2018 Contest Rules

I. Mission

     Each year during the International Ms Leather (IMsL) /International Ms Bootblack (IMsBB) weekend, known as IMsLBB Weekend, a Contestant is chosen who celebrates the art of bootblacking in the women’s alternative sex positive community (Leather/kink/BDSM which we will call leather from here on out.) both locally and internationally on behalf of the IMsLBB Productions, LLC and IMsL Foundation. The competition identifies a bootblack who exhibits skill, dedication, passion and personality.  They will act as a mentor, educator, a role model and a spokesperson during their title year.  We are looking for an individual who can be articulate, professional, and capable of communicating their expertise in leather care and outreach both to leather and non-leather communities worldwide.


II. Contestant Requirements

II. Contestant Requirements

The IMsBB Contest is open to persons regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity (as long as Contestants are comfortable representing the Ms Title for the year).  We also honor other dimensions of diversity such as race, religious/spiritual beliefs and/or political affiliation. The IMsBB Contest is a competition for a women’s title.  Each Contestant must self-identify as part of the women’s leather community and must be willing to represent the title of IMsBB during their title year.

To be eligible to enter the IMsBB Contest, Contestants must be at least 21 years of age by Thursday of IMsL/IMsBB Weekend (April 19, 2018) and have a valid form of ID that is current through Monday, April 23, 2018. Contestants need to have or be able to obtain in the first 90 days of their title, a valid passport for international travel.

Please note that by becoming a Contestant for this title, Contestants will become public figures as brand representatives of IMsBB. This visibility can impact a Contestant’s personal life and career. Contestants may wish to use a scene name to compete but realize that the visibility of competing and winning the title can bring to light a Contestant‘s private and professional life.

Contestants may (but are not required to) hold a local or regional title to compete. They can hold this local title during their IMsBB title year if agreeable with their local producers.  However, they may not hold another international leather title during their IMsBB title year.

Sponsorship is optional. Contestants are not required to have a title or sponsors to run for the title. It is encouraged to create a support team to help the Contestant manage the actual contest run.

Part of the fundraising efforts for the travel fund comes from the silent auction and items brought by the Contestants. Contestants will be required to contribute item(s) to the silent auction, which will benefit the IMsL/IMsBB travel funds exclusively.  It is not about the quantity of items but how items reflect the Contestant’s personality, hometown or region, sponsors and/or a theme of the Contestant’s choosing. Contestants are allowed up to two six foot tables to display their items in the silent auction. Once items are dropped off at silent auction, they become the property of IMsL Foundation for auction or use. Contestant team members (no more than 2 people)  will do the actual set up, based on the Contestant design, from 6:45pm-8:45pm on Thursday night. On Friday morning, the Contestants will be able to walk through and check the display.  The judges will then walk through the silent auction area before it opens and score the display as part of the public image score.  Remember, it does not matter how many items are on display, the goal is to create a visually appealing display that represents the Contestant!

Contestants must agree to be photographed and be referred to by legal name or chosen scene name (as specified on Contestant Application) in future publications as decided by IMsLBB Productions, LLC (such as the media releases, a video of the contest, on the web, and in internet/print promotional/publicity materials for IMsL/IMsBB Weekend).  All images are the property of IMsLBB Productions, LLC. Each Contestant shall be required to sign a photo release.

Contestants must also agree to be interviewed by media after they have submitted their application so that it can be announced after the Contestant application deadline.

Applications for the class of 2017 are due by January 10, 2018 at 5:00pm Pacific Standard Time (PST).

A series of online calls are scheduled which Contestants are required to attend prior to the contest. Please make arrangements to attend these meetings (dates listed below).  

Please book a hotel room AS SOON AS YOU CAN, even if it is only for 1 night. There is a block of rooms for Contestants that will be assigned after their application is submitted.Contestants must arrive at the hotel by Wednesday, April 18, 2018 and be ready to meet on Thursday morning at 8:00am PST.  The winner of the competition will need to stay through Sunday evening 7:00pm PST of the weekend, so it is recommended that Contestants book an open return ticket or stay through Monday, April 23.

  1. Please book your hotel room at the

          Doubletree Hotel San Jose

          2050 Gateway Pl

          San Jose, CA 95110

          (408) 453-4000


  1. Use code “FUN”

  2. Your rooms needs to be a Double Double or King please.

Consider that the contest is a job interview.  The winner will be required to sign an agreement for the title year concerning the rules and requirements. IMsLBB Productions, LLC and IMsL Foundation will work with you during the title year.  A copy of this contract will be sent for review after Contestants complete their application and payment process.


III. Structure of Contest

1. Pre-event

Once the application and payment are made, you will receive details on the online calls. Contestant’s numbers will be drawn online during the first Contestant online meeting. These four (4) pre event online meetings will give each Contestant all the details needed to compete for the contest. Here is the meeting schedule to accommodate global Contestants:

       Jan 28, 2018, 2:00pm PST - Draw #’s, Overview, Social Media

       Feb 25, 2018, 2:00pm PST    

  1. PART 1, 2:00 p.m PST IMsBB Only Tech Boot, Boot Lounge

  2. PART 2, 3:00 p.m. PST (IMsL + IMsBB)   Speech, Introductory #, Release BB then start Fantasy.

       Mar 24, 2018, 2:00pm PST - Silent auction and any final items

It is a busy weekend and everyone will be provided with a Master Schedule: A full itinerary which includes where and when Contestants need to be for the entire weekend. You will receive a link to this schedule pre-event.

The categories for the competition are listed here but more detail will be provided in the FAQ that you should review and will be covered during the Contestant calls on each area.


2. Thursday, April 19, 2018

First orientation meeting occurs onsite at the host hotel (8:00am breakfast, 9:00am Contestant meeting – one handler should attend with the Contestant.

Judging begins: Judges and attendees can be anywhere in the hotel and are looking at how Contestants are responding to them as well as other people. Being friendly, open and enthusiastic is contagious. Contestants will also be judged on how Contestants interact with the other Contestants (both IMsL and IMsBB).

Contestant Photo Shoot (Thursday afternoon): Contestants will be professionally photographed by the IMsL staff photographer. Please dress in your best image as these photos will be used at the event, in social media and will appear on the website. They are also provided to press. They will also be the winner pictures for the first press releases.

Silent Auction Set-up (6:45pm-8:45pm): Contestants set up the plan on how to display their silent auction items. They are allowed up to two six foot tables to display their items in the silent auction room. No items can be placed on the floor, hung above the table or propped against the table. Items should be onsite by Thursday, April 19, 2018.  Contestant team members (No more than 2 people) will do the actual setup of the display without the Contestant present, based on the Contestant design. This setup will be Thursday night from from 6:45pm-8:45pm in Donner Room (silent auction room).

IMsBB Contestants will be required to restore a pair of second hand boots in the tech boot part of the competition. Contestants will be provided a pair of boots to be restored as the technical part of the contest.  Contestants will have 30 minutes at tables provided in the Gateway Foyer during the Queer Happy Hour on Thursday night to restore one of the boots for judging. No changes will be allowed to distinguish the boots (such as different color laces). The restoration will demonstrate the Contestant skills.  


3. Friday, April 20, 2018

Contestant Interviews (Friday morning/afternoon)

During the interview, the Contestant will use the restored boot from Thursday to describe the processes they used to restore the boot (5-10 minutes) .This may include questions about boot technique from the judges. The remaining interview (15-20 minutes) that may include (but are not limited to) technical knowledge, community contribution, bootblack history and personal history.

  • After all the interviews are complete, the pair of boots will be displayed (blind without your name or number) in the Bootblack Lounge until Saturday afternoon and attendees can vote for the best restored boot. This will be included as part of the technical score for the bootblacks.  

  • Contestants will be required to provide their own bootblacking supplies. If you have questions, you can talk about the basic kit with your Contestant Coordinator or Bootblack Lounge Coordinator.  


Contestants will be part of rehearsals during the day for the opening number and speech practice.

During portions of the day, Contestants will be bootblacking in the Bootblack Lounge area. This is part of your Tech Skills and Public Image scores.

Contestants will be introduced on stage and compete in the speech/formal wear category during the opening ceremonies on Friday night*.

*In the event of 12 or more IMsBB Contestants in a given year, only the top 10 Contestants, based on the interview scores, will be selected at the start of the contest to continue in the competition on Friday and Saturday night.


4. Saturday, April 21, 2018

Contestants will be part of rehearsals during the day for opening number.

During portions of the day, Contestants will be bootblacking in the Bootblack Lounge area. This is part of your Tech Skills and Public Image scores.

Contestants will restore the 2nd boot during the first 30 minutes of your time in the Bootblack Lounge

Contestants will be introduced on stage and compete in the pop question/bootblack wear during the contest on Saturday night

5. Sunday, April 22, 2018

All Contestants are expected to attend the brunch on Sunday morning regardless of winning or losing to support the new titleholders.

Winners will meet with the IMsLBB Productions, LLC Executive Producer and IMsL Foundation Board President on Sunday afternoon to review the contract and begin planning for the title year.

The winner will be required to sign an agreement concerning the rules and requirements of their title year to be provided by IMsLBB Productions, LLC.  


IV. Judging Criteria

IV. Judging Criteria


  1. Personal Interview/Tech Boot (30 Points) –  25 minutes

         Interviews are open to weekend attendees (note: Interviews are not open to other Contestants or primary handler for other Contestants) and will be held on Friday (IMsBB) and Saturday (IMsL). Both the IMsL and IMsBB judges will be part of the interviews for the IMsBB title.  


(10 Points) Each Contestant will be asked to talk about and present the boot they restored on Friday morning during the Tech Boot session.  The judges will ask questions so Contestants can demonstrate their technical knowledge and talk about their craft (5-7 minutes maximum – see technical knowledge below). The judges want to see how Contestants present their work and respond in front of an audience (this is not a score on the actual technical skill - see next section - this is for talking about their technique)


(20 points) The judging panel will then move into an open interview format for a period of 10-20 minutes and ask questions may include (but are not limited to) technical knowledge, community contribution, bootblack history and personal history.  


2. Technical Knowledge and Skill (30 Points)

          (25 Points) Contestants will be observed throughout the weekend and judged on their speed, finished product, and how they address specific challenges in shining boots.  Contestants will also be given 30 minutes on Thursday evening to restore one boot during the Tech Boot portion of the contest. The timed period will be open to the public and be held during the Queer Happy Hour in the Gateway Foyer. Scoring will be based on the judges' comparison of the boot to its untouched mate and techniques used to achieve it, Judges will score the process stated during the interview in this section of the scoring.


          (5 Points) Attendees will also be to vote using a bootblack coin on the boot restoration in the Bootblack Lounge. These coins will be counted on Saturday and Contestants will be ranked based on the number of votes they got.  The first place will receive five (5) points for the most coins, down to 0 if there are more than 5 Contestants.  These points will be added into the Technical Score.


3. Speech/Formal Wear (20 points)

          Contestants will present a ninety (90) second prepared speech (on any topic of their choice) on stage during the contest on Friday in their formal leather. This is designed to showcase your ability to get up in front of an audience, connect with them and motivate them!  Although mics will not be turned off, judges will be informed if the speech exceeds 90 seconds which may impact your potential score. Fifteen (15) points for speech and five (5) points for formal wear are available.


4. Pop Question/Bootblack Image (10 points)

         (7 Points) The Contestants will be asked a Pop Question on stage on Saturday night The tweet from the Contestant application will be read as their introduction.  Contestants will draw a pop question, be given a chance to read it, then the MC will read it to the audience and Contestants will have a mic to answer the question.  Avoid simply saying yes or no; Contestants should show off a quick wit and spontaneous side!


(3 Points) During the pop question, the Contestant will have the opportunity to show the audience and judges the outfit that conveys their bootblack image!.


5. Public Image (10 points)

    (6 Points) Throughout the weekend the judges will observe how the Contestants present themselves and interact with their customers and the general public; make bootblacking interesting, sexy, intriguing and unique. It will also encompass the part that separates the Contestant from someone who bootblacks to who you are as a bootblack.  This looks at the heart and passion you bring into the boots that you black. Whether rehearsing or socializing, the judges will be looking for a Contestant with strong communication skills, politeness, a willingness to share knowledge and a genuine desire to help build community. Additionally, the Contestant Coordinator will track your deliverables prior to the event and on site (getting materials in by due dates, on time for meetings etc) and provide a report to the judges on Contestant compliance.

    (4 Points) Judges will also review your silent auction display. Up to four (4) points come from the design of your table and how well your team (no more than 2 people) executed setting it up on Thursday night.


Heart & Soul Award

  In addition to the IMsL/IMsBB title, each Contestant is considered for the “Heart & Soul Award”.  One Contestant out of the entire Contestant class (IMsL/IMsBB) is selected for this award on Saturday night. During intermission on Saturday night, each Contestant votes by ballot for the Contestant who was most giving of time, energy, heart and soul during the weekend. The ballot is collected by the Contestant Coordinator. In the event of a tie, the den staff will also vote by ballot to select the winner. If the tie still occurs, the contestant coordinator will select the winner from the top two vote getters.


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Additional Information

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