Dita Von Teese: Staying pale takes some effort in LA

April 7, 2018

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

Burlesque has become a place for an alternative feminist movement.I didnt 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 persons empowerment can be another persons degradation.

You can only hunt swans if youre 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. Theyre antique, obviously, in case anyone is freaking out.

Its good to collect, but sometimes its better to sell. Ive been putting my hats on Depop its Instagram for shopping. People get to say: Im wearing Ditas hat! But other things of mine, theyll 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 theyre smiling in the front. Ill drive it for a few years, then Ill 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 cant think of an artist Ive 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, its 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. Ive had bad sunburn before and its totally traumatic.

I can be quite low-maintenance. I love glamour and getting ready Ill 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, Im good.

I dont 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 [2003s The Golden Age of Grotesque] inspired by my world. But then the other half got pretty dark.

Maybe Ill quit striptease at 50. And if I set my mind to it, I might be able to sing live. Ill be like Marlene Dietrich and stand there in front of all my ladies and my gays, in a fabulous beaded dress.

Theres nothing that can light your spark like a glass of the iciest, bubbliest, sharpest champagne. Ill 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 wasnt 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 Id turn myself into what those Hollywood studios turned those women into.

Heather Rene 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 couldnt understand that it wasnt because I was seducing boys. It was because I loved it.

Dita Von Teese (Record Makers) is out now

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/31/dita-von-teese-staying-pale-takes-some-effort-in-los-angeles-this-much-i-know