlooked, forgotten or misunderstood.
VT: Is your contestant run sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? 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.
MC: I am sponsored by the Great Lakes Leather Alliance whose mission is to build bridges between the Leather, BDSM, D/s, M/s, Fetish, and alternative lifestyle communities. I’ve been a presenter at their annual events for 6 years & am honored to represent my multi-state region as their titleholder and strive to live up to their mission. http://www.greatlakesleather.org
VT: Power Exchange or SM?
MC: The smart ass answer is “Yes.” But I will say I answer to both aspects of the lifestyle.
VT: In 100 words or less, tell me about your answer to number 2.
MC: I entered the lifestyle as a collared slave and brought my unique play style to the relationship. I currently own one collared Leather Pup. I identify as a Sensual Sadist and Heavy Masochist Bi-sexual Switch depending on who in my Leather family I am playing with I incorporate both Power Exchange and Heavy SM play into my life. I find joy in service and nurture my play partners and family members. I am Matriarch and Mother Goddess as well as muppet-like sex toy. My family accepts my unique blend of sexuality, geekiness, and Power.
VT: Tell me in your own words how you feel about Service.
MC:As human beings we should all serve each other here on this Earth to make a better place. We serve our own needs by being in touch with the greater good. It is a joy to serve my family, friends, and community, but real service is what you do when no one is looking. So there is not shame in serving those who are strangers as well, even if it is just opening a door or asking them to have a pleasant day.
As a Dominant, I nurture the joy in acts of service with those who submit or bottom to me. I grow into myself as I learn how to accept their service in what capacity they can give, and it is my duty to help them see where their innermost self can find freedom and growth.
As a former slave and as a submissive or bottom to the right Dominant, I find my pleasure in providing the best service I can to that person. I have learned that I can do that without losing my “self.” And only by being my true authentic self can I actually provide the best service.
As an educator in the lifestyle I hope that by providing my actions as an example to others we can all learn to serve the greater community by bettering ourselves and communicating to each other in a positive manner. I have made mistakes and learned over the years that it is not selfish to serve ones own needs before others, and that I can accept my true core self and love it. For honestly, if our own needs aren’t met how can we possibly be able to serve with integrity, honor, and love.
VT: How does your body react to the scent of worn leather?
MC: Squeek. No seriously, just the thought of my face being near a Dominant boot and rubbing against it like a cat in heat gives me pussy clenches. By the same token, I am a sensualist and the touch of leather on my body makes me feel like liquid sex. My fingers ache to stroke and touch and if I happen to be wearing panties at the time they get very wet. When I am feeling small or having an issue, someone putting their jacket over my shoulders is also comforting. There is an energy of protection and sensuality that pervades leather since it comes from another living creature. There is a primal knowledge and response in my body no matter what the circumstances.
(my favorite leather?) You are talking to a woman who has over 322 pairs of shoes and boots. It is difficult to pick one outfit or pair. I look cute and sexy in my leather dragon corset dress from Marvelous Mayhem and I pair it with one-of-a-kind iridescent purple and green knee-high 5” heel boots custom made by Skyscraper Heels. I add the leather boa and I am set to go. However that is just one facet of my personality. When I rock out in leather pants and bra with my garter holsters by Skin Graft I feel like a cougar on the prowl. Hot, sexy, and ready to find the closest dark and dirty alley to have a little something, something. It honestly depends on my mood. Do I feel shy and coquettish and submissive, or powerful like the Dark Sex Goddess I am. Personally, as long as some of it ends up on the floor of my bedroom after the bar…I’m good.
VT: 100 words about what you will with the IMsL Title.
MC: It is an opportunity for me to have the backing of the entire Leather community as I travel the country and internationally to educate people about our lifestyle, and have sex positive outcomes. People should never be ashamed of who they are. IMsL is a symbol of potential growth and liberation on my journey through leather and life, as well as for those who I meet on that journey. I expect to be a role model to inspire those who need help in their own journey into their authentic self.
Teagan from girl ang was chosen to be International Ms Leather 2018 and Teagan was named International Ms Bootblack in front of 768 cheering spectators at the DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose in San Jose, CA on Saturday night, April 21. The Heart and Soul Award winner was Sir Dom who was chosen so by all of the contestants. IMsL runner-up was Jesbian and IMsBB runner-up was Brynn Bietzel.
The seven women who competed for IMsL are girl ang, Jesbian, Scarlett Sin, Sir Dom, Carla, Princess Jinnie and Tig; and the five who vied for IMsBB are Teagan, Brynn Beitzel, Bootblack KL, Red and Vivian.
The International Ms Bootblack judges were Meghan, Pawlish, Yolanda, Briar Wood and Daddy Joey.
The International Ms Leather judges were Lascivious Jane, Ralph Bruneau, Dee, Mufasa Ali and Issa Arden.
International Ms Olympus Leather 2003 Bootpig delivered the keynote during the Sunday brunch.
IMsL and IMsBB weekend featured many events including a Bootblack Master Class, vendors, a hospitality suite which is the envy of most Leather events, Shiners movie, Thursday night Seduction, pool party, ONYX Dance, play space, Boots and Cigars and silent auction among others. There's more - to find out what, go to https://imslbb.org/
International Ms Leather 2018 girl ang
girl ang is a rugged Femme hedonistic switch, service oriented Leather woman based in Melbourne, Australia. Her kinks include squirting, fisting, energy exchange, sensation play, tea parties, Leather and latex. She is passionate about the Leatherwork she has created over the last 2.5 years through her business Little Miss Leather. girl ang is well into her psychology degree and completed her Certificate IV in Training and Assessment in 2011; she loves to learn and share knowledge. She chooses happiness and is an insatiable flirt.
International Ms Bootblack 2018 Teagan
Teagan fell in love with bootblacking at a young age, doing her shoes before church. Although these days her skills are often being put to more salacious uses, down deep she still identifies as a spiritual bootblack. For her, bootblacking harkens back to the foot-washing ritual. She enjoys providing a humble service to her community. Teagan is Southern California Bootblack 2016 and Southwest Bootblack 2017. During her title year as Southwest Bootblack she invited our community to “Take Refuge” in the capable hands of our bootblacks. Teagan is from Oakland, CA.
Sarah Humble hosted the Inside the Leather Jacket series, in collaboration with IMsLBB Productions, Women’s International Leather Legacy (WILL) and the IMsL Foundation, she interviewed Lainy and Julia who hail from Seattle and together have a combined 60-plus years of experience and involvement in the Leather scene. They are founding members of both Outer Limits, Seattle’s original Leatherdyke club, as well as Powersurge, the first International Leatherwoman Conference held in Seattle in 1992.
In 1989, a group came together in San Francisco to celebrate Leatherwomen to select a women who represented the community and would be recognized for the work she had done. Judy Tallwing McCarthy was that first International Ms Leather. Over the 30 years since that day, women have stepped up and represented who we are. One can see a history of the IMsL/IMsBB titleholders on the web or catch up with the current IMsL/IMsBB titleholders. Some have been political, some community builders, but have all lived out a vision of what the women’s alternative sex positive community is.
Viola M Johnson giving the keynote address at the 30th Anniversary of the International Ms. Leather Contest Victory Brunch. Her topic was "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants". Gramma Vi introduced a new generation to those that came before, who were present with them ... in that moment.
Ms. Philadelphia Leather 2016
I produce a monthly gear event called Clutch at The Bike Stop
My favorite piece of leather is my harness boots.
Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about all your Sponsors (feel free to include a copy of their logos and a urls to their websites) and your involvement with them in 100 words or less. The Bike Stop owns the Mr. and Ms. Philadelphia titles. Their owners and staff are like family to me. Thebikestop.com
Philadelphians MC produce the Philadelphia Leather contest and I am an associate of the club. Philadelphiansmc.org
The Leather Man creates custom pieces for me. Theleatherman.com
Tell me about your favorite charity. Youth charities have long been my focus, but there’s a new organization that I have been focusing on lately, the LGBTQ Home for Hope, that has really galvanized the community. The only LGBTQ homeless shelter in Philadelphia, it is a 37-bed facility that also aids those in recovery and is funded exclusively from private donations.
Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service. I feel that community service is an integral part of the leather community, especially as a title holder, and it is enriching to me to be a part of a group that I believe is like-minded. Community service is the most rewarding aspect of being a titleholder.
What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack? Leather and kink have been a part of my entire adult life. Forgive me for being trite, but I think that I was born this way. Being able to participate in the community has allowed me to be a teacher, a leader and resource which is truly what's at the heart of being a leather woman.
Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why? My favorite Leather Woman (excluding my Philadelphia predecessors, of course) is Christy Lee, Ms. New Jersey Leather 2016. From the moment I met her she has been nothing but welcoming, kind, and generous and has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She is currently undergoing treatment for cancer and the overwhelming support she is receiving is reflective of how much she means to so many.
Name: Miss BEEHave
Current Title: Ms. Sydney Leather 2015
City, State: Sydney, Australia
Website & (if any) regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3):
Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear: Full length leather barista apron....I bought this custom made piece from a well known quality leather maker in Sydney, Jo King. I love that it can worn as a formal or informal piece, and my waist size doesn't matter as its fully adjustable. I often wear sequin hotpants underneath, a treasure I picked up from San Francisco Folsom in 2014 for a cheeky surprise when I leave the room.
Is your IMsL run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor:
My major sponsor is Marquis De Sade in Melbourne Australia - a gorgeous bespoke fetish wear designer and corsetiere. We have a shared spark, a contagious energy when we talk of the promotion of visibility of leather women in Australia. Marquis De Sade offer customised steel boned corsets, leather ladieswear, leather menswear, fantasy costumes, corseted dresses, fetish wear, with online tailoring, their work is available to international visitors to order.