My husband, Ralph Bruneau, and I finally made it to Provincetown three summers ago after hearing friends gush about it for years. And we too fell in love with it. We've returned each year since. We look forward to it for months. We both work hard, and it's great to get away together and see old friends and new. But this year was a little different.
It's hard to believe it was less than two months ago that I was in the audience at International Mr. Leather in Chicago. I watched in shock and awe when that same husband of nearly 24 years won International Mr. Leather 2017. Not that he didn't deserve it. He worked hard all year, raising money for #BornPerfect to end conversion therapy nationwide while dazzling everyone with his charm and great smile. But still, when it happened I was suddenly aware that things might change.
Then one of the judges backstage congratulated me as Ralph's husband and added, "Hang on, buddy, you're in for a ride."
[RELATED: Who Is the New International Mr. Leather 2017?]
And it has already begun, starting with him on a float in the San Francisco Pride parade with me in the crowd as well as a slew of engagements and appearances over the next 10 months. Suddenly, my previously quiet professional husband has a huge social media following and ardent fans. I'm not complaining. I'm the one who gets to go home with him. But sometimes I'm not sure what to do with myself when he's the center of all that attention. And this year in P-Town has been a good training ground for me.
In Los Angeles I am a TV exec, but photography has always been a big part of my life. So when The Advocate contacted me to take photos of Bear Week in Provincetown, it was great synchronicity. Bears are also hams. They all love having their picture taken, and now I have a great new activity as I follow Ralph along on a portion of his well-deserved victory lap. If you see me, please smile for the camera.