Dita Von Teese

Active - 2005 - 2013  |   Born - Sep 28, 1972 in West Branch, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental, Business [nf], Culture & Society [nf], Leisure Arts [nf]

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Modern queen of the burlesque Dita Von Teese was born Heather Renee Sweet in Michigan in 1972. Raised on classic movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Von Teese developed a fascination with the old-fashioned style from an early age. After the family moved to California, Von Teese became even more immersed in film culture, and eventually studied costume design in college, preparing for a career in styling period films.

Von Teese began working at a local strip club when she was 18, but was disappointed by the lack of style and creativity shown by most of the dancers. She began developing a modern burlesque show, which would prove to be increasingly popular. By the mid-'90s, Von Teese was a celebrity in her own niche, spearheading a resurgence in burlesque dancing and pin-up style. She became a recognizable media personality, modeling for designers like Vivienne Westwood and Jean-Paul Gaultier, and appearing in a small selection of films, like The Death of Salvador Dali and The Boom Boom Room. In 2005, Von Teese married rocker Marilyn Manson; the two divorced in 2007.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Worked in a lingerie store when she was 15.
  • At age 18 she began working at a strip bar in El Toro, CA, where she started to create her burlesque routine.
  • Wore a corset every day for seven years until she cinched her waist down to 16 inches.
  • In 1992 she created a website to sell her photos; dita.net became one of the first adult sites on the Internet.
  • Got her big break in 2002 when she was asked to pose for the cover of Playboy.
  • Chose the name Dita in tribute to silent-film actress Dita Parlo and picked Von Teese from the phone book.
  • Modeled for such designers as Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier.  
  • An advocate in the fight against HIV and AIDS, she was a MAC Viva Glam Spokesperson from 2006 to '08.
  • Performed at several events for Amfar and was honored with their Award of Courage in 2008.
  • In 2011, appeared as a guest star on CSI and performed her classic Martini Glass routine.