Flanked by friends, fellow leather enthusiasts, and an entire cheering section of his own, Emërson Anicëto took the title at the 2019 Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather competition on Sunday, January 20.
“Everything was perfect, as it always is here,” the current Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish said after winning the coveted Mr. MAL title. “I really like this event. And I saw all my friends in the audience. That’s what family and friends do — support each other in both good and bad times. So it meant a lot to me to see them there.”
Appearing on stage in a leather armband and jockstrap, the 5’11”, 211-pound, profoundly bearded Anicëto attracted more than his share of attention from judges and audience members alike as he flexed his muscles and showed off his various tattoos and piercings.
When it came time for the dress leather part of the competition, he was impeccably dressed from head to toe in a cap, black leather shirt with red trim, pants, and shiny black boots. But Anicëto’s charm was equally as dazzling, as he answered a tongue-in-cheek question about a fantasy involving introducing his favorite kinks to Santa Claus. Anicëto also made a significant impression when he met in private with the judges for a much longer interview session.
“Emerson was just consistent the entire weekend,” said Destiny B. Childs, one of the seven judges. “He’s got a great personality, and he’s very personable and very outgoing. That’s something the Centaurs are looking for in their Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather: someone who’s going to represent them and be their ambassador. He had the entire package.”
Childs was impressed by Anicëto’s pledge to use his platform as Mr. MAL — and potentially as International Mr. Leather, if he’s lucky enough to win that competition in Chicago this May — to serve as an ambassador for the leather, fetish, and kink communities both in the United States and abroad, including his native Brazil.
“I was looking at the person within,” says Childs. “I was looking for someone who was going to be able to go out there in the spotlight and represent not only themselves and the community, but the Centaurs as well. I was looking for someone who, no matter what scene they were in or what bar they were in, would have that professionalism to be a person that someone could talk to.”
Anicëto has promised to utilize his large number of social media followers to help raise awareness around the leather community, the LGBTQ community, and causes close to his heart.
One such cause is the “Stay Pink and Blue” campaign, which raises money for organizations fighting prostate and breast cancer, both of which he’s survived. Before and after Sunday’s competition, several of Anicëto’s friends and fans were selling T-shirts bearing his face and profile to audience members, with proceeds benefiting the campaign.
“I’m a three-time cancer survivor,” Anicëto said. “I’ve been given some extra time here, so I feel I need to do something for others.”