Dita Von Teese life and biography

Dita Von Teese picture, image, poster

Dita Von Teese biography

Date of birth : 1972-09-28
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Rochester, Michigan, United States
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-08-19
Credited as : Burlesque model, actress,

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Dita Von Teese is an American burlesque model, artist and actress.

She was born Heather Renée Sweet on September 28, 1972, in Rochester, Michigan, the middle of three daughters. Her mother was a manicurist and her father was a machinist at a company that made graphite. She is of partly Armenian heritage.

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

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.

The family relocated from Michigan to Orange County, California, when her father's job moved. Von Teese attended University High School in Irvine.

As a teenager, Von Teese's mother took her to buy her first bra, made from plain white cotton, and gave her a plastic egg containing a pair of wrinkly, flesh-colored tights. Von Teese says she was disappointed as she had been hoping to receive beautiful lacy garments and stockings, of the type she had glimpsed in her father's Playboy magazines. This fueled her passion for lingerie. She worked in a lingerie store as a salesgirl when she was fifteen, eventually as a buyer. Von Teese has been fond of wearing elaborate lingerie such as corsets and basques with fully fashioned stockings ever since.

In college Von Teese studied historic costuming and aspired to work as a stylist for period films. She is a trained costume designer, often designing (and copyrighting) the photoshoots herself.

Taking audiences on a journey into fantasy and spectacle, Dita is renowned for her ornate sets and dazzling haute-couture performance costumes adorned with hundreds of thousands of Swarovski crystals. This "Burlesque Superheroine" (Vanity Fair) determines every aspect of her burlesque shows from the set and costume, to the music and lighting. Best known for her cocktail glass show in which she performs a classic style striptease that culminates with her bathing in a glass, Dita recreated this iconic show for her role as the global ambassador for Cointreau. Her "Be Cointreauversial," show is a grander version of her famous cocktail glass show which she has performed in Tokyo, Sydney, New York, London, Paris, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles. She also just developed her 2nd Cointreau cocktail, the MargaDITA, inspired by the original Cointreau Margarita.

Dita is the performer of choice at high profile events including those for designers such as Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Chopard, and Cartier, and was the first guest star in history at Paris' famed Crazy Horse (established in 1951) where she has performed several sold-out runs. She recently brought burlesque to prime time television in the States when she appeared as a guest star on CSI and performed her classic Martini Glass show, in an episode billed as "too hot to handle."

A self-styled fashion icon that has topped several international best dressed lists and walked in various high profile fashion-shows, Dita will bring some of her signature style to the masses this Fall with a new fragrance, lingerie collection, and dress capsule collection based on some of her personal vintage treasures.

A best-selling author, Dita is currently working on her third book, a guide to eccentric glamour, which her bevy of female fans is eagerly awaiting. Her first book Burlesque and the Art of the Teese charted in the USA, UK, and Europe. The follow-up, Dita Stripteese, is an ornate box set of 3 retro-styled "flip-books" shot by photographer Sheryl Nields.

An advocate in the fight against HIV and AIDS, Dita was a MAC Viva Glam Spokesperson from 2006-2008 and in 2009 she participated in the H&M/Fashion Against Aids campaign. She has also performed and appeared at several events for Amfar and was honored with their Award of Courage in 2008. Her status as a burlesque star and modern-day feminist has also garnered her an invitation to speak at the Oxford Student Union, where other elected speakers have included the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Tony Blair, and Anna Wintour.


2005 : The Death of Salvador Dali
Won Best Actress at Beverly Hills Film Festival
2006 : Saint Francis
2007 : Indie Sex: Extremes ; The Boom Boom Room
2011 : CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

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