New Jersey Leather Weekend will celebrate 15 years with its Mr. and Ms. Leather Contests held at Paradise in Asbury Park on October 17th through 19th. The event hosts a meet and greet uniform party on October 17th, Leather Contests on October 18th, and a Victory Brunch on October 19th.
The current Ms. NJ Leather, Nikki Wireman, was happy to give Out In Jersey exclusive insight into her NJ Leather title year.
What inspired you to compete for Ms. NJ Leather?
That’s easy: Ms. Lisa Clark and Scruffy, Mr. and Ms. NJ Leather 2011!! She is one hell of a lady, and quite the historian. She is one of the founding pillars of women’s leather in Asbury Park, NJ. The work is never done, and these are two of many members of the NJ leather family who have worked well beyond their title year. I wanted to push myself like I never had before. My heart said, “Now is my time to step up,” and I was on the road to compete. I am very proud to continue that tradition.
What have you gained by being Ms. NJ Leather?
Wow, now that’s a question! Thick skin! As much as I try to make everyone happy, there are some folks [for whom] you will just get on their last nerve. You will eventually tick someone off by the law of averages. So that leads me to the second thing I have learned: Fuck the noise! Sorry for being blunt, but in reference to drama and politics, we are human. It’s going to happen. Never, and I mean never, lose focus on the task at hand. You are there to work for your brothers and sisters and do what’s right for our community and its future.
I have gained many friends. Real friends. I was the first female judge for Mr. Big Easy Leather 2014 in New Orleans, LA. I have had the honor of being a judge on the panel for the International Puppy Contest 2015, which was held this year in St. Louis, MO.
Most of all, I have listened to my inner voice. I pushed myself through my darkest days after losing my partner, Lucia, to breast cancer. I didn’t know my heart would beat again. I didn’t know the world was demanding me to live and I walked out my door every day and something amazing happened. I was becoming and growing into a title holder, a leader of sorts. I made mistakes, I made changes, and I made a difference in others’ lives, even if they didn’t remember my name. They just remember Ms. New Jersey Leather or ‘that leather woman.’ That’s good enough for me.
What advice can you offer to the next title holder?
Be humble! (You are now in charge of this title. It’s about the work; not about your ego or agenda.) Having a platform, that’s the work!
Set reasonable goals on your budget but, most of all, on your own endurance. No one wants to hear you complain about how much it costs to be Ms. NJ Leather. Admit when you are wrong. The spotlight is on you and let’s face it, shit happens! Just own up to it and move on. You are here to grow!
When you pass your leather title on, what do you hope to have accomplished?
I do not drive, due to my PTSD, which came from a really unpleasant childhood. It was perceived by many that I wouldn’t get around to my required events when I won Ms. NJ Leather 2014. I want to show anyone that no matter what disability you may have, you can be an active member of our community and help others.
Mr. and Ms. NJ Leather are involved in charity events of their choosing. This year, one of the charities was Project R.E.A.L. (Real Empowerment on All Levels), which is a program of the Prevention Resource Network. This is a safe space where young adults (ages 13 to 24) can come together and be themselves without risk of judgment. In this space, these young adults can form both social and support networks for issues that pertain to them. This includes health screenings and testing, but most all education about AIDS and HIV. Project R.E.A.L. is located at 805 4th Ave, Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712.
For more info leathernjonline.com.