Early Life and Education
Smith was born on March 14, 1986 in Winnipeg, Canada. He is the only child of Judy Eastman, a real estate appraiser, and David Smith, a real estate broker. Smith graduated from Kelvin High School in 2004.
Smith enrolled at the University of Manitoba following high school, where he earned his Bachelor of Science. Upon leaving school, he moved to Ottawa, Ontario and accepted a job in federal politics as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister. He later accepted a job as Director of Strategic Planning for the provincial Conservative party in his home town.
At age 25, Smith moved to Los Angeles to pursue his MBA at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he met his husband Michael. He graduated in 2013 on the Dean’s List of Honor Students.
In the Leather Community
While a regular at leather community events such as the Folsom Street Fair since 2012, Smith did not consider running for a leather title until he was urged by a friend in 2015.
In 2015, Smith competed in a class of 6 contestants and became Eagle LA Mr. Leather. Two months later, he competed against the nine other Los Angeles-area titleholders to become Mr. Los Angeles Leather.
Over the next six weeks, Smith trained for International Mr. Leather with a team including Charlie Matula and Hunter Fox, producers of the Eagle LA Mr. Leather and Mr. LA Leather contests, Mike Gerle, International Mr. Leather 2007, and Lou Romano, former Mr. Oil Can Harry’s Leather and handler to Gerle at IML.
In May 2015, Smith competed among a class of 52 and won the International Mr. Leather title.
International Mr. Leather
Smith traveled over 106,000 miles during his title year, and was gone from Los Angeles for 37 of the 52 weekends.
Smith’s stated mission as IML was to broaden the reach of the leather community beyond its core following. As part of this, he spoke at non-leather related forums including at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, and hosted events such as the official pool party at Gay Days Anaheim.
In September 2015, Smith traveled alone to Uganda to meet with gay rights activists, to learn about the experience of sexual minorities in African countries with repressive laws against homosexuality. He followed up his trip with visits to other countries considered hostile to sexual minorities, including Ukraine, Egypt, Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago. Upon the conclusion of his travels, Smith returned home to raise money and awareness for sexual minorities in countries in which they are persecuted.
In March 2016, Smith was featured on the cover of The Fight Magazine under the headline, “They Kill Gays, Don’t They?” He received a certificate of recognition from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, for his “dedicated efforts and untiring advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged LGBT domestic and global communities.”
In his IML step-down speech, Smith announced he would be continuing his international advocacy work with the Harvey Milk Foundation.
In May of 2016, Smith was the subject of a Buzzfeed documentary about leather contests. The video was viewed more than 500,000 times within the first week of its release.
The Leatherpedia Project
In April 2017, Smith launched the Leatherpedia Project, which is aimed at digitally memorializing the leather community in an encyclopedic format.
Career and Personal Life
Smith is Director of Business Development for Marvel Entertainment, where he has been employed since 2013. He lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles with his husband Michael Malenitza.
Awards and Honors
Certificate of Recognition – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (2016)
Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award – The San Diego Nicky Awards (2017)
Marcus Hernandez Leather Leadership Award (2016)