We talk to a lot of titleholders at Bear World Magazine and all of them are beautiful and have something important to say. The motivations for competing vary by the person which is why it is so special when the motivation for competing and the message the person has to impart become intertwined, like it has for Pedro Coronado Jr, the current reigning Mr. RGV Leather, 2023.
I had the honor of conversing with this truly inspired member of the bear community and leather man. See what he has to say below.
BWM: Can you tell us a bit about your background? Including name, where you are from and current city of residency?
Pedro Coronado Jr (PCJ): My name is Pedro Coronado Jr, from Brownsville TX. I’m 1st generation Mexican “American.” Like the song says “por mi madre soy Mexicano, por destino soy americano.” I’ve lived on the Texas Mexico border my entire life spending long summers in Mexico with my extended family.
BWM: What drew you to the bear/ leather communities?
PCJ: Watching Mexican soap operas was my first exposure to hairy men. Their hairy chests back in the 80s and 90s were always exposed. Not only did I realize I loved men, but hairy men. Then when I moved to Dallas after high school, I met my first leather man. It was my friend’s roommate and I saw this tall, beautiful man in full leather, head to toe, and my friend said, “Yes, he has that effect on everyone.”I remember the following weekend going to the leather store and buying my first pair of leather pants and I felt sexy as fuck. I thought I was the shit at 18 years old in my first leather piece.
Bears have always been my kryptonite though. I don’t know if it’s because I’m only 5’3, but thick, hairy men have always given me this sense of security and safety. Some might call it daddy issues; I call it daddy comfort. There is a vulnerability that bears have that I think is so sexy. I hope I don’t sound like a bear predator. It’s not easy to expose ourselves in this age where we are all expected to look a certain way. I’m so glad that the Dad Bod scene is in and celebrated by all people. This has made it easier for bears to feel comfortable in their own skin although we still have so many people out there that don’t feel that way. I think it’s our job to celebrate all body types even if it’s not our thing. It’s about respect. We have enough haters outside our community, we don’t need any more especially coming from our own community.
BWM: You don’t sound predatory at all Pedro! That’s one of the most honest answers I’ve ever gotten to that question. What made you want to compete for the title?
PCJ: There has always been a leather scene in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). I decided to run to put our leather community in the spotlight. The RGV is not always portrayed in the most positive way since we are on the border and our population is at least 90% Latino/é/x. We are on the news for border issues dealing with asylum seekers, drugs and human trafficking. What people don’t know is that we are a progressive, loving and safe community. Because of all this I decided to run, win the title and let the world know we are just as good as New York and San Francisco’s of the world. I also love leather so it’s a win win.
BWM: How was your experience competing? What was the process like? What was your favorite part?
PCJ: Omg, I have a huge respect for people who compete in pageants. In most leather competitions we don’t have to have a “talent” per day, we just have focus on our interview, our stage speech, formal attire and know how to work a crowd during the skin performance. The best part of competing is the relationships you develop with the other contestants, your leather siblings. I have created these amazing bonds for life. I can honestly say that I have family all over the place now.
BWM: What does winning this title mean to you, specifically?
PCJ: This title was the first of its kind for our region. There has never been a Mr. RGV Leather title ever. It was not only an honor to win the title but a privilege that I take very seriously. I want to be a role model and set a precedence for the next person and onward, whoever continues on with the title. I want them to realize that they will be on a world stage, and we need to represent our community as one that is loving, respectful and looking to make a change for the better.
BWM: What are the responsibilities associated with your title?
PCJ: My responsibilities were to increase the visibility of the leather community in the RGV, make it known to the world that we have a leather community and to represent the Rio Grande Valley at IML in Chicago – take our place on our main stage.
BWM: What are your goals for your title year? Where will you be appearing?
PCJ: My main goal is to educate our community about the leather community. I want to make sure we squash any misconceptions about who we are and what we represent. One of my main goals was to interview people from the leather community from all over the world and bring that knowledge and information to people who would listen. I decided to use social media as a platform not only to reach out to my community but to those emerging leather communities that may have similarities to ours -like thinking their leather community is small but also realizing that we all start from humble beginnings. We don’t all have to look the same or have to have an Eagle bar in our communities to build leather communities. It can start in someone’s living room, hometown gay bar or even online. It’s all about building community for likeminded people.
BWM: What are some important issues you feel that need to be addressed in the bear/ leather communities?
PCJ: Whenever we throw bear or leather events we always get the same question, but I’m not a bear or I don’t have that much or any leather. We always tell people that it’s not about how much leather you own or how much of a bear you are. It’s about what it means to you and how it makes you feel. For bear events we tell people, if you are not hairy and only weigh 115 lbs but feel an inner bear within you, then you can call yourself a bear. It’s tabout feeling good in your own skin and loving yourself. Loving and not judging other people based on how they look. Us bears may be big but there is always space for people in our group. For leather folk, even if you only have a cuff or boots, please join our events. Even if you don’t have any leather at all, but admire those who do wear it, we encourage you to join and learn what we are all about. We want to increase our presence, not limit it. At least in our community.
BWM: Where can we find you on Social Media?
PCJ: You can find me on Facebook Page (Mr. RGV Leather 2023) or on Instagram (@mrrgvleather2023). I typically do live sessions on Instagram on Tuesdays around 7pm CST. I do them in English, Spanish and Spanglish, lol.
BWM: Anything else you’d like to mention that we have not covered?
PCJ: I got the opportunity to compete at IML 2023 and was part of the Class of 45. It was an honor to represent my community on this international stage. I never thought I would end up being in the top 20 nonetheless placing 8th in the final 20. If this short brown Latino from a border town can achieve this, I hope the person reading this article can get the courage to dream big. It’s not about winning, it’s about the impact you leave behind.