The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - JANE AL­BERT

Known for her elab­o­rate shows and lav­ish Swarovski crys­ta­l­en­crusted cos­tumes, the queen of bur­lesque is head­ing to the Gold Coast.

But just who is Dita Von Teese? The woman be­hind the glam­orous dark locks and sul­try red pout is ac­tu­ally Heather Sweet, a self­de­scribed “or­di­nary blonde girl from a farm­ing town” born in Michi­gan in 1972.

“I liked the idea that I could be­come more like a pinup, like Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe or Hedy La­marr, I could learn how to give my­self that big Hol­ly­wood makeover,” she says.

Heather be­came Dita when the then 19-year-old be­gan work­ing in an Orange County, Cal­i­for­nia, strip club. “Von Teese” came later, when she landed a Play­boy shoot and was told she needed a sur­name.

Back at the clubs, her sig­na­ture style ap­pealed. She soon at­tracted the more well­heeled pa­trons, who seemed to en­joy the al­lure of the stock­ings, gloves and hat, and paid hand­somely to see them come off. An idea was born, and Von Teese be­gan to re­search bur­lesque.

“When I first started cre­at­ing bur­lesque shows in the early ’90s I had a very large male au­di­ence, a niche au­di­ence of fetishists and pinup fans,” she says.

“It’s been really in­ter­est­ing to watch it evolve into what it is now, where most of the fans are fe­males and straight men on the arm of their sig­nif­i­cant other.”

“Bur­lesque is really hit­ting its zenith and I think that’s be­cause it’s be­come a real cel­e­bra­tion of di­ver­sity and beauty,’’ she says.

“That’s the thing I’ve looked for in my shows: peo­ple who change peo­ple’s minds or do things peo­ple haven’t seen be­fore.” Dita Von Teese brings Strip, Strip, Hooray! to Jupiters The­atre to­mor­row night


Heather Sweet, aka Dita Von Teese.

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