Getting to know Erick Joseph, International Mr Bootblack 2016
30 July 2016
Erick Joseph won the title of International Mr Bootblack at this year's IML. We got in touch to learn a bit about him and what it takes to be a Bootblack.
Congratulations on winning International Mr Bootblack 2016. How does it feel to have won?
Thank you! I can't really begin to explain the feeling I had while standing on the Harris Theatre stage in Chicago, with the three other men who are my brothers, and hearing my name called as IMBB 2016. If I had to choose a word it would be 'ecstatic'. It was a feeling of excitement to be able to have this opportunity to promote the Bootblack community and the love of leather care. This year I invite EVERYONE to come have a FUN year with Tigger (IML 38) and I, as we spread the word of IML and IMBB together across the world!
Can you tell us what being a bootblack entails?
Honestly for me it's about providing a fun, sensual or sexual experience for someone while preserving their leathers. Each Bootblack has their own personal definition and I believe it's important to put your own twist on it! As far as technical goes it involves restoring or preserving leather through different techniques. There are many style of boots but they usually fall under two types of leather: "High Shine", which to shine involves polish, brushes and other tools; and "Oil Tan", which involves using oils or leather preservatives to restore or condition the leather. Really anything can happen in a stand, but I'll leave that up to your imagination! As long as we both consent it'll be fun, I promise!
Could you tell us a bit about the history of bootblacking?
The tradition of taking care of leather has been around for quite a while before contests. Anyone who wore leather needed to either take care of it themselves or find someone else who could. The first contest of sorts was said to be in 1953 hosted by The Morganton Recreation Department, to find the best Shoe Shine. Five men competed and a man named James "Frog" Brooks won 1st place in the shine event. The first time International Mr. Leather, Inc sponsored the International Bootblack contest was in 1993, where David Morgan became the first IBB title holder. In 1999 the title split in two and became International Mr. Bootblack (IMBB) - occurring at IML - and International Ms. Bootblack (IMsBB), occurring at IMsL. Most of this information can be found on the Bootblack Wiki [Editor – see link below]. There is also the all gender inclusive, International Community Bootblack contest, which is a part of the ILSb/ICBB weekend.
How did you get into bootblacking?
Funny story! I was originally taught by Sarha, who might be best known for her megabus adventures across the country with OilTan Sam (IMBB 2013). Now her method of bootblacking is quite comical to watch but effective. She blacks out of a giant silver bowl filled with soapy water, and it flies everywhere when she mixes it up! She's a messy Bootblack but that's most the fun of it anyway! Why not get dirty and just have fun! Anyway, she taught me and a few others and it made us want to learn more and do it better than she ever could. At first being a Bootblack was just a fun service I could provide to my community, until I realized the amount of connection and sexiness truly involved! It feeds me now and it has become one of my greatest passions!
Do you have any other fetish tastes?
Oh I have plenty of those! I'm always willing to try new things as long as there's clear communication and negotiations! A few of my favorite kinks would definitely be electro, fire, puppy play, sexual bootblacking ;) and I may flag yellow at times! I'll be adding a list of tastes to my Recon account very soon!
You come from Anchorage. What's the fetish scene like there?
Here in Anchorage, Alaska we actually have a very diverse but close community. I have found few places so far that TRULY make people feel welcomed and safe like the Alaskan kink community. We mostly have The Alaska Center for Alternative Lifestyles (ACAL) to thank for that. Its Alaska's one and only Adult BDSM community center and the home to Northern Exposure and the Alaska State Bootblack contest that happens every summer! You can find more on that if you're interested in visiting at AlaskaKink.com! All in all, Alaskan kinksters play and they play long and hard!
With your new title you'll be travelling a lot. Where you heading to, and what are you looking forward to experiencing?
My travel schedule this year is all edge play! I have a few definite adventures I'll be making, such as International Puppy Contest in St. Louis, BOTH Folsom Berlin and Folsom San Francisco, Iowa Leather weekend and more! As far as what I'm looking for I'll just say I'm always having a good fucking time or a good time fucking... I get the two mixed up quite often! I'm definitely not shy so I encourage everyone to at least say hello!
Finally, if guys want to get in touch, what's your Recon username?
Guys can find me on Recon under the username: IMBB2016Erick, I've added all my travel plans and will upload new pictures as I go!
Thank you so much for this interview! I have been using Recon for a good amount of time and can definitely say it has helped in meeting new people and creating connections for me! Much love from Alaska!
Yours in Leather, Erick Joseph International Mr. Bootblack 2016