Bumper lives in one of the most Southern parts of what is considered leather’s Mid-Atlantic region– Chesapeake, Virginia. She’s certainly making her mark. Setting up places for budding bootblacks to learn and seasoned ones to perfect their skills as a co-leader of Hampton Roads Bootblacks, she also stepped forward to be an ambassador for the region as the Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack 2018. Approachable, sweet, and very much skilled, I loved seeing her work her magic in the bootblack chair and onstage.

Alex ‘Bear’ Conley: Where did you grow up?

Bumper: Long Island, New York. I miss it so much!

How did you discover the leather community and how long have you been involved?

I discovered leather through my ma’am. She was very active with her leather family at the time and watching them conduct themselves, volunteering their time, the family comradery of being silly and having fun and what they stood for, attracted me. My first leather event was a leather history conference a few years ago and I felt at home and where I belonged. I have been in kink five years but only started on my leather path for about three years ago. Funny thing is, I have held those standards my entire life, I just didn’t know what it was.

Do peanut butter and bananas go together?

Umm … ewwww … no!

What  is  your  favorite  ice  cream  flavor?

Here we go again. I have a tough time making decisions. Cookie dough, peanut butter, mint chocolate chip, vanilla.

What is your favorite thing about the leather community?

The generosity and sincerity blows me away. Everyone is willing to step up, pitch in, donate, get dirty, do whatever needs to get done. The community really cares for their brothers and sisters and strangers too. We treat each other like family … most of the time!

What is the accomplishment that has made you the proudest outside the leather community?

Is it an accomplishment to be proud of myself and the woman I have become? I am just proud to be who I am. I’m a good person and surround myself with good people! My mom passed when I was 13 and I struggled in my teenage years, I was rebellious and walked a fine line. My path could have easily gone another direction if it weren’t for my family and friends. I graduated high school, went to college, found a career path, found a future with my ma’am, bought a house, have amazing family and friends … life is good! To me that is an accomplishment!

What is your favorite pizza topping?

So making me choose again? Hawaiian pizza, BBQ chicken pizza or bacon-cheesebuger pizza.

Tell me a cool fact about the city you currently live in.

We have an abundance of notable athletes to come out of Virginia, such as David Wright, Alonzo Mourning, DeAngelo Hall, and the Upton brothers, just to name a few.

What is a message you would really like to share with all the people reading this?

I love the leather community and I learn more and more about it all the time. I consider myself new especially when I look at my elders. I would encourage those who are also new to make your own path. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Talk to everyone, listen to everyone, observe everyone, go to everything you possibly can and experience it all. There are many factions of leather and you have to find what works for you, you have to find “your people.” Your people are the ones who share your ideals and ethics, the ones who make laugh, the ones who will hold you when you cry and hug you when you succeed, the ones who have your back, the ones who will bail you out of jail at 3 am if needed. These are “your people” and for me they are the ones that have become my family.