Dita Von Teese: Why dad no longer gives me hassle over my tassels
BURLESQUE queen Dita Von Teese finally made her dad proud… when she appeared on the cover of Playboy.
After setting out in 1991 ‘to be the most famous pin-up fetish model since Bettie Page’, young Dita relished shocking her parents.
In an exclusive interview with Guilty Pleasures, the 46-year-old American recalled: ‘The resistance was part of the fun, with my parents going, “What are you doing with these late nights and what are these outfits?”
‘It was hard to explain because there wasn’t anyone I could compare to at the time and go, “I’m going to do what she is doing.” So it was a little bit weird to explain it to my parents.’
However, as Dita’s fame spread, her parents’ attitude softened. ‘It was legitimised to my father when I was part of this big show with The Pussycat Dolls and Christina Aguilera,’ she explained. ‘Then I was on the cover of Playboy. That was at the time when big stars were posing for Playboy; you had Drew Barrymore, Pam Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith.
‘So to be on the cover was still a big thing then. That was when my dad was like, “All right, I get it now.”’
The striptease favourite, famed for her hourglass figure and cocktail-glass routines, is in London for her Copper Coupe Burlesque Show, in association with Absolut Elyx, at The Box in Soho on Wednesday.
And she remains defiant in the face of political correctness. ‘I look at burlesque as playful fun, ultimately a sex fantasy,’ she said. ‘For me, when I create a show, it is a sex fantasy. In my sex fantasies I am free to do whatever I want and don’t want to be held to political correctness.’
Dita, who was married to goth rocker Marilyn Manson in the noughties, feels there is no reason these days for striptease to degrade women.
‘There was a time when striptease could be considered degrading to women but we are at a point where we have experienced all of that stigma and we’re able to indulge in whatever we want and acknowledge how it makes us feel,’ she said.
Asked how she felt about empowerment and objectification of women, she replied: ‘I don’t really think there is a difference. For me I’ve always liked the idea of indulging in objectification because that is liberating, when you feel powerful in life. If I want to be objectified I can.
‘I liken it to people who are interested in fetishes. You have these powerful men — say attorneys — who want to be dominated by a woman because they are so powerful in their own life.
‘You can’t fault someone for saying, “I feel really good in my life and I want to play with these ideas now.” I don’t see objectification as a bad word.’
Dita revealed that it is often the wives and girlfriends who take their other halves to her shows. There is also a growing number of husbands diving into drag at her gigs, which are all about ‘inclusiveness’.
She explained: ‘I’ve seen couples that have come together and the husband will be in drag.
‘What you hear all the time is the men don’t even know what they are going to, and the wife and girlfriend had the idea of coming to the show — which is very exciting!’
Author: Andrei Harmsworth