On Point With: Jay Saint

The current Mr. Rockbear Jaime aka Jay Saint was barely able to enjoy his reign when lockdown was decreed. But thanks to an upcoming benefit in collaboration with Thotyssey, he’ll soon be able to serve his community and honor his sash.

Thotyssey: Hello Jay! How is Tropical Storm Henri treating you so far?

Jay Saint: So far, I can’t complain. I live alone, and this is my first time under hurricane condition… so I guess there’s a little fear. But I’m going to weather the storm with my puppy! I did groceries for the week and I have everything I need. I’ll be making stuffed shells, cuddling with my puppy, and watching Harry Potter until this storm passes. Henri can’t stop me from living my best life.

That sounds very pleasant, actually! Where might you be today if the bad weather wasn’t happening?

It’s Sunday, so I’d probably be nursing a hangover. How? Well, brunch of course: either at the Crooked Knife, Fresco’s Cantina, or Aura Cocina. Then I’d most likely find my way to Rockbar for Sunday Beer Blast. If not brunch and Rockbar, you’d likely find me tanning my cakes out at Riis Beach.

Given the whole situation with Covid and lockdown over the past year and half, you probably haven’t had much chance to enjoy your current Mr. Rockbear reign.

I was sashed in January 2020; I got to enjoy a whole month before lockdown. It’s been super disappointing. Everything I’ve looked forward to attending as Mr. Rockbear has been cancelled for two straight years. While it’s been disappointing, it’s also been necessary; I wouldn’t have it any other way. I haven’t been able to do much, but I will have plenty of opportunity in the future when things are better for everyone–sash or no sash. All things considered, I’m excited at the possibly of giving other people a shot at this title in the near future.

Was Rockbear your first leather / bear competition, by the way? And might there be more?

Yes. I competed for Mr. Rockbear at a very good point in my life; the pandemic has thrown that off a little. I think I need to focus on my mental health, and figuring out what my next moves are. I’m also still fairly new to the leather scene. While it’s one of my fetishes, I think I still have some learning to do. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m not ruling out future competitions. I just wouldn’t want to do them just to do them. I think there needs to be a right reason and a right time for the competitions, and the responsibilities they come with.

Yaz! So tell us, where are you from, and what’s your creative and / or professional background?

I am Puerto Rican, born and raised in Humboldt Park in Chicago. Humboldt Park is the East Harlem of Chicago; there’s a very vibrant Puerto Rican community there. It’s lovely.

With respect to my professional background, I graduated with my Masters of Public Administration back in 2015. Shortly after, I got a dream job with the federal government–I currently investigate cases of alleged discrimination in NY, NJ, and Puerto Rico. It’s been such a fulfilling six years. My job is tough, but civil rights is one of my passions. I take great pride in knowing that I’m doing my part to further equality — and I get paid to do it.

That is such important work, especially in these times! How did you find yourself amongst the bear community in NYC?

Well, I was very much in the closet when I was in Chicago. I didn’t feel as though I had the space to find Jaime. In 2011, I booked a flight to New York and I fell in love with it. In 2012, I started applying to Masters programs in the city. When I got in, I just packed my backs and moved to Brooklyn.

After about a year of living here, I came out. I had started to find myself. I was exploring what my sexuality meant and how I wanted to express it. It was very much a renaissance. I didn’t really know what it meant to be a “bear” or any other label, for that matter. I knew that, as a big boy, I felt out of place at some of the gay bars in Hell’s Kitchen or Chelsea… but when I went to Rockbar, I felt a spark. Everyone was either a big boy, or someone that loved big boys. The community embraces me with open arms. I’ve met some amazing people at Rockbar–people that have helped me love who I see in the mirror. I supposed that’s when I started identifying as a bear.

Now I have the privilege of holding this title and serving as the volunteer coordinator for The Urban Bear. I genuinely couldn’t be happier to have found this community.

The Urban Bear Weekend is coming to town in Sept… well, I guess the weekend is just called Urban Bear NYC now. You must be quite busy getting all those events ready!

Yes! Absolutely. We have a wonderful line up of events. It’s really going to be the weekend of the year! I highly encourage everyone to checkout TheUrbanBear.com for all of our events. I’m especially excited for the Honey Gala at the Museum of Sex–it’s going to be quite a night. If anyone is interested in volunteering for any of the events, feel free to contact me.

Let’s discuss our Lady of the Hour: Jae W.B.! Not only is she an incredibly talented singer-songwriter in the leather community and Rockbar family, but she’s also a sweetheart. How do you know her, and what does the world need to know about her?

I met Jae W.B. at Rockbar about three years ago, maybe four. All I know is that her energy instantly attracted mine; she’s such a vibrant person, so beautiful inside and out. I especially love that Jae is a fierce ally, from LGBTQIA+ visibility to body positivity. Jae sees people for who they are on the inside… that’s her superpower. If you’ve ever met Jae, you know that she is a ride or die…no questions asked. I feel honored to have her in my life. P.S., if you don’t know her, don’t hesitate to say hi the next time you see her gallivanting around the city. She lovessss meeting new people.

Jae’s ready for the next level of her life, and affirming surgeries and the recovery process are not easy to navigate financially. So Thotyssey is so happy to collaborate with you this coming Sunday at Rockbar for “Completely,” a benefit showcase event raising funds for her process! Jae’s good sis Cissy Walken is gonna host, many amazing nightlife all-stars will perform… how great is this gonna be?

I can’t even explain how amazing this show will be. Everyone is really going all out. We have drag, we have singers, we have bearlesque. And we certainly can’t forget Jae’s own performance–she’s an incredible singer, I know she’s going to turn it out. We also have some great raffles, thanks to our friends at KStraps, The Urban Bear, Uncle Charlie’s Piano Lounge, Artish Studios, and our very own SteeleToe Onyx. What more does anyone need? It’s going to be epic. We’re really pulling out all the heavy hitters for this one. Everyone who is anyone should make their way down to Rockbar to support. This is one show I wouldn’t miss.

What’s next for you?

Right now I’m focusing my attention to Jae’s fundraiser and Urban Bear, but my sources tell me the Mr. Rockbear competition might be happening soon. I don’t have specifics, but I know the next competition is going to be great. During my reign, I’ve gotten to meet so many people that have expressed interest in competing this time around. As I stated earlier, I’m excited to pass on this honor to the next Mr. Rockbear. I’ll be sure to give you more details as they become available.

Excellent! Okay, lastly: what, if anything, are you binge watching right now?

Mostly Twitter! No, seriously, I’m not really binge watching anything right now. I’m kinda waiting for something amazing to come across my screen. For the most part, I feel like I’ve seen everything I actually want to see. If any readers out there have any suggestions for good shows, feel free to hit me up… I’m open to suggestions.

See you Sunday, Jae!

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Jay Saint’s upcoming appearances, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

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