You never know what to expect from the Ms. New Jersey Leather 2017 Velvet-Storm. She is a pint size Latina woman, wearing leather, big fluffy slippers and by her side the friendliest German Shepherd service dog named Mr. Louie.
She has an invisible disability (PTSD and Anxiety) and though, in the beginning, it was hard for her to interact with strangers — members of the community — she kept it going and you can’t stop her now.
She has presented on having PTSD and her journey through the Leather community. She was also asked to participate in a small video on invisible disabilities to help the community to be aware of consent when dealing with those who have invisible disabilities. She has also spoken at Widener University during a Human Sexuality class on being a Woman of Color in the leather community.
Velvet has been vocal about not being the “token” of the Leather community. She has spoken about racism, inequality and her coming across misogyny. Velvets favorite saying is ‘Building Bridges and UNITY.’
“I can NOT complain about my New Jersey [leather] family. When I needed assistance members were there for me. Often times I didn’t ask. Many approached me on their own to check on me.”
Velvet is a Co-Founder and Vice President of the MidAtlantic Onyx Pearls. Associate member of Men Onyx MidAtlantic Chapter. Fundraising Coordinator for The M/s Gathering. Co-Fundraising Coordinator for the Master/slave Conference. Secretary for MAsT Cherry Hill and member of MAsT Wilmington and Philadelphia.
She and her NJ leather family raised money during her Kinky Carnival “Prude Gone Crazy.” The proceeds went to the Leather Heart Foundation. Velvet and sash husband Rich raised $1,000 selling their title pins. The proceeds went to the Carter/Johnson Leather Library.
In honor of her NJ sister Christy Lee and Tara Lessard, Velvet donated her birthday to the Susan G. Komen of Central and South Jersey. The leather community raised $600 in two days. Earlier in 2017 both ladies were presented with their “Warrior Women” cancer bands made by Wolfstryker.
You can always find Velvet volunteering at Philadelphia Leather Pride Night, MTTA Community Fest and supporting the Philadelphia Women’s Leather Bar Night.
UPDATE: There were no competitors for Ms NJ Leather 2018. Mr. NJ Leather 2011 Robert “scruffy” Vitalie served as Head Judge and was joined on the judging panel by American Leatherwoman Jackie Thompson, North America Drummer 2017 Jack MacCullum, International Master 2007 Master Larry, Mr. Connecticut Leather 2016 Scooby, Lady Desire, Ms Woods Leather 2016, Ms NJ Leather 2017, Velvet Storm and Mr. NJ Leather 2017 Richard Farias.