It’s been almost a year since Wings last talked with Raphael Maciel, AKA Mister Leather Brazil. This time around, I had the opportunity to sit down in person with him at his beautiful home in Sao Paulo. We discussed everything from Bolsonaro to glitter, and delved a little deeper into the incredibly humble and disarmingly honest man behind the title.
Thank you for meeting with me during such a busy period. Let us start with the pressing question of the moment: how is your carnival? “It is amazing but intense for sure! It is one of the best times of the year in Brazil. I arrived back from my holidays in Europe on Friday morning and started carnival on Friday evening. Crazy! Tonight there is a huge fetish party which I should attend. Tomorrow there is another one and another after that.”
How about the Leather On The Street party which you mentioned in your previous interview. How was that? “Well, I was drinking Skol Beats all day long and I didn’t eat anything. I came home around 11pm, a little drunk, so my plan was to grab some food, take a shower, sober up a little and head out. I went to my room to sit for a second and the next thing I remember was waking up the next morning, still fully dressed in my harness, leather shorts and bowtie. Not to mention glitter everywhere!”
That should be a new line for Mister B. Kinky carnival wear — glittery leather!
“Haha! Can you imagine? I would buy it for sure. I love glitter!”
It is great that with the current political climate in Brazil, parties like Leather On The Street are still happening. What have you noticed, if anything, has changed since Bolsonaro came into power? “When Bolsonaro was elected, I received a lot of messages of love and support. We were all very frightened that day. Throughout his campaign and first weeks in power, attacks on LGBQT+ people tripled. Since then things have seemed to calm down and stay as such for the gay community. What has he got to gain? He’s already in power. Why fight the gay community now? For hate? I am an optimist and I will always say I think everything will be ok. I am actually more afraid of his vice president because he is the more proactive of the two so I would rather let Bolsonaro stay in power and finish his term. The problem is not always with the person in power, but with their followers. Even with another president in power, homophobic people will always be fighting our community and we must persevere, support one another and continue being true to ourselves.”
At this moment the doorbell rings and Raphael excuses himself, giving me a quick chance to observe my surroundings. The living room is brightly lit and modestly furnished with the salmon-pink couch being the centrepiece. In the corner stands a shelf, neatly displaying an impressive collection of childhood toys, travel memorabilia and nostalgic ornaments. In this soft and sentimental setting, it was hard to imagine any ‘pony-play’, CBT or sadistic activities happening here! My confusion came as a pleasant surprise.
You don’t come across as the stereotypical leatherman.
“Thank you. I’m not! People ask me about that because they are scared that they have to behave in a certain way. I tell them ‘no’, just look at me. Take music, for instance, because
I am a leatherman, it is assumed I listen to rock music but that is most certainly not the case. I listen to Xuxa. She is a Brazilian pop-culture icon, tv-show hostess and singer from the 80’s and 90’s. I have collected all her records and CDs like a true fangirl. This is just one example of something that I like and I shouldn’t have to pretend otherwise to fit some stereotype. Someone posted on instagram that it is disgusting that the Mister Leather Brazil likes Xuxa.
I just think to myself, ‘next time you should pick someone who likes the same things as you because this is me.’ Sorry!”
That is very commendable and hopefully relatable to lots of our readers. Do people ever turn to you for advice on this?
“People come to me to say they were afraid to join the leather community because of certain behaviours they thought were expected of them. ‘I don’t own much leather, only some gloves’ or a harness or something small’. I tell them not to worry and that they should just come as they are! If they like the smell, they like the touch or they simply like to see leather, then yes, they are welcome. With time they can build a leather collection, or not!”
“YOUR SASH IS THE BEST CHASTITY DEVICE EVER”
Are there any misconceptions regarding sex that come with your title? “Well, yes actually. I am a leatherman and I love my leather and fetishes but I don’t need those things to be involved every time I have sex. I like vanilla sex. No, I love vanilla sex! When I have a guy coming over who does not want to be stamped on by my boots, no problem! It also makes things easier for me just to throw on a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops.”
Did your sex life change when you became a “Mister”? “Before I was elected, I went to parties and kissed a lot of guys and fucked a lot of guys. Now when I go to a party and I’m wearing the sash, forget about it! Guys will come my way to take a picture and smile or wave but that is it. I think they are scared of me. I was at a party recently and it took me hours to even kiss anyone because of this sash. Someone eventually admitted they were afraid because I am somewhat of a celebrity in the leather scene. I had to chase after him, begging ‘No! Please! Kiss me! I want you!’. It really does not help that I am very shy. No one will believe it but it is true. I actually have a fear of cruising. Wearing the sash scares other people off and I am too shy to approach them, so we end up in stalemate. My friends will say I am a slut. Yes, I can be a slut but a shy one! I’ve been a judge and tally master at quite a few of the elections the last year and when someone wins I will go up to them and whisper in their ear ‘Your sash is the best… the best chastity device ever!’”
What have you done with your year as Mister Leather Brazil? “I have been travelling around a lot, representing my country and the fetish scene we have here. I have been to Europe four times in six months! I went to Berlin, Nice, Barcelona and Madrid, Helsinki – and the list goes on and on. Coming in contact with other communities, Misters and clubs has completely opened my mind. Someone told me he could not understand ‘leather’ and ‘Brazil’ in the same sentence before he met me. I am so grateful to have been able to show the rest of the world this subculture of Brazil. We have leather. We want to join you. We exist. We are growing up. We are doing something here in South America. Even with the high temperatures, we are living the leather lifestyle and adapting it to us. That is why I wear the sash; to promote my country, not me!”
So your travels developed an awareness for your community and put Brazil on the ‘leather map’, so to speak. How did it develop or change you personally? “It was the best year of my life but not because of the sash. The sash opened the door to all these experiences, but the real prize was the people that came into my life. These people have taught me a lot about being a good leatherman but more importantly about being a good person. The amount of love I experienced blew my mind. So many people told me they would love me to come back. I would tell them, ‘by the time I manage to travel to see you again I will not be Mister’. It took them some time, but they made me realise that they do not want the Mister, they want me. That has been the biggest blessing in my life. They say ‘Congratulations on a job well done – now we know your country and community but we love you.’ I have no words to describe it.”