Dita Von Teese "Queen of Burlesque" is a classically trained ballet dancer turned American show girl. She is renowned for single-handedly reviving burlesque. She is also a model, lingerie designer, an entrepreneur and an occasional actress.
Born Heather Renee Sweet, a name that she refers to as a "stripper name", she grew up in a small Midwestern town in Rochester, Michigan. She admits that she was a freckled-face natural blonde and that there was a time that she succumb to the contemporary "California girl look" by tanning her skin and wearing pink lipstick.
She later on transformed her blonde bombshell look into a glamorous 1940's pin-up. Her signature makeup is the old Hollywood feline flick, lipstick with different shades of red and heavily penciled brows with soft arch. She then dyed her hair blue-black and styled it with vintage waves or a chignon on a regular day. On the upper part of her right lip, she has a mole tattoo which is supposed to be a tiny heart but her tattoo artist refused. Some of her beauty and style icons are Marilyn Monroe, Hedy Lamarr and Rita Hayworth.
"Beauty is my art, it's my nourishment, it's my salvation."
A quote by Dita Von Teese, an excerpt from her book, Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour
What I greatly admire about her is that she is very passionate about being glamorous from head-to-toe all the time. Dita is enamored with the golden-age generation and is faithful to that lifestyle. You will rarely see her without makeup and a hair out of place. On the other hand, you will never see her wearing sweatpants and a loose T-shirt, unless it's Halloween.
She is not an advocate of natural beauty, what she teaches is that a woman should strive to be glamorous instead of the common au naturel presence that people see in the magazines, like Sports Illustrated. In an interview, she mentioned that she appreciates embellished good looks and is the main reason why she loves the women in the classic era.
For her looks, she is a DIY lady. Von Teese does not have a glamour team hiding under her bed, waiting for her to wake up. She does her makeup, styles and dyes her hair and chooses her own wardrobe. But she did admit that on big photo shoots, a glam squad is involved.
Dita's fashion sense is eccentric and refined. She has personal connections with elite designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Louboutin who even created some custom made shoes for her.
Here are some of her looks on the red carpet:
On a typical day, she still strive to have an effortless yet elegant look.
And if you think her style is not unconventional enough, this is her wedding gown when she got married with Marilyn Manson.
For her dancing career, she dream of becoming a ballerina but didn't had enough talent for the craft. She then stated that she didn't regret not making it in the ballet scene because a certain age is required for you to stay on the spot but in burlesque, you are free to perform in any age. Before entering the vintage ecdysiast scene, she started as a regular stripper in Orange County, something that she doesn't deny.
For her burlesque shows, she is very hands-on down to the very last detail. She denoted that before her spectacle will begin, she's the queen and she's always right. Dita controls the photographs that will be released and the props should be well made. As for cellulite, since she's shimmying almost nude, Von Teese voiced that the cure is "pink light and dimmer switches".
Here are some of her photos for her stripteaser number. Her signature performance is dancing in a giant martini glass.
She never equates glamour with having funds. Although she has lots of posh belongings, like her Louboutins, Dita asserted that she still uses a $10 hair dye, a low-priced lipstick, previously owned vintage clothes and antiques in flea markets.
My favorite thing about her is that she is in touch with her femininity and does not run away from it. She grew up with humble beginnings but she worked hard to get where she is now. Growing up, she was told that she's beautiful but not in comparison to her sisters. Dita knew that her features are standard. She stands 5'5 (not supermodel material) and her body assets are not extraordinary. So what she did is she reinvented herself, gave herself a different name, a different look and a different lifestyle. The beautiful thing about it is that she did it with razzle-dazzle. I don't think she's being a phony like some of her detractors say, because you're only a phony if you're running away from what you truly desire. As a little girl, she knew exactly who and what she wanted to be and that's where she is now.