Dita Von Teese (born Heather Renée Sweet on September 28, 1972 in Rochester, Michigan) is an American burlesque artist , model and actress. 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, an actress that she frequently cites as her favorite.
She was classically trained as a ballet dancer from an early age, and danced solo at age thirteen for a local ballet company. Though she originally wanted to be a ballerina, Von Teese states that "By 15 I was as good as I’d ever be". She was later to incorporate this element into her burlesque shows, where she frequently goes en pointe.
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.
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. Some of her more famous dances have involved a carousel horse, a giant powder compact, a filigree heart and a clawfoot bathtub with a working shower head. Her feather fan dance, inspired by burlesque dancer Sally Rand, featured the world's largest feather fans, now on display in Hollywood's Museum Of Sex. Her signature show features a giant martini glass.
The Notorious Dita Von Teese and her tattoos. At first glance, it doesn't appear that modern-day burlesque icon Dita Von Teese has any tattoos. Look closer, and you realize that there is, in fact, one inking on her flawless body: the tiny black dot at the top of her left cheekbone. It was done in Fullerton, CA, at a tattoo shop called Classic Tattoo Studio. I was 17. It's where all the rockabillies, Mike Ness and everybody had their tattoos done.
"I've always loved tattoos," Von Teese says, lounging in her Los Angeles home wearing a purple 1940s robe. "I love looking at them and I have a big admiration for people with tattoos. I've notoriously dated a lot of men with a lot of ink," she adds, referring to her relationships with Social Distortion singer Mike Ness and Marilyn Manson, her former husband of two years. "I even tattooed my ex-boyfriend, who owned a tattoo shop. When I was a little girl I was obsessed with drawing this stick bunny thing all over the walls. He knew about my stick bunny and let me tattoo that on his entire calf. Bright pink. That was real love."