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Meet the stay-at-home dad who became Tom of Finland's first US ambassador

Terry Miller, 50, reveals how he went from stay-at-home dad to leather daddy icon in the Sex and Sexuality Issue.

2021-04-30

Words: Jamie Tabberer / Interview: Markus Bidaux

Tom of Finland's drawings of muscular men look almost too good to be true - until you lay your eyes on bodybuilder Terry Miller, a walking, talking Tom of Finland model.

That said, the first US ambassador of the ToF Foundation - set up in memory of iconic Finnish artist Touko Valio Laaksonen - used to be "super scrawny" with, as he calls them, "bird arms" in his youth.

The 50-year-old, who is married to sex advice columnist Dan Savage, recounts his body transformation in the Attitude Sex & Sexuality issue, out now to download and order globally.

Terry Miller for the Attitude Sex & Sexuality issue, out now (Photography: Roman Robinson)

Terry, who along with Dan is a dad to son DJ (now in his 20s), told us: "When he was really young, I was a stay-at-home dad and I was carrying him around all the time and it just became essential for me to get some exercise because when you're lugging around a 20lb 'bag of sand' all day, bird arms aren't going to cut it.

"So I started exercising in my 20s and it took me a while to get to where I am now."

On his Tom of Finland ambassadorship, Miller - who co-founded the It Gets Better project with his husband - said: "When I go to leather events such as IML [International Mr. Leater], Dore Alley, Folsom Street Fair or Folsom Europe in Berlin I can walk around and, in my full leathers, look pretty close to a Tom of Finland model. 

Photography: Roman Robinson

"It's just a good way of spreading the word about Tom of Finland, his art, his life, how he's created this leather lifestyle, the image that as leather guys we try to attain."

Speaking about body diversity in the leather community, Terry said: "[It's] inclusive of everything. There are bears and otters, puppies and skinny guys; there are all kids of guys in the leather community.

"Everyone's mostly friendly, so it's cool to just meet people and hang out at those events."

Read the full interview in the Attitude Sex & Sexuality issue, out now.

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