Over the years, burlesque star Dita Von Teese has singlehandedly transformed herself into a household name and force to be reckoned in Hollywood. The gorgeous vixen, who’s mostly known for her sultry work on stage, is also a model, costume designer, entrepreneur, and occasional actress—w-o-r-k! Here, we highlight 15 things you didn’t know about Dita Von Teese, the glam queen that doubles as every woman’s idol and every man’s dream.
1. Dita Von Teese wasn’t always the international starlet we know today. In fact, she was born in Rochester, Michigan as Heather Renée Sweet…in 1972. That’s right: She’s 42 years young!
2. Her mother was a fan of Golden Age-era Hollywood films, which led Von Teese to develop a fascination and love for the actresses of that period, especially Betty Grable.
3. A glimpse through some of her father’s Playboy magazines inspired her passion for lingerie when she was a teenager.
4. She chose her stage name by adopting the name “Dita” as a tribute to silent film actress Dita Parlo. For her successful 2002 Playboy cover, the magazine asked her to have a surname, so she chose “Von Treese,” which they misspelled as “Von Teese”—and voilà! Dita Von Teese was born.
5. Officially, the “Queen of Burlesque” began performing in 1992—in her own words, she “puts the tease back into striptease” with her shows, which include extravagant props and characters, usually inspired by 1930’s and 40’s musicals and films.
6. While her more well-known dances involve a carousel horse and a giant powder compact, her signature show includes a giant martini glass.
7. Through the wearing of a corset over the years, Von Teese has reduced her waistline to 22 inches, or 56 cm.
8. And, she can be laced down as far as 16.5 inches, or 42 cm.
9. In her early years, she appeared in fetish-related, soft-core adult films, including Romancing Sara and Matter of Trust.
10. To date, she does her own makeup and dyes her naturally blonde hair black at home.
11. According to the fashion icon, she has never used a stylist, stating, “The one time I hired a stylist, they picked up a pair of my 1940s shoes and said, ‘These would look really cute with jeans.’ I immediately said, ‘You’re out of here.’”
12. One of her favorite designers is Jean Paul Gaultier: “Jean Paul has a lot of the same obsessions that I do, like corsetry, ballet-peach satin and silks, black silk velvet, bullet bras and girdles. When I was a teenager, I would look for 1930s peach satin lingerie pieces to try to get his look for less, because there was no way I could afford his things back then. It was a dream come true to meet him and become friends with him.”
13. Von Teese collects Vintage China, particularly eggcups and tea sets.
14. Before their marriage (and consequent divorce), musician Marilyn Manson had been a longtime fan of hers. He was even a member of her website, before he first contacted her to dance in one of his music videos.
15. Contrary to popular belief, the glamour queen is pretty low-key, having told Los Angeles Magazine that her perfect day in L.A. is a combination of enjoying her home life and feeling like she accomplished something on her lingerie line or other creative projects.
Editorial Shoots > Photoshoots > 2015 > Session #2
The famous burlesque dancer gives us her views on the advert controversy..
We’ve always been fans of Dita Von Teese – the burlesque beauty challenges the beauty norms and embraces her enviable curves. But the star has gone up even higher in our estimations after giving us some invaluable advice on body image.
“Forget that beach body ready stuff; find role models that you can actually aspire to look like and appreciate different types of beauty,” the star, who recently launched her lingerie line into Harrods, told us, referring to the controversial Protein World advertisements that were unveiled earlier this year
“I’m somebody who has never had the typical beach bod,” she said. “I could never relate to the Victoria’s Secret supermodels or the Sports Illustrated models – I could never be like that.
“Instead, I looked at other idols – Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr… I looked at these totally beautiful women and thought, ‘I can aspire to that’.”
She also revealed her top beauty tips for finding the best-fitting underwear, tips for men looking to buy the women in their lives lingerie and why she’s not against plastic surgery…
The world’s most famous burlesque star, DITA VON TEESE, talks to CHRISTINA KO about following in the footsteps of her idols – and becoming one of them in the process
IF YOU THINK Dita Von Teese is impressive in performance, you should see her at a photo shoot. Arriving on set in the library of The China Club, she’s already impeccably done – hair coaxed into perfect pin waves, alabaster skin a poreless cream canvas, lips perfectly painted in that signature vermillion wash. And she’s done it all herself. We have hair and make-up personnel at the ready for touch-ups, but there’s nothing to touch up – not a subtle sheen of sweat from sitting under photography lights, not an errant strand of hair escaping the mothership after hours of leaning, lying and draping herself all across the room, no unpigmented part of lip from drinking water delicately through a straw.
By her own admission, Dita Von Teese exhibits a beauty that’s highly manufactured. A Rochester, Michigan girl originally named Heather Sweet and – gasp! – a natural blonde, she got into the pin-up game as a means of escaping small-town existence, using ballet training from her youth combined with a fascination for ’40s-era glamour to put together the looks and later burlesque shows that would become her calling card.
It may have been her relationship with and later marriage to Marilyn Manson that launched her as a household name, but her sultry burlesque acts – including her most famous performance, which takes place inside a gigantic martini glass – have kept her in demand across the globe, whether as a guest member of the Crazy Horse cabaret in Paris or as the special performer at cigar brand Davidoff’s recent private party during Art Basel in Hong Kong. “It’s all about pleasure,” she coos. “Smoking has to do with indulgence.”
And while 2015 is going to be a big performance year, Von Teese is increasingly focused on various brand extensions of her act and persona – lingerie and loungewear, perfume, gloves, stockings, nails and more. No need to envy Von Teese her elegance and put-togetherness, then – you can have a piece of it yourself.
In the latest issue of Prestige magazine, the 43-year-old burlesque vixen gave her best seductive smolder dressed in full hair and makeup glam complete with her signature bold red lip.
The ex-wife of Marilyn Manson confesses she rather take the time to get dolled up sharing: ‘I’ve never been interested in natural beauty.’