New York’s Ruby Valentine, The Alabaster Beauty, talks huge props, Mad Men, The Slipper Room, Bruce Lee, and Valentine’s Day.
Q: Your name, Ruby Valentine, how did you choose it? Does it perchance have anything to do with either the book or the old radio show?
The Ruby part of my name is in reference to my red hair, even though I went Platinum for many years. As for the Valentine, I always thought it was a great last name. It reminds me of an old 1930’s mob boss, or a detective or something along those lines. I just put them together and came up with a great stage name. I think there are two books out with the name Ruby Valentine in them, one being a children’s book, however believe I was performing before they came out.
Q: New York has a burlesque scene unique to any other in the country. In your travels, what are the regional differences you have found in the burlesque circuits?
The scene here is a bit different. When you see a show in NYC you can expect to see something you’ve never seen before, never thought you’d ever see, and your mind might possibly explode. I’m not saying you won’t get that kind of excitement elsewhere though, in NY you know you will. One difference I always notice is big huge props. In NYC it’s hard to have a huge prop, there’s never anywhere to put that sort of thing.
Q: I describe your style as classic, with a neo twist. How do you describe your burlesque style, and do you feel its important for entertainers to create a niche- or a trademark style, or be more versatile as performers?
If someone asks I will say that I mostly do a classic striptease, it’s just what comes naturally to me. I do so love to do the unexpected and ridiculous though. For me I really get a thrill from a nice, slow, sensual grind. I think it is always good to be versatile. A performer may fall into a certain style category without even thinking about it. The important thing is to do things the way you want to do them. Just remember the audience loves a surprise!
Q: In 2006, you appeared on the first episode of AMC’s Mad Men, how did you land the role, and could you describe your experience for us?
That scene was filmed in 2005, and aired in 2006, so it really seems like that happened forever ago. I was blonde then. The one very long day I spent filming that scene was fun. I hung out with the band for that scene, even sitting in the horn players car with them all for an hour or so… or was it the drummer. The whole thing was filmed at the Slipper Room, one of the best places for Burlesque (it is currently being re-built). I can’t exactly remember how I found out about the role, someone contacted me, told me the details and I went to the audition. For that I performed a slow sexy bump and grind. I remember they really really loved the way I took off my gloves, I think that may have landed the part for me.
Q: Your famous Bruce Lee inspired Nunchuck routine- we know the inspiration, but how did this act come to be? Was this a still you already had, or did the idea for the number come first and the training later?
The act really came from watching the movie “Black Dynamite”. After seeing that movie I realized how much I had always wanted to be skilled in the art of the Nunchucks and kick ass like Black Dynamite. I went to a Ninja store in midtown to get myself a pair of nunchucks, and ended up buying two pairs. I’m a huge Bruce Lee fan (in fact I’m watching The Green Hornet right now). I watched a lot of Bruce Lee movies, the thing is he is really fast. I ended up watching YouTube videos, bought one VHS tape from the 80’s and taught myself that way. Once I learned the basics I was able to go back to Bruce and pick up a few extra kick-ass moves, like the double nunchucks.
Q: Miss Valentine: What was your most memorable Valentine’s Day & what would be your perfect Valentine’s Day gift?
To be very honest, I really don’t go for Valentine’s day. I prefer to be adored and showered with gifts everyday.