Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dita Von Teese / This much I Know / ‘Staying pale takes some effort in LA’






Dita sitting on a bed wearing a white dress
 ‘Heather Renée Sweet – my real name – was a very quiet, painfully shy person’: Dita Von Teese. Photograph: John Russo/Contour by Getty Images




THIS MUCH I KNOW

Dita Von Teese: ‘Staying pale takes some effort in LA’


The burlesque dancer, 45, on divorcing Marilyn Manson, collecting lingerie and why she’s actually quite low-maintenance

Craig McLean
Saturday 31 March 2018

Burlesque has become a place for an alternative feminist movement. I didn’t ever think I was going to be famous. I just started doing it because it was fun and something cool that nobody else was doing. We get to decide if we want to be objectified. But I recognise that one person’s empowerment can be another person’s degradation.
You can only hunt swans if you’re royalty. The pair I have in my living room at home in Los Angeles are my best taxidermy score for sure. I got them on eBay. They’re antique, obviously, in case anyone is freaking out.
It’s good to collect, but sometimes it’s better to sell. I’ve been putting my hats on Depop – it’s Instagram for shopping. People get to say: “I’m wearing Dita’s hat!” But other things of mine, they’ll have to prise from my cold dead hands.



A good car is a good investment. I just bought a 1956 Woodill convertible, a very rare kit car. They look like something from Disney, like they’re smiling in the front. I’ll drive it for a few years, then I’ll flip it.
Losing George Michael was a body blow. Working with him [on his 2008 stage show] was a high point in my life. I can’t think of an artist I’ve listened to more consistently since I was a teenager. You can put on Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 any time, and everyone in the room goes: “Oh, God, it’s so good.” I was also close with Amy Winehouse and Prince. How could my favourite three be gone?
Staying pale takes some effort in LA. I spend a lot of the day inside. When I go to the flea market, I will slather on sunscreen and wear a big hat. I’ve had bad sunburn before and it’s totally traumatic.
I can be quite low-maintenance. I love glamour and getting ready – I’ll spend three hours preparing for my show. But on a normal day, as long as I have my red lipstick on and my hair is doing something OK, either in a chignon or freshly washed, I’m good.
I don’t regret my divorce from Marilyn [Manson]. It was the right thing to do. He and I are birds of a feather in many ways. I have really fond memories of the first half of our seven-year relationship. It was this romantic artist-muse time – he made a record [2003’s The Golden Age of Grotesque] inspired by my world. But then the other half got pretty dark.
Maybe I’ll quit striptease at 50. And if I set my mind to it, I might be able to sing live. I’ll be like Marlene Dietrich and stand there in front of all my ladies and my gays, in a fabulous beaded dress.
There’s nothing that can light your spark like a glass of the iciest, bubbliest, sharpest champagne. I’ll throw back half a glass and hit the stage.


Dita Von Teese is someone I always dreamed of being when I was little. I watched a lot of old movies with my mother. I looked at these 1940s women in Technicolor with the red lips and the rosy cheeks and high heels and these incredible shapes. It was really mysterious and fabulous. And I noticed that they were all painted – it wasn’t the real thing. I realised I could make that. I loved this artificial, contrived beauty.And I never felt very special or interesting. So I thought I’d turn myself into what those Hollywood studios turned those women into.
Heather Renée Sweet – my real name – was a very quiet, painfully shy person. I was living in a small town in Michigan with my two sisters, my mother and father. They tried to send me to speech classes ‘cause I never liked to talk. I was really afraid of speaking. I was terrified if I was called on in class.
When I was in high school my father threw me out of the house. I had started collecting lingerie and spending all my pay cheques on that. And there I am, handwashing my delicate lingerie and hanging it up to dry. And my father, he was like a lot of people – he couldn’t understand that it wasn’t because I was seducing boys. It was because I loved it.
Dita Von Teese (Record Makers) is out now



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