Get­ting to Know Dita von Teese

There’s more to Dita von Teese than bur­lesque dances and glam­orous dresses. The Coin­treau- ver­sial beauty gets chat­ting to Cos­mopoli­tan Editor,

Cosmopolitan (India) - - COSMO INTERVIEW - Nan­dini Bhalla

Ever since Dita von Teese came on the scene, I’ve been fas­ci­nated by her. Not just be­cause she’s made a ca­reer out of sexy danc­ing, or mas­tered the tricky art of retro curls, or dresses like a 1940s movi­es­tar ev­ery sin­gle day. But be­cause af­ter all this, we still know lit­tle else about the wo­man who made old- school cool. So when Coin­treau in­vited me to meet her in Sin­ga­pore ( she’s their brand am­bas­sador), I said ‘ yes’. And dis­cov­ered that the bur­lesque dancer is smart, warm, funny, sexy... and re­mains ab­so­lutely fas­ci­nat­ing.

COSMO: So how did you de­cide to get into bur­lesque danc­ing?

Dita von Teese: It was never re­ally a con­scious de­ci­sion. I’ve al­ways done things that I like and this is one of them. I’ve been per­form­ing bur­lesque for the last 20 years, but I’ve had these dif­fer­ent jobs while work­ing on my bur­lesque shows— I’ve worked in an LA night­club, in a lin­gerie store, and a make- up store. It took me many years to fi­nally re­alise that this was re­ally my job.

C: Tell us about your Coin­treau as­so­ci­a­tion...

DVT: It started in 2007, when Coin­treau ap­proached me with an in­ter­est­ing project. I was al­ready per­form­ing the mar­tini glass rou­tine, and they had some great ideas and I was ex­cited to work with them. Our as­so­ci­a­tion has come a long way since then and we’ve done many in­ter­est­ing projects to­gether. Hav­ing learned about the his­tory of the brand and all the iconic cock­tails that were in­vented with Coin­treau, it’s been a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me.

C: And we hear you’ve cre­ated a few cock­tails, too...

DVT: Yes, my favourite is the Coin­treau Teese, which is in­fused with flavours of vi­o­let flow­ers, gin­ger, le­mon and ap­ple. The sec­ond one I like is called the Mar­ga­dita, which is a clas­sic Mar­garita with rose essence and patchouli pep­per. I’ve be­come re­ally good at mix­ing that one!

DVT: About an hour, if you’re me, ( laughs), but if you’re not, I’ll say a lit­tle longer. I pretty much al­ways wear my hair and make- up the same way, so it doesn’t take me much time. Prac­tice does make you per­fect. But there have been mo­ments when I’ve over­slept, and I lit­er­ally have 25 min­utes to get ready, so then I have to re­ally fo­cus and hurry it up. I’m also writ­ing a beauty book now, so I’ve started tim­ing my­self— how long it takes me to do my eyes, how long it takes to put on lip­stick, etc.

Coin­treau Teese, , my y fave, f , is in­fused f with the flavours f of f vi­o­let flow­ers, f , gin­ger, g le­mon

and ap­ple.

C: So how long does it take to look like Dita von Teese?

C: And do you al­ways do your own make- up?

DVT: Yes, I do, un­less I’m shoot­ing for a cam­paign or do­ing a pho­to­shoot. I have a hard time find­ing makeup artists who can what I do, bet­ter than me, and d I don’t work with new make- up artists of­ten be­caus se it’s frus­trat­ing to wait for some­one to fin­ish it in th hree hours, when you can do it in 20 min­utes. There a are some amaz­ing hair and make- up artists I’ve work ked with, but it’s hard to find peo­ple like that in ev­ery y city.

C: Do share your top beauty tips...

DVT: Hav­ing clear good skin is re­ally like the bas sis of beauty. It’s not about some­thing you buy in a jar f for $ 200. I al­ways say that your best money is spent o on a der­ma­tol­o­gist, not a Botox or lazer one, but a re eal doc­tor who can help you im­prove your skin. Seco ond, and this one’s ob­vi­ous, don’t smoke cig­a­rettes and d skip the sun rays as they cause age­ing. And numb ber three, ex­per­i­ment with make- up, find a sig­na­ture e look, and own it. I love women who have that one e thing they feel re­ally strongly about, like for me it t’s red lip­stick. I en­joy it and there’s no talk­ing me ou ut

I have a hard time find­ing f g make- up p artists who can do what I do,

bet­ter than me.

Find your own per­sonal style.

The most stylish women don’t change their look ev­ery


of it. There’s no think­ing, ‘ Why don’t you try beige lips to­day’. No, it’s just not hap­pen­ing.

C: Do you ever tire of dress­ing up ev­ery day? Do you ever crave ca­sual jeans- and- tee days?

DVT: No, that sounds like a lot of ef­fort! First of all, I’ll have to find a pair of jeans be­cause I don’t own any. And my ca­sual look is more of ’ 50s dresses. I’ll wear a cotton dress, put my hair in a bun, wear sun­glasses, lip­stick, and I’m done. I think that takes less time than putting on a pair of jeans, socks and T- shirt. Work­ing a reg­u­lar ca­sual look re­quires a lot of ef­fort, but slip­ping into and zip­ping a lovely sum­mer dress is so much eas­ier.

C: If you had to give a friend just one style tip, what would it be?

DVT: To find your own per­sonal sense of style and stick with it. You shouldn’t try too hard to be trendy or con­stantly change your look ac­cord­ing to fash­ion. I think the most stylish and iconic women in the world don’t change their look ev­ery sea­son. I feel best in clothes that I can wear ev­ery sin­gle year, over and over again.

C: How have the ’ 40s and ’ 50s made such an im­pact on your style?

DVT: As a kid, I used to watch a lot of old movies, and it be­came ob­vi­ous to me that glam­our was not just some­thing you are, it’s some­thing you be­come. With­out my hair, make- up, and fancy clothes, I’m a pretty or­di­nary look­ing girl. I’m the girl who peo­ple will tell, ‘ Don’t let any­one ever tell you you’re not pretty’, like they’re do­ing me a favour. But I’ve learnt that I can own a room, or I can dis­ap­pear in a crowd. And I like the fact that I can con­trol the at­ten­tion I get based on how I look.

C: That’s a very strong mes­sage for women ev­ery­where...

DVT: Yes, and I be­lieve that any­one can do it. I didn’t want to live up to the im­age of a beau­ti­ful supermodel who looks great in a bikini and no make- up. I can never fit into that im­age, and that’s the rea­son I started learn­ing about the art of cre­at­ing glam­our. It’s like the Madonna the­ory. She may not be the best singer or the most beau­ti­ful wo­man, but she is the best pop star of our time. It’s not about the money, or hav­ing the right peo­ple, it’s about be­ing the leader of your ship and over­com­ing what peo­ple said you didn’t have.

C: What’s your take on the whole ‘ body im­age’ de­bate?

DVT: A lot of peo­ple ask me about the Size Zero thing. For some, it doesn’t mat­ter, for oth­ers it’s ei­ther about be­ing volup­tuous or thin. But you can’t re­ally tell be­cause beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I don’t like peo­ple talk­ing about other peo­ple’s sizes. You should never pick on peo­ple on the ba­sis of their body.

C: Have you been to In­dia yet?

DVT: No, I haven’t, but I’m dy­ing to! I have a feel­ing I’ll re­ally love it. I re­ally should visit In­dia and, to be hon­est, I have no idea why I haven’t done it, yet...

Dita von Teese

Dita’s fa­mous rou­tine, where she splashes about in a gi­ant Coin­treau glass

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