1996 IMsL

Contestant Class

A new record was set with 20 women competing for IMsL 1996 with three returning contestants from 1995:

  • Kim Airs, Brookline, MA

  • Leslie Anderson, Bosque Farms, NM (returning)

  • Treveylan Anderson, Anchorage, AK (deceased)

  • Kat Alessi, San Diego, CA

  • Mikki Mixmaster Avis, Denver, CO

  • Jill Carter, Willow Grove, PA

  • Miss Ginni, Oklahoma City, OK

  • Jan E. Heifner, Baltimore, MD

  • Beth Downey, San Francisco, CA

  • Beth Kelley, Madison, WI (returning)

  • Darlette Knox, Minneapolis, MN

  • Belinda Scott, St Louis, MO

  • Max Steiner, Adelphi, MD

  • Julie “Lynn” Maher, Reno, NV

  • Miranda von Stockhausen, Santa Clara, CA

  • Jan E. Heifner, Baltimore, MD

  • Thumper, Fremont, CA

  • Lisa Weiszmiller, Los Angeles, CA

  • Les Thundercloud, Milwaukee, WI

  • Zan, Chicago, IL (returning)


Here is shot of the last 4 IMsL’s at the brunch the next morning sporting “frocks” and frolicking thanks to Shan Carr!

The class was so large, that like in 1995, a cut was made after the interviews to the top 11 who competed on Saturday night.  Jill Carter took the title and was the first black woman to hold the title.  Other women of color who held the title up to this date were Judy Tallwing McCarthy and Blair Kituhwa. Jill was also the first IMsL to win that came from Pennsylvania.  Max Steiner was 1st runner up and Leslie Anderson was the 2nd runner up. You can read more about the contest in Cuir . The travel fund was over $7000 raised during the basket auction on Friday night.

The women’s leather community was becoming more visible with each passing year.  As IMsL 1996 arrived, we heard more discussions about Safe, Sane, Consensual and the Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M – located in Chicago but serving the world – was the tag line!) opened in November 1995 and began collecting our leather history.  Bare Images Productions under Amy who produced the IMsL Weekend and a newly formed group, LeatherWomen United, founded by pat baillie, IMsL 1995, were asking the women’s community to get involved. pat had been on the cover of The Leather Journal during her title year (which had not happened since Susie Shepherd in 1989) provided national and international visibility for Leatherwomen.


The contest rolled in the city of Brotherly (and Sisterly) love, Philadelphia, PA on July 19-21, 1996 with the contest on July 20.   Judges were Mary Dante, Rev. Pat Langlois, Joe Gallagher, Mon Cherie, Sky Renfro, V.K. McCarty and Dave Rhodes with tallies Stacey and W.W. Walker.  The MC’s were Frank Nowicki and Sarah Humble. Performers were Digital, D.O. and Mr J.D. Bourchet, International Mr Fantasy 1995.


Jill’s theme for her year was “Each One Teach One” and she worked tirelessly during the year to raise funds for the Leather’s Archives during her title year and went on to create Ms World Leather title and now works now on the Carter/Johnson Library.

Information on Ms World Leather and the Carter/Johnson Library is available online.

We need class pictures or any other items from the 1996 contest.  We are looking for pictures or videos from those days and especially the contest.  If you have any of these, please send them to imslhistory@gmail.com.  Do you know where these women are or have a way to contact them?

IMsL 1996 - Jill Carter


Jill Carter, International Ms. Leather ’96 has been active in the leather lifestyle for over 25 years. She has been an officer or founding member of various organizations across the United States, (including Leather and Lace and The Lesbian Sex Mafia) a speaker or workshop presenter for Leather organizations and colleges, and is a frequent writer for The Leather Journal.

Jill is the recipient of the Pantheon of Leather Woman of the year award 1988, Readers Choice Woman of the Year 1998, The N.L.A. International Order of (illegible) and the National Emerald Award from the State of Washington.


(Ed. Note: This is Jill’s judges bio from the 1998 contest.)