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Wed, Nov 28, 2012
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Dita Von Teese still looking for love
by Benita Aw Yeong

BANGKOK - Looking immaculate in a low-cut black-and-white dress which accented her generous cleavage, flawless complexion and tiny waist, you would not guess that Dita Von Teese turned 40 two months ago.

The burlesque queen is best known for performing cabaret-style striptease acts characteristic of the 1940s.

While her appearance and mentality seem to have escaped the ravages of time, she is still a traditional girl at heart and wants a good man to love and come home to.

With little hesitation, Von Teese admitted that she is still looking for romance and will not hesitate to settle down again if she meets the right one.

Speaking to The New Paper in Bangkok, she said: "I've been single for 11/2 years and at this stage in my life, I don't want a boyfriend until it's my life partner. I'd rather just keep my options open."

In between gentle tones, she twirled a glossy, raven-coloured strand around her finger.

Her crimson lips parted periodically to reveal sweet, sometimes coy, smiles, as she shared what kind of man would make her happy.

The Michigan-born performer said: "There're a lot of things... I like being with someone who's confident and good at what he does, no matter what it is... He doesn't have to be an entertainer, but just really talented and driven at his own thing.

"Someone who is confident on his own because I've dated men who didn't know what they were doing in life yet..."

Von Teese, who is the global ambassador for Cointreau, was in Bangkok on Friday for a one-night performance, which was part of the liqueur brand's mega party.

She made headlines years ago when she married rock musician Marilyn Manson, for they were as different as night and day. He was the king of gothic rock, while she is known to encapsulate old-school glamour and Hollywood charm.

In 2006, she filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences".

That relationship is now a closed chapter.

"It's been six years now (since the divorce), but we're friends. It's all like water under the bridge, everybody's healed," she said.

Arguably the biggest name in burlesque today, Von Teese showed that she knows where her roots lie when she declared that she does not mind being called a "stripper", despite being dubbed the "queen of burlesque".


She began her career stripping at clubs in her late teens.

"I don't like to say what I'm doing is better than someone doing lap dances because I respect those women for doing what they want to do.

"I usually just don't like to come off as saying I'm better because I used to work at those pubs as well. That's how I started," she explained matter-of-factly.

Yet there is an undeniably strong sense of pride when she spoke of her own performances, which she personally crafts.

"Do I think that my show is more interesting? I do, because I'd rather watch a show with feathers, rhinestones, music and lighting and concept," she maintained.

Von Teese, whose shows see her stripping down to nipple covers and a g-string, insisted that it is the process of creating her shows - not the attention - that provides ultimate satisfaction.

And asked if she would allow her daughter, if she were to have one, to perform burlesque, she replied: "It would depend on whether she's got the right personality for it. I'm very business minded, I'm doing it for certain reasons that some other burlesque dancers are not.

"They're doing it for attention or want to be considered sex symbols, but for me, it's about the creation of the show and not so much about the time I'm actually on stage."

Corseted, her waist is known to measure an incredible 16 inches (40cm). She used to wear corsets a lot more, she revealed, when she was into the look of a tiny waist.

Despite her bombshell persona, Von Teese is candid about her insecurities.

"I look into the mirror all the time and think about what my flaws are... I don't think there's a woman in the world who looks in the mirror and thinks that she's perfect. We all see different things than what other people see," she revealed.

To refrain from pointing them out is key.

"I don't like to point out my flaws to people. I think it's really important not to. As soon as I tell you I wish I were this, people zero in on that when they previously might not have noticed it," she added.

Looking ahead, Von Teese is keen to make a success of her various businesses. She has a clothing, lingerie, and make-up line to her name, but it hasn't been easy getting the word out on these products, she confessed.

They are things she sees herself working on when she hits her 50s and 60s, she added.

Her role as Cointreau's global ambassador has also brought her to perform her signature striptease act in countries such as Japan, Australia and Vietnam.

She is confident that her appeal will last, along with the popularity of her shows.

"I think women are happy to have an alternative sex symbol... There is a lot of emphasis on natural beauty and how you have to be fresh-faced and (wear) no make-up, or you have to look young or be perfect.

"I think the image I'm putting out there is about creation and saying you can... create glamour. It's not just about what you're born with; it's about playing an elaborate game of dress up like when we were little girls."

Sensual yet classy routine

It lasted 10 minutes, but her striptease routine was the act which 600 guests, some of whom had specially travelled from different cities in the region, had been waiting all evening for.

Decked in top-to-toe finery, they packed into a ballroom at The Peninsula Bangkok hotel to get a glimpse of burlesque's biggest name.

The star of the night, organised by Cointreau, was Dita Von Teese.

Mounting anticipation erupted into uninhibited cheering as the orange curtains parted to reveal a resplendent-looking Von Teese with a pair of red feather fans covering her torso.

Underneath, her curvy figure was encased in a rhinestone-encrusted corset, while her slim legs were exposed, ending at red, closed-toe high heels, also oozing bling.

You'd expect a striptease act to be in-your-face at best, chock-full with hip-thrusting movements at worst.

But crass is not how you would describe Von Teese' performance.

Her hand trailed from her neck to the hollow between her breasts, lingering a split second before it wandered to the area between her legs, but only for a moment before running to the sparkling baubles at her neck.

The music was upbeat, and her constant half-smile coy, but still reserved.

Elegant movement

For a moment, those watching wondered if it was indeed a striptease performance; after all, the grace and elegance with which Von Teese moved on stage was quite riveting.

Throughout the performance, her feet were never flat on the ground. Even without her stilettos, her heels were arched into a tiptoe position as she flitted from point to point.

The reverie was broken when she did a cheeky jiggle with her chest or deftly untied the pink ribbons of her corset.

She teased further and the sexual tension reached a climax when she climbed nimbly into a giant martini glass filled with blue liquid.

The glass began to swivel slowly and the audience was treated to a view of water dribbling down her back as she squeezed a floating sponge.

The martini-glass act is one Von Teese has been performing since 1993, constantly updated through the years to fit the occasion.

It is also the act which is booked the most.

The heat was then turned up a notch.

One hand covered an exposed breast. Voluptuous and firm, her breasts did not look real. They aren't.

When she was 21, Von Teese got 32D breast implants, after a drug habit left her assets ravaged.

Perfection is but an illusion. She struggled with cellulite, she told UK newspaper Metro two years ago. But she has a way of concealing it so it doesn't show, even when she strips.

The performance ended with playful kicking, splashing water out of the glass and onto the stage.

The audience wasn't left with the sense that Von Teese was up for sale; after all, her routine was hardly lewd. Instead, women were left mildly intimidated by her classical beauty, and the average man, like she was out of their league.

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