One of our members, Mark Miller, grabbed Joe King out of his busy schedule so that we all could get a chance to get to know him. You’ll probably be seeing a lot more of him over the next few months…
Enjoy! Leather hugs,
Mark Miller: Did you have any childhood inklings that leather might someday be an interest of yours?
Joe King: Yes, quite a few. But my main ones were that I fancied any bloke on a motorbike, which my freakishly acute sense of smell was driven wild by the smell of leather and my first fantasy boyfriend was Marlon Brando in the iconic image from ‘The Wild One’.
MM: What made you run for a leather title and why?
JK: That’s quite a complicated question. It was something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never really had the bottle. When I became severely ill a couple of years ago I realised that life was finite and you have to go out and grab it, so I came through it with a renewed sense of urgency. I was also nearly destroyed by a malevolent bastard who wrecked all my self confidence, and I never thought that I would ever be able to achieve anything like that, so it was very much about a personal achievement to prove something to myself. It was about the process of going for it at first, but then it became more about what I could do with it if I won. The leather community is an amazing place, full of brilliant people and having a title gives you the ability to help build things, forge relationships and help safeguard our community for the future.
MM: What went through your mind when your name was called as Mr. Leather UK 2016?
JK: “Oh my fucking god!”
MM: What do you want to accomplish during your title year?
JK: There are lots of things I want to do:
I want to compete in (and win!) IML and help plant Manchester Leathermen on the map.
I also want to support and raise funds for a number of charities which are important to me personally: Broken Rainbow (a gay domestic abuse charity), Children 404 (a programme to support LGBT Russian teenagers), Brunswick Centre (HIV Charity) and LGBT activists in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Finally I really want to strengthen the UK leather community by encouraging the stay at home lads to come out and meet us all.
MM: Have you ever thought about trying to revive the leather community in Manchester and if so how?
JK: I think the leather scene is experience a real resurgence in Manchester, through no small part by the efforts of the Manchester Leathermen. Saxon and Ian in particular work relentlessly, giving up their own time and money to make sure things happen. I think the time has come for us to now encourage new members to join us and forge more productive relationships with some of bars to encourage new guys to come out with us. We’re a friendly bunch of lads.
MM: What do you think are the biggest problems facing the leather community today?
JK: I think there’s a real apathy towards going out, probably down to the expense and hassle versus the convenience of social media. But nothing beats the friendships and closeness of a proper night out with your leather brothers so we (the community) need to remember how good it is to physically meet and spend time together. I think the ever increasing role that chems play feed this collective amnesia and keeps the numbers low on the social scene.
MM: How does it feel to be Mr. Leather UK?
JK: It feels amazing – I’ve had such brilliant support from the previous title holders and already I have made some amazing new mates and been blown away by the camaraderie of being part of the international family of title holders.
MM: What is your favourite leather item or item(s)
JK: That’s an evil question…. It’s either my Muir Cap or my chaps…. Erm…. I’ll go for the Muir Cap. The moment I put it on I become fully myself and I feel like a Leatherman. The Muir Cap is iconic and I love it.
MM: Any particular memorable moments when you have been dressed in leather?
JK: Hmmmm…..The first time I plucked up courage to meet my Manchester Leather brothers. I’d been a lone ranger until then.
MM: So, more about you, what’s your Height and weight?
JK: I’m 183cm (6’2) and 83kg (186lbs I think?)
MM: How long have you been working out?
JK: Ive been working out regularly for about 10 years. Unfortunately, my body was wrecked in 2014 when I became extremely ill when my HIV suddenly spiralled out of control. Its affected my ability to build muscle, and altered the fat distribution on my body so I have to work very, very hard to maintain what I have. It can be demotivating sometimes because I see guys going to the gym and quickly achieving amazing bodies, whilst I’m still slogging away inching forward. But, I see it as maintenance and I’m happy with myself as I am, I’m bloody glad to be alive!
MM: What is your average workout your schedule?
JK: Mon-Fri I get up at 5.30, have a small breakfast, then go to the gym at 6.30. I work out until about 8.15. Each day I do a different muscle group, then have weekends off. I make sure I eat extremely well and don’t eat sugar, very few carbs and cook all my own food from lovely wholesome stuff. I have to do everything I can to help my body look after itself, I owe it that!
MM: Do you have a partner at the moment?
JK: I do, I have been with him for 10 years this October. He’s beautiful, kind, sweet, sensitive, compassionate and clever. And he is not into leather. 😉
MM: Have you thought about what you want to do after your title year is over?
JK: I’d like to continue working for the community and my charities.
MM: How do you want people to remember you as a titleholder?
JK: As a decent, friendly, altruistic bloke who’s hot as fuck in leather. He he he.
MM: Do you think leather titles are still relevant and why?
JK: I do, because the process of electing titleholders forces us to evaluate what’s important to us as a community. The people we elect reflect our values as a community and the time in which we live. As a community, we have overcome many challenges because we know ourselves, we know how to react, change and adapt, so I think its important to continue to examine who we are.
MM: What would you say to anyone that wants to get into leather but doesn’t know where to start or is a bit scared/confused?
JK: I would say, contact us. We’ve all been there, every single one of us. Most of us might look like aggressive alpha tops, and we might be like that in the sack, but the common attributes within the leather community are openness, compassion and humour. All quirks, fetishes, kinks and backgrounds are embraced. Your leather brothers will be the best friends you could ever have–they will never judge you–although, they might take the piss (metaphorically and literally).
MM: What advice do you have for someone running for a leather title?
JK: Be yourself.
MM: Thank you for your time and is there anything you want leave with everyone?
JK: Don’t stay at home longing to be out in your gear, get in touch and get yourself out for a drink with us. You can never have enough friends, especially ones in hot black leather. Woof!
Thanks Joe and Mark!