As I enter the homestretch of my program, I’m hard at work on my next moves. While I’ll miss Columbia, I’m excited for my next chapter. When I tell people I’m in the process of applying to law school, the typical response is that they’re surprised I’m pursuing “a career change”. Here’s the thing: I’m not. That reply is generally met with befuddlement. Allow me to explain.
Art and creativity have always been at the very heart of my personality, goals, and values. If you had asked me early in life if I thought I’d end up pursuing a business degree, I would have laughed heartily. After all, I was an artist, and while I’ve always considered myself an entrepreneur, I would never have dreamed I would find myself in business school. Yet here I am. Similarly, prior to starting grad school, if you had asked me if I’d end up heading to law school, I would have laughed even harder. But things change, and now I’m taking LSATs and filling out law school applications. Pursuing my MAM has helped me to become a better artist, and to run my business more efficiently and sustainably, allowing me more bandwidth to create the art that I love. It’s made my creative life so much richer, and I believe this next step will, too.
So, you may be wondering, how did it come to this? Well, in registering for classes my first semester of this program, I decided to take a course called Managing and Licensing Intellectual Property, taught by Professor Joe Bogdan. While I had never wanted to pursue law, I’ve always been fascinated by and, as a creative, had a vested interest in many areas of law. I saw this class as an opportunity to explore how copyright law impacts and benefits artists. It was a great class, and I learned a ton! More than that, though, my experience in this course sparked within me a latent passion for law that I was unaware of. I began to examine the ways in which I could apply the takeaways from that class to my career, and began to realize how useful a deeper understanding of the law would be to my work. It soon became clear that I wanted to study law further, and believe me, no one was more shocked about this revelation than I.
Now I’m in the process of applying to law schools with the intention of concentrating in intellectual property law and contract law, particularly as they apply to arts and entertainment. I’m especially interested in exploring how these laws apply to sex workers, since I work in adult entertainment, as do many of my consulting clients. I’m hoping to leverage my legal education to become a stronger resource and advocate for my clients so they don’t just know their rights, but also the ways in which the law can benefit them. Much of the adult industry is rife with shoddy contracts, underpayment, stolen work, and various stakeholders profiting disproportionately off of the content and labor of sex workers.
When most people think about sex work and the law, they think of decriminalization, vice laws, and related issues. These areas of law need so much reform, especially given that the majority of sex workers are also members of other marginalized groups. While these topics are very much in my wheelhouse as a sex worker and an activist, there are already many incredible lawyers fighting for decriminalization, and I find that my professional strengths and legal interests lie elsewhere. I aim to utilize my legal education to help sex workers, artists, and others not just to survive, but to thrive, by aiding them in protecting their intellectual property and business interests.
Things change, but not everything does. I’m still very much an artist. I’m still fighting for social justice, making weird and wonderful work, and trying to give others a voice. My creative work can be distilled down to one core theme: creating a more equitable world. This next move will help me take this mission to the next level.
Getting my master’s degree was originally going to be a stopping (or at least pausing) point in my education. Returning to Columbia for grad school helped me to unearth something within myself that I otherwise likely never would have. What I thought was going to be an ending has turned into the beginning of something entirely new, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!