I have mixed feelings about Dita Von Teese. I think she is absolutely gorgeous and represents classic vintage beauty, but don’t know if I like the burlesque image she creates for herself. I’m a little torn. I love her style, and she photographs very well. I realized I didn’t know much about her, so I did some research and this is what I found:
Von Teese was born Heather Renee Sweet in 1972. Her mother was a manicurist and her father a machinist. She is mostly of Armenian descent, which surprised me. Von Teese is well known for her fascination with 1940s cinema and classic retro style. This began at a young age and was fostered by her mother, who would buy clothes for her daughter to dress up in. Her mother was a fan of old, Golden-era Hollywood films, and it was from her that Von Teese developed a fascination with the actresses of that day, especially Betty Grable.
She was a ballerina, but stopped training at age 15, saying she was as good as she was ever going to be. She now incorporates some of her ballet moves into her burlesque routines.
Her family moved from Michigan to Orange County, CA. where Von Teese attended University High School in Irvine.
Von Teese began her career in a local strip club when she was eighteen. Disappointed with the lack of originality in all the other strippers’ acts, Von Teese created a vintage-inspired outfit, with beehive hairstyle and elbow-length gloves coupled with a basque and seamed stockings, piquing the interest of the clientele.
Because of her frequent wear of corsets, she was able to reduce her waist to a size 22″, and she can lace it down to about a 16’5″. She has posed for playboy 3 times.
Von Teese is best known for her burlesque routines and is frequently dubbed “the Queen of Burlesque” in the press. Von Teese began performing burlesque in 1993 and, as a proponent of New Burlesque, has helped to popularize its revival. In her own words, she “puts the tease back into striptease” with long, elaborate dance shows with props and characters, often inspired by 1930s and 1940s musicals and films.
Her famed beauty mark is not real, but was tattooed on her face. Here are some images of her. Enjoy!