This year’s class at International Ms. Leather/International Ms. Bootblack. (Photos by Butch Prandium)
SAN JOSE — A whopping 700 attendees came down on the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose to play, cruise, and witness the step down for Meghan, International Ms. Bootblack 2016, and Lascivious Jane, International Ms. Leather.
Elisa, Great Lakes Leather Alliance Bootblack 2016, went on to compete in one of the largest IMsL/IMsBB classes ever, with six bootblack contestants and seven Ms. Leather contestants. Affectionately named the Lucky13, these contestants endured interviews, presented speeches and silent auction tables, as well as Tech Boot for the IMsBB contestants.
Ultimately, Elisa took home the title of International Ms. Bootblack 2017, with Micky Rebel as 1st Runner Up.
Elisa follows in the footsteps of Meghan, International Ms. Bootblack 2016, and Great Lakes Leather Alliance Bootblack 2015.
Girl Complex was awarded the title for International Ms. Leather 2017, with Stela as 1st Runner Up.
A big factor for Elisa’s win was her strong contestant speech:
“We’re angry at the world right now. We want to rip it down and rebuild anew. But when I look to the past for lessons to guide us forward, I see over and over the power of softness. I see the power of those who sat quietly and did not move, those who stood silently in the face of riot gear, those who loved despite the law.
Tonight, I see leather, physical, tangible leather. Leather that becomes pliable and embraces you so closely that you forget where your first skin ends and your second skin starts. We talk about our leather as our power and our protection. But I see leather as a reminder of our flexibility and versatility. It’s because of *those* qualities that it becomes our strength and our steadfastness.
Physical, tangible leather that I care for and love because of the people who wear it, reminds us that nothing is wholly masculine or feminine. Nothing is strong and hard without also being soft and yielding. Femme is so much more than lipstick and our past shows us that to resist from a place of anger is to fail. Hearts and minds are won when we bare ourselves enough that our vulnerable humanity shines through. Please, even to those who despise you, SHINE.”
Elisa and Girl Complex will work with the IMsL Foundation to travel and educate others around the world on alternative sexuality and sexual freedom. The next IMsBB/IMsL contest is scheduled for April 19-23, 2018, in San Jose, California.