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Cruel Valentine


Business and Entrepreneurship, Master of Arts Management

Cruel Valentine is an award-winning, international burlesque and adult entertainer, actor, dancer, educator, writer, and artist. In addition to touring and teaching privately, Valentine has worked as a board member with several landmark Chicago performance art organizations, as well as offering creative business consulting services to organizations and individuals in the creative, adult, and other niche industries. Their teaching credits include several TA roles at Columbia College Chicago, and various other educational and speaking engagements, both domestic and abroad, including workshops and presentations at several of Chicago’s major universities, covering a wide range of topics including dance instruction, business, sexual health, sex worker rights, and more.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE DOING BEFORE YOU CAME TO COLUMBIA.

Before I came to Columbia, I was just leaving Columbia! I received my BA in Musical Theatre from Columbia in 2018, and took a year off to reset, tour, purchase a home, and adopt my wonderful cat. In the fall of 2019, I returned to begin the MAM program, and it’s been a wonderful journey thus far!.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE COLUMBIA FOR YOUR GRADUATE STUDY?

I began my undergraduate work at Columbia in 2006. After completing most of my program, family medical emergencies took me away from school for several years, until I was able to return in the Spring of 2018 to finish out my final semester. My educational path has been a long and complicated one, Columbia never gave up on me. During my time away from school, I pursued professional performance with a fiery passion. I taught myself how to run a business, and have seen great success in my career. I decided to apply to the MAM program to help round out my business knowledge and fbuild upon my consulting offerings. I could have applied to more traditional MBA programs, but I knew that the fusion of arts and business that Columbia offers was the perfect fit for me. For a long time, finishing my undergraduate degree seemed like it wasn’t in the cards for me, and the thought of ever being able to pursue a master’s degree seemed beyond impossible, but I’ve made it this far, and I’m not stopping anytime soon. I’m currently beginning the process of applying to law school, and I’m also pursuing a professional certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion online. None of this would have ever been possible if I had never discovered Columbia.

TELL US ABOUT A PROJECT YOU’RE WORKING ON THAT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT.

After co-launching a successful workshop on the topic of online sex work and creative patronage in August, I’m currently developing a course on the intersections of art and sex work, that explores the parallel histories of the two and examines legislation, past and present, impacting the freedom of expression in both realms.