Fiona pepe - founder & Creative director
Expanding upon an 11 year career as a performer, Fiona Pepe is re-imagining cabaret with her bold new company, VALTESSE. Merging classical dance training, cabaret expertise, and a love of erotic art, Fiona brings her signature aesthetic to the stage. An extensive background in art direction, fashion photography, wardrobe styling, as well as a love for all things mystical have added to her unique and powerful presence. With an aim to connect communities, celebrate human desire, and propel others personally and artistically, Fiona leads Valtesse as a company of the future.
Cybele leon - marketing management, costume design, & creative team
Cybele Leon began selling handmade lingerie in strip clubs at the age of 17. She has since continued to honor the human form and sex-positivity through an array of media including costume design, painting, and movement. Cybele has also become a multi-talented performer with experience in hoop, lyra, and burlesque. Combining her costuming, marketing, and entrepreneurship backgrounds with a lifelong passion for performance art, Cybele lives out the Valtesse message of female power in art and business, and passionately promotes the company's message in the community.
Anna Urband - production manager & creative team
Anna Urband has spent over a decade performing in musical theater, and bolsters a unique cross-discipline of song, dance, and acting. Her time spent on stage and in theater production, combined with an excitement for the bizarre and avant-garde, bring a deeply narrative and entertaining gaze to the Valtesse team. Anna is also proud to be leading the company's commitment to ensuring a place for women of color in performance that is free of stigma and stereotype. As a radical sex-positive feminist company, Valtesse is resolute in creating inclusive and intersectional cabaret.
Alexandra Collier - corporate & non-profit relations
Combining her passion for the power of creative arts and community development, Alexandra is proud to be a part of a women-run production company that is changing the face of burlesque and championing women, girls and LGBTQ rights. Having run an international PR company in her native UK, Alexandra brings a wealth of knowledge in business development and corporate affairs to assist Valtesse in garnering success. As a representative for Legal Voice, Valtesse’s partner non-profit organization, Alexandra is excited to introduce burlesque and women’s empowerment to new, diverse audiences.
VALTESSE; OUR NAMESAKE
Born into poverty in France during the late 1800s, Emilie-Louise Delabigne was determined to break out of the slums and create her own destiny. The first step was changing her name to VALTESSE, which she chose for it's similarity to 'Votre Altesse' ('Your Highness').
Women of her time were expected to adhere to polite society, but through her intelligence and ingenuity Valtesse was able to create a shameless identity for herself while engaging in the taboo of prostitution. She became the muse of painters, was made a countess by Napoleon III, and by the end of her life was widely admired in aristocratic circles. She owned her own house, acquired an impressive art collection, and traveled around Paris in her own coach. Her most prized possession was a custom brass bed with a 'V' engraved into the headboard.
Valtesse took the game and spun it on its head. She used her feminine power to carve out a place for herself, and her legacy is what has inspired our namesake.