BURLESQUE BEAUTY DITA VON TEESE BARES ALL
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.