Dita Von Teese talks to us EXCLUSIVELY about being sexy, keeping fit and THAT martini glass routine
DITA Von Teese is a busy lady.
When the famous burlesque dancer isn’t performing at the Crazy Horse or dancing in a martini glass she is coming up with new routines and keeping her to-die-for figure in shape.
Ok.co.uk snatched a precious moment with the curvy beauty to find out what she’s been up to recently, how she keeps fit and what she likes to wear in bed…
Hi Dita, how are you and what have you been up to recently?
I've been great! I've been spending a lot of time at my Paris apartment, taking French lessons and learning to live as a Parisienne! But now I am getting set to go back to Los Angeles to prepare for my shows at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas at The Crazy Horse Paris there.
What are your naughty wardrobe must-haves?
Great fitting lingerie. I always buy sexy bras of good quality that fit me well and give a good shape, and I always buy the string and the bikini that match. I am also obsessed with the perfect vintage fully-fashioned back-seamed stockings, so much so that I have my own brand which are made precisely as they were in the 1940s,
You obviously have an incredible (and world famous!) figure, how do you stay in shape?
I mostly do pilates on a reformer, but I also do yoga and take ballet classes. For me, variety is the key to a successful workout regime. When I get bored, I don't want to go.
What are you most comfortable wearing?
Something uncomfortable!! Ha!
Do you ever take a day off and just throw on some jeans/jogging bottoms?
Kidding aside, yes, of course I have days "off", and I do like to be physically comfortable. I don't know why everyone thinks jeans are so easy and comfy... I can get dressed more quickly and comfortably- not to mention chicly - in a pretty 50's era cotton day dress with a single zip up the back!
With jeans you have to squeeze into them, button, zip, etc then you have to find a shirt to wear with it, and finally some silly socks and trainers! I grab one of my vintage dresses, one quick zip up the back, and I slip on a pair of ballet flats or easy heels, and voila, I look nice and I got dressed quickly and easily and I'm off!
I hate that "I don't want anyone to think I care but look at me in my carefully-planned disheveled look" thing! I don't actually spend hours getting ready on a day-to-day basis, and I'm certainly not about spending a fortune on or making the effort with something as unappealing to me as jeans. I look silly in jeans.
What do you wear to bed?
Either a little lace slip or nothing at all. I love being nude in very fine sheets. I keep a dressing gown next to the bed and that's what I slip in and out of to wear around the house.
Who is your style inspiration at the moment (that is current)?
My modern influences are designers like John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier, and I reference things from books I have and old films I see. I definitely see other celebrities who look lovely, but my inspirations go beyond "lovely" and into eccentric, over-the-top territory!
Which staple item of clothing should every girl have in their wardrobe?
The perfect black dress that shows a bit of cleavage, but not too much of anything else. There should be one focal point. If you find the perfect dress, you can wear it over and over in different ways, with a great statement brooch, or a pair of shoes and handbag in a vibrant color, with gloves or a hat. I have a few of these perfect black dresses that I wear over and over, but no one notices it's the same dress because I wear it with different accessories.
How can girls with a tight budget achieve the ‘Dita’ look?
It's actually fairly easy because the fact is, my look is derived from not having money to buy expensive clothes. That is the reason I began collecting vintage clothes! I could see parallels between my favorite designers and vintage styles, so I would shop for vintage. Nowadays I see so many modern made clothes of all price points, I think it's become quite easy to look chic on a budget.
My number one rule these days is to buy timeless, good quality pieces that I can wear year after year rather than trying to buy lots and lots of clothes. I would suggest to save up for the day you see that perfect dress that you might have considered to be too expensive. I find that it's actually more economical than snatching up piles of clothes. Whenever I do that, I end up with a bunch of things I never wear.
What’s it like being in your giant martini glass for The Bath? It looks uncomfortable!
Nothing worth doing is easy, and nothing that looks effortless actually is. I'm really only in there for about 3 minutes, and onstage, I never feel any kind of pain or discomfort anyway! I've come offstage with scrapes and cuts, but never feel it until later on.
Every girl likes to feel sexy and confidence is obviously the key, but do you have any mantras or routines that help you to feel sexy even when you’re having an ‘off’ day?
Well, like any woman, I do have off days, and I guess I just do my best to get through it and try to do something that makes me feel better, like exercising or making more of an effort with my appearance, like wearing a favourite dress. And sometimes there's nothing to do but go to bed and count on tomorrow being another day!
You’ve said the reason your style evolved was because you didn’t feel comfortable or suit the ‘normal’ look, what are your tips for girls who want to look different?
The most important thing to remember is that there can be no real definition of beauty... that old saying that beauty is "in the eye of the beholder" is the truth. Being true to yourself and using what you've got it the best way, I'm really just a girl who is enhancing what she's got, and that's it!
I think there is something to be said for the women of the world that achieved glamour rather than being born a natural beauty, look at women like Marene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth etc all these women that once looked very average but managed to undergo a reinvention to become the icons we still remember today.
There is no real reason that anyone can't do that with enough ambition, even if it's not for the silver screen, but for yourself, in your own movie - the one called your life! lol this sounds so corny. I love it
What would you say are rules for a first date or dating rules in general?
I don't really have rules for first dates, because you never know but I do try to reveal myself to a degree, for instance I never try to dress down to make my date think I'm "normal" or anything like that!
I like to make a good impression, but I don't want to make a man think I'm something I'm not. I think he ought to know right away that I like to wear this much eyeliner and this much lipstick! I think when I was younger I thought about what others thought of me from time to time, but that's out the window now. Being different and taking the road less travelled is what made me successful.
You always look incredible on stage, but do you still get nervous before a routine?
Of course I do! There's a lot to think about, and nervous energy is part of what makes a good show. When I feel too much at ease, the show usually doesn't go the way I want it to. I never relax into it. I control my nerves very well, I just do what I need to do to be in the right frame of mind, I have a few little rules to help keep it that way, mostly related to being alone to think and prepare. The cardinal rule is to not let anyone interrupt my backstage alone time.
What would you say is the difference between stripping and burlesque?
The term "Burlesque" as we know it today comes from a type of risque variety show in America that one would go to see in the 1930's and 40's, and performing striptease - stripping - is the word to describe what the burlesque performers did onstage. It's not just my opinion, it's a fact.
Nowadays we use the word "burlesque" to describe this retro-styled striptease that is seeing a big revival. Without the strip, it's not burlesque, that's for certain, and the greatest burlesque star that ever lived, Gypsy Rose Lee, called herself a stripper.
'Stripper' is not a bad word, and you aren't going to hear me tell you that there is a difference between burlesque and stripping, because I think that's awfully pretentious to go on and on about how burlesque isn't really stripping - it is! Burlesque-style striptease is where the modern pole dancing type strip originated from, and essentially, we're all related.
Initially, I worked in strip clubs, as did most of us that were at the forefront of the burlesque revival in the early 1990s, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I believe that those years spent on strip club stages is part of what makes me good at what I do.
What was it like performing at Crazy Horse?
I have a very high regard and respect for The Crazy Horse, it's a historic place. When I was a teenager, I saw one little picture in Playboy of these beautiful nearly nude 'toy soldiers' lined up, and I was desperate to find out more about this mysterious place. There was no internet yet, and I couldn't find out anything about it.
I didn't even have the name of it, just this image that was in my head for all those years. So years later, when I was finally in paris when I was in my early 20s, I kept asking people about these naked 'toy soldiers', and I finally saw the show, and I was amazed. I went to the show every night I was in Paris, and for the next decade I would go see the show every chance I got.
I also befriended a Crazy Horse historian and so I would get to see all the archives and meet former dancers. A few years ago I did a photo shoot there, which is something they never allowed, in order to preserve the mystery of the place. Little by little, I became more involved, and I became the first guest star in the history of The Crazy, so that was exciting.
Everyone who was anyone went there, since 1951, and for me, just to be in that theatre to see the same stage that all these stars went, from Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy, Gypsy Rose Lee, Salvador Dali, the guest list is impressive, and well, I just think it's incredible to think that there was once a time when a show like this was revered like that. It's the art of nude, the glorification of the female form, absolute perfection.
There is no show like it on earth, and the history and mystery of this place is amazing. I'm a big fan, and part of my driving force in performing there was to bring attention to this amazing show, and of course I liked the challenge in creating acts for it that are both true to their history and ideals, and at the same time true to mine, which is based in American style classic burlesque, which is what originally inspired the founder to create the Crazy Horse in Paris.
How do you come up with your routines?
Ah well, coming up with the ideas isn't the problem, it's following through that is. I have lots of ideas for shows but then I have to really take some time to think about whether I want to invest the money and time into the idea. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to build one new act, and I am my own financier!
Sometimes it can become frustrating because I do build all these big new elaborate shows and I will still get asked to do one of my oldest, simplest shows, like the Martini glass! And when I come up with these opulent new acts, they don't fit on some stages, or it's too expensive to ship...so there are lots of factors that come into play when making a new act.
Max (Italy) March, 2010.
Photography by Ellen Von Unwerth.
I love ellen von unwerth's photography. just last night I was looking at her photos of christina