With her porcelain perfect skin, raven black hair and a 16 inch corseted waist corseted waist, it’s fair to say that in the world of glamour, burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese breaks all the rules.
The 35-year-old model, who has acquired a huge following thanks to her incredible stripteases, says she actually finds squeezing into her rib busting signature corsets can actually be a turn on!
In an exclusive interview, Dita admits: “The corsets are painful in the same way that high heels are. I mean, maybe they’re not as comfortable as wearing a sneaker – it’s not like a t-shirt! I’m not going to use the word comfortable but it can be pleasurable.
“It’s an acquired thing – I like the feeling of it. I’ve been measured at 16 inches a few years ago. I don’t pay attention to the measurements. If it feels and looks great then that’s fine – I’m not trying to have the smallest waist in the world.”
Dita – born Heather Sweet – has also gained a glittering A-list fan club including none other than David and Victoria Beckham.
The 35-year-old says she loves Posh’s style and believes that the mum-of-three has injected some glamour into Los Angeles.
She says: “I think Victoria is amazing she has a fantastic sense of humour and they are a beautiful amazing couple to be around.
“We are always going through our favourite vintage clothes and we have been to the shows. It’s great to have a little bit more glamour, like her, in LA.”
But Dita hit out at newspaper reports that she was flattered that soccer star David had texted her saying he liked her work.
She angrily denies any such contact saying: “I’m friends with the Beckhams collectively as a couple and it makes me upset that somebody would even insinuate what they are insinuating.”
She also denies a story last month that, at the Cartier International Polo, Prince Charles was interested in hiring her for a performance.
“We just shook hands,” she says.” He didn’t try to hire me for a dance. I shook his hand – that’s it. I have never even performed for the Princes. Not true at all.”
One thing’s for sure, Prince Charles would have had a slightly rude awakening if he did see Dita perform. Her infamous burlesque routines feature nipple tassels, tight corsets and are considered by many to be the best striptease routines in the world. But just how does she squeeze her frame into her bejewelled corsets? Amazingly, she does it herself.
“I put them on myself – I don’t let anybody touch my corset strings at all,” she says. “I’ve only ever let a few people lace me in – true experts. I have had people claim to people experts in the past and they’ve ripped those strings and it cuts your skin.”
And her saucy antics have meant she’s never short of male attention. Dita’s currently enjoying single life after divorcing Goth rocker Marilyn Manson, 39, last January over his drug problems and alleged cheating.
But Dita insists her split with Marilyn hasn’t put her off walking down the aisle again. “I’m not put off marriage in the future,” she says. “I really enjoyed the ritual of marriage but I kind of think now I don’t think of divorce as a failure. Divorce is something happening to everyone.”
She adds: “Right now I’m loving being single. It’s a hard thing when you decide to change your life. I’ve realised through my break up that the difficult thing is change – getting used to change is hard.
“I’m actually very happy right now with my single womanhood. I’m enjoying the company of different kinds of men. I’m sure I will want a relationship at some point but right now I’m really sort of taking time for the recovery process.”
Von Teese began her career in a local strip club in her home town of Michigan when she was eighteen, where, disappointed with the lack of originality in all the other strippers’ acts, she created a vintage-inspired outfit, with beehive hairstyle and elbow-length gloves coupled with a Basque and seamed stockings.
She adopted the name Dita as a tribute to silent film star Dita Parlo, and in 2002 picked the name ‘Von Treese’ out of the phonebook at random for a Playboy shoot. It was misspelled ‘Von Teese’ and the rest is history.
Today Dita also runs her own burlesque modelling website – www.dita.net – which sells her 1950s style worn stockings online to fans and after launching the site in 1992, even experimented with private performances and videos for rich clients.
But one man’s cream pie fetish resulted in Dita’s craziest ever fetish video. “The pie in the face guy was an incredible experience,” she chuckles. “I was starting out and I would have loads of requests for custom made videos. So if they were fun and innocent and if I was motivated in some sort of way then I’d do it. I had this one guy who wrote this whole script out and it was the cutest thing with no nudity or anything. He paid me $5,000 to make it and he loved the thought of a pie in a face. The script was set in a ballet class and I’m leading the ballet class and wearing pink tights, pink shoes, hair and a bun and he was very specific about what he wanted – and that was something else that I really appreciated. So we are taking a ballet class and I’m pushing my friend a little hard and she turns on me and puts a cream pie in my face to teach me a lesson.
“I loved the idea and immediately agreed to do it and it started a whole thing for me. I mean, if you’ve never taken a pie in the face – it’s the best thing ever. It’s the most fun you can have sober. Even though you are ready for it it’s proper pee your pants humour. It was an extraordinary experience.”
Dita’s debut lingerie collection ‘Wonderbra by Dita Von Teese’ hits the stories in September, says she maintains her famous shape with Pilates and wouldn’t rule out surgery.
“I do Pilates and do the rebounder – a mini trampoline,” she reveals. “ I bounce around on that for around 45 minutes. I have to wear a serious bra for that. Or sometimes I just hold them for dear life and keep bouncing!
She adds: “It’s no secret I’ve had my breasts done. I think surgery done in good taste is perfectly acceptable and I like disclosing all my beauty secrets. So if I do something then I’ll let you know.”
The dancer is now preparing to embark on a three week holiday to Thailand and will perform a show in the Phillipines on route.
And Dita is determined to protect her porcelain complexion despite the searing heat. “I’m like Joan Collins,” she says. “I obviously wear sunscreen, hats and sit under big umbrellas. I want to preserve my youth. I don’t want to be brown and wrinkly.
“I don’t actually worry too much about wrinkles because my mum’s just turned 59 and she still looks like she’s in her mid thirties. I have good genes. Like anyone else, we all want the fountain of youth.”
Catch Dita Von Teese being interviewed this Friday 8th August at midnight on Channel 4’s T-Mobile Transmission