Tig Natious is holding her title of Ms. SouthEast LeatherFest for a second year! She is a self-proclaimed child of the internet, which led her to discover the world of kink at a young age. A pansexual, polyamorous switch, she joined the North Carolina scene in 2007, then later went on to discover the world of Leather in 2011 when she had the honor of being Ms North Carolina that year. A founder of Greensboro's Kinklings and an affiliate member of Tarheel Leather Club, Tig's passions and interest run deep and varied. A proud geek of many colors, Tig has had the pleasure of being able to combine all of her interests and teach others about kink and how to do it safely.
Calendar of Events
Oct 2016 Column
Wow, what a whirlwind it’s been since that amazing Saturday night in August. Where do I even start?
Winning the Ms SouthEast LeatherFest title for me is something that, quite frankly, I’m not sure has fully sunk in yet. I originally was planning to run for this title a few years ago, but things happened and I was never able to make it happen. Honestly, I was worried that I was going to lose momentum and not ever get back to doing the title run for a while. So for me, winning SELF is a bit of a major battle won in my life for so many different reasons that I won’t delve into; that’s a few stories for another time. I didn’t think I would ever do it, but here I am and I have done it and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
I hit the ground running back into the real world and life immediately after SELF ended as well as jumping right into as many events as I could make.
First up I had South Carolina Pride in Leather in Columbia, SC.
Tom and Peach put on an amazing event! In addition to their contest, which featured the new title of South Carolina Leather Ambassador, it was like being at a Leather run, with parties and cocktail hours running seemingly nonstop. It was amazing to be there and I seriously suggest putting it on your calendars for next year. LE, American Leatherwoman 2015, did a special showing of High Shine - Fifteen Years of International Ms Boothblack, a documentary about the history behind the Ms Bootblack title, and just wow. If you love bootblacks, are a bootblack, or just want to learn more about an important piece of our culture and history, do yourself a favor and make sure you watch this amazing film. It was an amazing start to my title year to spend the weekend with most of my sash family, Tori, Bella, rooks, and Timothy, in addition to sash-mom Jennifer.
The highlight of the weekend was being able to watch two incredible people compete for the new title. It was nail biting to watch two people have the same message and drive but from two different angles. There was no clear winner and I know I wasn’t the only one watching on the edge of my seat wondering who was going to win. But the judges and producers made an unprecedented decision to award the title to both contestants. Troy and Jay, I am so excited and proud of you both! Congratulations again you two, I look forward to watching you both over this next year.
Almost right after SC Pride in Leather I took off to head up North for the next few weeks for work. I’m in an around the Mid-Atlantic area for most of the next several months through Christmas. While I miss being in the South and all the amazing events going on at home, I have been more than excited to meet a whole new group of people up here and experience their events.
This past Saturday was my first Philadelphia Leather event at Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. Now for those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in the Philadelphia area, but as soon as I turned legal I ran away to the South for college. So even though I’m from here and always have a soft spot in my heart for the city of brotherly love, I have never made it to any kind of event here.
And just wow. The Philadelphia community is incredible! Everyone there welcomed me with open arms and even let me jump right in and help out with the biggest charity event of the year. Seriously, I am still processing this event, but it is definitely one that I want to go back to every year. The love and sense of community and belonging is exactly what you’d expect, and it didn’t matter that they’d never met me before, I was welcomed and loved unconditionally by everyone who I met there. I am doing a terrible job of describing it, but this event was incredible. I was also fortunate enough to get to spend the evening with Timothy and Lady Catherine, so even though we were all far from home, we still had our family.
It’s surprised me just how supportive really can be. Perhaps I just have this bad habit of not asking for help or merely expecting people to not want to help or be supportive, but at times it has been overwhelming for me at seeing just how many people have offered up support for me after what feels like only knowing them for a short time. It’s humbling, honestly. But it’s taught me that Leather is really where the heart is since home is where the heart is.
As for goals for this year? Right now I want to keep spreading my wings and making all these amazing connections. I really enjoy volunteering at events and helping out, it’s one of those ways where I instantly know that I’ve done something. Maybe I’m just a volunteer-slut. I also am excited about teaching more this year and have all ready been asked by several groups to come and teach, in addition to reaching out past my home area and my comfort zone. As soon as I know dates and final details, you’ll know too!
In the end, I’m excited for the time I get to spend representing SouthEast LeatherFest over the next several months. I’m excited for all the new opportunities I have, to make new connections, and to further grow as a person myself.
January 2017 Column
It's hard to believe that it's a new year all ready and just about half way through my title year.
So where have I been? Man, I've been everywhere it seems. I spent most of the past few months up in the north east for work, but I was able to attend several events while I was there.
I pulled double duty first, working at New York Comic Con during the day and then at night I was making it out to the first Northeast Puppy and Handler Contest. This was my first time going to an event where I knew no one in attendance. I learned about the event from Erick, International Mr Bootblack 2016, and we've talked online a bit, but I didn't have any one who was part of my community with me. NYC Puppies and Handler were so welcoming to this southern girl! They immediately made me feel welcomed and like I was home even though they'd never met me before. It was wonderful to watch Damien become the first Northeast Handler and Vidhra the first Northeast Puppy. NYC-PAH did such a great job with this contest for their first year. Little did I know that this was going to be such a gateway moment for me into the world of puppies and handlers.
The following weekend I was just going to go to the meet and greet for the Mid-Atlantic Puppy and Handler Contest. I grabbed Damien at the bus stop in Philadelphia and we headed down to Pup Indigo’s, Mid-Atlantic Drummer Boy 2016, and I ended up spending the entire weekend at the contest. It was such an amazing weekend and I got to spend more time around puppies and attended my first puppy mosh in addition to being able to help out with Puppymon Go, a puppy obstacle course designed by Indigo. I never expected to find myself in the role of being a handler, but the sheer fun and joy of it softened the shock of discovering something new about myself. Long story short, puppies make me happy and I am so excited to explore this new part of myself. Saturday night, Mika aka Pup Ruckus, was named the new Mid-Atlantic Puppy. He is such a sweet and wonderful person, I know he'll do great this year with the title.
There doesn't seem to be any rest for the wicked, and at the last minute I decided to go to my third event in a row and attend New Jersey Leather Weekend, home of the New Jersey Leather Contest. Nikki, Ms New Jersey Leather 2014, was a wonderful host and it was so great to see her again after meeting her at NEPAH Contest two weeks prior. I finally got to meet people who I'd only interacted with online in addition to seeing people I hadn't seen since Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. I even got to spend the weekend with the amazing Timothy again. Seriously, a girl could not ask for a more supportive and caring sash husband. The weekend was amazing, with various classes and great social moments, it was like this huge reunion of puppies, Leathermen, Leatherwomen, and everyone inbetween. You can tell that the New Jersey Leather community is a close one, family is definitely a value that they hold dear. Saturday night the contest culminated with Richard and Velvet Storm being named the new Mr and Ms New Jersey Leather.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time up North. It allowed me to spread my wings in a way and further explore what Leather means to me on a personal level while getting to experience a different Leather culture than the one I’ve grown up in. There really is no one and only way to do what we do. We are all a tribe of sorts and within the larger picture, each region has its own values and traditions that it seems to place in different orders than the other areas. It’s exciting, being able to see values of my own reflected in someone else despite us coming from two different backgrounds and regions. I really do look forward to traveling to new areas that I’ve never been to before and, hopefully, getting involved with the Leather community there. It sounds sappy, I know, but this title has given me a chance to explore this world of ours more, and I feel a bit like Belle when she first steps into the Beast’s library, wide eyed and excited.
I want to keep growing, learning, teaching, and experiencing over this next year. Even after I step down I want to keep doing whatever it is that I can do to help others learn, grow, and experience. Soon I’ll be turning 28, and I never thought I would be exactly where I am today. Despite all the reasons that we have to be afraid in the next year or more, I’m excited about all the good things that are still to come and being able to take more steps on my journey.
A big thank you to Indigo, Nikki, and Amanda, Florida Community Bootblack 2016. Thank you and your houses for housing me and taking care of me when I’ve stayed with you. You all are truly amazing people and I’m so glad that our paths crossed and that I have had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with all of you.
March 2017 Column
I know I’ve said this a lot, but I can hardly believe that I have sixteen weeks left in being the Ms SouthEast LeatherFest. I really don’t know where the time has gone.
So where have I been since we left off?
In January I celebrated my 28th birthday, and rather than stay at home where there was a looming threat of snow, I boogied on down to Florida for Kinky Camp Out in Palm City. It was amazing event, very small and intimate, on one of the most beautiful camp grounds I have ever seen. I got to see a lot of people who I hadn’t seen since SELF, and it was really great to be able to spend some one on one time and be able to get to know people better than I could while competing. It was so great to spend time with Amanda, Florida Community Bootblack 2016, even as we sat huddled around camp fires in the cold and then listened to the rain and thunder in our tents. I wouldn’t trade that weekend for the world because I also got to educate, and hopefully light a spark in, people about Leather and what it means to me. I got to talk to people about bootblacking and what exactly a contest was, and they had never heard of Leather before or had very little knowledge of it. Those moments are still with me and I hope I never forget them. A big thank you to Daddy Joe and Ember for letting me share your tent with you and helping me make these memories!
The following weekend I was honored to present my intro to polyamory class in Spartanburg, South Carolina with Piedmont Area Kinksters. The class went over really well and I did my best to cover topics that I wish someone had talked to me about when I first started practicing ethical non-monogamy. From types of relationships, to communication, to problem solving scenarios from questions asked by the class, it really was a great night and I am so glad that they invited me to teach. Thank you, Carlton!
The first weekend in February I got to pop back into The Woodshed in Charlotte, NC to see the ever wonderful Charlotte Tradesmen. It was a quiet night, my first time back to a bar night since August. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing group of people in one place, and getting to spend some “down” time in my home area was really invigorating.
After that I put a few hundred more miles on my car again and drove back up to Philadelphia to attend several events going on for the Mr and Ms Philadelphia Leather Contest. Friday night I attended Clutch/the send off party for Rudy and Alaina, Mr and Ms Philadelphia Leather 2016 respectively. To say that I got to spend time with old friends and new is an understatement as so many of my new connections from the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast area were there, it was like coming home for me now as opposed to a few months ago when I first came to the area knowing almost no one. That Saturday I spent the day at the Puppy and Handler Social that was hosted by Northeast Pup and Handler 2017, Vidhra and Sir Damien, and Mid-Atlantic Puppy 2017, Rukus. There was such a great turn out for that social! I really have learned to value the time I get in such intimate settings with people. Often times I feel like I miss the chance to really have deep, meaningful connections and conversations, so getting to be at an event where I get to have those moments has become one of my favorite things. That night we were back at The Bike Stop for the contest. A big congratulations again to Nick and Heather on becoming Mr and Ms Philadelphia Leather 2017! I stuck around afterwards for a bit to meet people who’d I’d only connected online previously before. Alaina was gracious enough to open her home to a few of us that night, and the discussions and conversations over the best pho delivery are some I will cherish forever. Thank you for allowing that to happen, Alaina!
My trip north didn’t last long, I left to go to DC to work, then I hopped over immediately to Chattanooga for work again, though this time I got to reunite with my extended sash family, Autumn. While I was at Connooga for work, Autumn and I found out that the con was having a charity auction and we put together a basket for them. I am proud to say that ours was one of the most successful and brought in a sizable donation for the con! Not only that, but I was also asked to not only sit on, but lead an advanced BDSM panel Saturday night at con. I am still incredibly floored and honored at being asked to do so. The discussion that my three other panelists and I had was incredibly informative and productive, all of us trying to make sure that we covered the things that we wished we had heard sooner in the lifestyle rather than having to learn it the hard way. Advanced BDSM is such a wide topic, but I feel like we all did a great job that night.
And that leads us to March. Phew. Every time I wonder what have I done, I write one of these blogs and I realize that I have been a lot of places in a short amount of time. I have taught classes, welcomed new titleholders, and yet I’m still not done yet.
This first weekend of March I’ll be at Bluegrass Leather Pride in Louisville, Kentucky. I am so excited to be attending and glad that I could work it into my schedule.
I also just launched a fundraiser for Bootblack Nona. If you haven’t heard of her before, she is the first bootblack titleholder for South Africa. She was given her first kit in 2014 and since then has been learning the art and skill of being a bootblack via Skype with her mentor. That level of determination is admirable. In December of 2016, she competed and won the title of SA Bootblack 2017. She’s going to represent her title at International Ms Bootblack in San Jose, California this year, but unfortunately her club and travel fund cannot cover the expense of traveling across the globe to represent. So in an effort to help, I designed a t-shirt inspired by the musical Hamilton, a show that has made it’s own mark in history, much like Nona has. The campaign will be running until March 23rd, and you can find it here. (https://teespring.com/sa-bootblack-2017-imsbb-fund#pid=2&cid=2397&sid=front)
I don’t think I can ever say it enough, but thank you to all of those who have helped me. Thank you for being supportive of me, thank you for opening your homes to me, thank you for the smiles, hugs, and love. I don’t know what I would be without you, but I am better because of you.
Until next time!
June 2017 Column
Hello again everyone!
One of these days I swear I will learn what it means to take a break, although I partially did this month.
I had an amazing family vacation for ten days in Florida, we split our time between Disneyworld (my first time going!) and Star Wars Celebration. It was a bit surreal, Disney being overwhelming in all of its magic and then attending a convention that I wasn’t working at. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I had a very quick turn around, leaving two days after returning from my vacation to go to International Ms Leather out in San Jose, California. It by far has been my favorite event this year that I’ve attended. The energy there was so different than any other Leather event I’ve attended, but in a good, calm, “Welcome home,” way. I volunteered with registration all weekend and got to meet so many amazing individuals from around the country. Even with dealing with two personal tragedies that weekend, I was welcomed, accepted, and very much supported. The contest itself was incredible to watch and I have so much respect for everyone who competed. Congratulations to Girl Complex and Elisa on your wins!
After IMsL I came back and my next event was right in my backyard, the Tradesmen’s annual run, Trademark! It was so good to reconnect with my local community and see what the North Carolina Leather Contest has grown to under the ownership of the Tradesmen. They had a record breaking number of contestants this year and everyone had a unique perspective to bring due to their various backgrounds. It was definitely hard to say that anyone stood out over the other as they all did really amazing. In the end, a big congratulations goes to Lady Z for becoming the new Ms NCLC 2017!
Did I mention that I don’t know what a break is? Because I really don’t. After Trademark I hopped in my car and drove back up to Philadelphia in time for the Philadelphia Fetish and Bootblack Contest. The Philadelphia Fetish title is a really unique title as it does not require contestants to identify as Leather and is open to everyone. I was asked at the last minute to be their stage manager for the contest and I happily stepped up to fill the role. They had one contestant for each title, but the entire weekend was filled with various events. From a traditional meet and greet, to amazing classes, to contest night, to victory brunch, the producers really put together a well paced event. Zero, Philadelphia Fetish 2017, and Cherry Bomb, Philadelphia Bootblack 2017, deserve a big congratulations on an excellent run! A group of us actually then carpooled that Sunday from the victory brunch up to New Jersey to visit Velvet Storm and her fundraising carnival for the Leather Heart Foundation. They had various stations set up where you could try out different types of play and kink, as well a silent auction and a raffle. Thank you to Velvet for inviting us and congratulations on a successful fundraiser!
Aside from work, that’s what I’ve been up to this spring. I can’t wait to get back on the road and see everyone!
October 2017 Column
Hello once again everyone! Phew, I have a lot to recap of what happened in these past few months.
Unfortunately due to both the last minute date change and then a personal crisis, I was unable to attend SELF this year. I did send a video in so that I could at least be somewhat present, but it was not in the cards this year to attend. My Leather family also brought along a stuffed leopard to act as a mini-me for the weekend and I loved getting all the pictures of people with her that weekend!
I had some “downtime” between SELF and my next event, taking the time to work and to rest, but I was more than ready to go when I got to attend International Pup and Handler Weekend! This was its first year being its own event, and both International Puppy Contest and International Pup and Trainer came together. Both contests ran side by side with plenty of timing so that no one had to miss any part of either. While similar, they are just different enough, aside from IPC not having a Trainer/Handler title. IPTC runs more like a traditional dog show and contestants can either enter as a pair or individually. All contestants are judged separately regardless of how they choose to compete and IPTC features a show ring portion of the contest, much like a traditional dog show. IPC runs similarly to a Leather Contest, with a fantasy, a pop question, a speech, and an interview. All in all there were three winners at the end of the weekend. I was lucky enough to be apart of their very first bootblack team. I worked alongside five other amazing individuals over the weekend taking care of boots, pup hoods, and even giving some basic bootblacking lessons. I also taught my class on polyamory and it was incredibly well received. IPAHW is another even that will be going on my, “must attend” list for future years. A big congratulations to IPC Pup Dane, International Trainer Caressa, and International Puppy Dodger!
Speaking of Caressa, we hit it off immediately and shortly after IPAHW started up a group called Dames and Dams. It’s a group for female-identified pup and handlers and currently the only one of its kind in the pup community. We also are welcoming of other non-binary identities and other pet players as we know there’s currently no space specifically for them. We hope to continue to grow the group more and are very excited at how well received it’s been!
After IPAHW I spent some time in the southeast, this time going to Mr Kentucky Leather! During the day the Titans of the Midwest hosted Kink U, an educational series that hosts presenters from all over to teach on various different educational topics. The series wrapped up with an amazing panel about kink and race presented by ONYX. The contest itself went by quickly, and a big congratulations going out to James on becoming Mr Kentucky Leather 2017!
Continuing my tour through the Southeast, I headed on down to Florida to work on another Bootblack team, this time for Florida Power Exchange. It was a smaller event, and with no contest this year, I was able to spend some time going to classes as well as getting to interact with others both in and out of stand. We had a great information share going on between all the bootblacks, it’s all ways fascinating to me to hear how others learned and what techniques they used. Bootblacking skills are a bit like family heirlooms, you can trace them back through generations. I enjoyed the laid back feel to the event that seems to be a theme with all Florida events. It’s definitely nice to throw on some leather sandals and kick back whenever I venture down to the sunshine state.
After a short break to return to work, I had the privilege of judging for the second South Carolina Pride in Leather. As some of you may recall, I attended their first event last year. This year was even better than before, and the 2016 and 2017 SELF families were in almost perfect attendance. I got to host a cocktail party after the contest with sash siblings IceDog, his ravyn, and Coco, and everyone who attended enjoyed our late night, adult milk and cookies. Judging is something I never take lightly and it’s never easy, particularly with only one contestant, but I have to congratulate Cara for running alone and winning SC Leather Ambadassdor 2017! I know how scary it is to run against yourself, and I am so proud of her for doing so.
That was the end of my Southeast events for this time, and I packed up my car and bootblack kit and headed up to Great Lakes Leather Alliance. I’d heard so much about GLLA from everyone since I won my first title back in 2011. Did you know that they have eight different title tracks? They had someone competing for every title this year and it was definitely an amazing contest. It was also the largest event that I’ve ever bootblacked at and I got to work alongside amazing bootblacks, from Washington, to California, and even with Friday, SouthEast Booblack 2016. The bootblack lab was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to go to another one as it was such a unique opportunity to skill swap with bootblacks who I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to talk to. I’ll be working on my spitshine technique with the help I picked up there. I also got to visit the Carter/Johnson Leather Library again for the first time since 2011, and as ever it was an amazing experience with new exhibits every time. With all the classes, socials, and fantastic parties, GLLA is certainly an incredible event! A big congratulations to all the 2018 GLLA winners!
That’s it for now. I have a few more events left for this year before I take a hiatus for working through the holidays. See everyone soon!
January 2018 Column
Hello everyone! This last quarter of 2017 going into 2018 wasn’t nearly as travel filled as previous months, mostly due to working through the holidays. But the events I was able to go to were phenomenal!
I worked my butt off after GLLA, all before embarking on a roadtrip all the way out to Des Moines, Iowa for Iowa Leather Weekend! I was asked to be on their bootblacking team and I am so glad that I accepted! If you get the chance, I cannot recommend taking the opportunity to head out there! The weekend was filled with Kink U Classes presented by the ever amazing Titans of the Midwest, amazing socials hosted across several incredible locations, and one heck of a contest! There is a growing interest in bootblacking in Iowa, and I am so honored that I got to be apart of helping to nurture that interest. Thank you so much to Iowa Leather Weekend for all that you did for us bootblacks! And of course a big congratulations to your new 2018 Iowa title family!
Immediately after Iowa I hit the road and drove all the way back to High Point, North Carolina for Leather History Preservation Weekend. Once again I was bootblacking, but I was also helping out a vendor for the weekend. If you’ve never been, LHPW is a unique event that features several sessions of Leather people sharing their story of their Leather journey. All the sessions are recorded and document so that we might never lose a chunk of our history like we have in years past. It’s a small but intimate event, and it was definitely a great chance to relax around friends and family while soaking up some history.
And then I started the holiday crunch with work. I’m sure you can imagine what it’s like being in holiday retail, so I’ll spare you the details.
However, it is with great pleasure that I am happy to inform you all that I will be running for International Ms Leather this April in San Jose. I hope to represent the southern Leather that I know and love to the best of my ability and all of you will be in my heart, whether you’re able to attend or not.
That’s it for now, I hope you all had an amazing holiday season and that your new year is off to a great start!
March 2018 Column
Hey again, everyone!
I wish I had a more in-depth column to write for you, as I know multiple people who have confessed that they live vicariously through my wayward life. But things have been pretty simple since January.
I’ve spent most of my weekends working, because competing at IMsL isn’t going to pay for itself, but I did take one weekend off to head over to Louisville for this year’s Bluegrass Leather Pride!
There was no contest this year at BLP, but there were still amazing classes and the ever-famous brunch. Overall, it was a great weekend to relax and reconnect with my friends and extended community. Ray, Steve, Jami, and Alice, it’s been great to watch you all over this past year and I’m so glad that I’ve met all of you. Special thanks to Ray and Emmet for sharing your home with me during that weekend.
Aside from that I’ve been focused on getting everything ready to go for International Ms Leather, from basket donations, hanging posters, and various other contestant tasks, it’s definitely been a whirlwind. Make sure that you’re following everything related to IMsL by following the tags #teamtig and #roadtoimslbb2018!
That’s it for now, I’ll see you all on the flipside after April!