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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dita: Such a Teese!

dita von teese, marilyn mansonHailed as the most seductive woman in the world, burlesque star Dita Von Teese talks to Nathalie Gale about life after the collapse of her high-profile Irish marriage and those rumors about herself and David Beckham.

As weddings go, it wasn't the most auspicious start to a happy marriage for Dita Von Teese and pasty-faced rocker Marilyn Manson.

The bride wore a flowing purple Vivienne Westwood number over her trademark cinched corset. Manson was his normal sepulchral white self, with black make-up and lipstick as they exchanged vows by candlelight in Ireland, at Gothic Castle Gurteen Le Poer in Kilsheelan, Co Tipperary.

A designer-fest costing an estimated $500,000, the bride wore Christian Louboutin shoes to trip up the aisle while the groom wore a John Galliano black-silk taffeta tux. They exchanged their vows at midnight in the home of their artist friend Gottfried Helnwein and the invited guest list was studded with showbiz royalty, including Madonna, Keanu Reeves, David Lynch, Marie Presley, and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.

If the wedding was dramatic, the divorce was bitter and, today, raven-haired Dita can barely conceal her antipathy towards Manson.

"We do not have an amicable friendship," she says. "No. I don't think there's any reason for being friends. We don't have anything to do with each other any more.

"It's been a year-and-a-half since I've been divorced and to me it's completely irrelevant in my life now," she says. "I feel like I am in a whole new chapter of my life and I'm really happy about it."

Perhaps because of the acrimony of her bust-up with Manson, Dita is adamant that she is not about to embark on another long-term relationship. "I've not met anyone that I feel like I'm ready to unveil my relationship with," she says. "I don't want to be in a relationship right now. I don't want to call any attention to anyone. Besides, I'm real good at being sneaky."

It is no wonder that ivory-skinned Dita wants to keep her affairs of the heart quiet: she wants to make the most of her status as the most seductive woman on the planet. Dita -- or Heather Renée Sweet, as she was born -- is the daughter of a machinist and a manicurist and is now fêted the world over for having revived the lost art of burlesque.

With her captivating curves, . 22-inch waist, .porcelain pallor and raunchy routines, the quiet girl from Michigan has earned a reputation as a hot glamour girl who thinks nothing of stripping off to flaunt what she's got. Bold, beautiful and oozing confidence, she takes her inspiration from the old black-and-white movie stars, and has men falling at her feet.

"I grew up in Michigan in a small town which wasn't very glamorous," she says. "When I was a little girl I remember watching old movies with my mother and I wanted to be like Rita Hayworth and Marlene Dietrich. I'd watch them and think, 'That's what I want, I want to be a grown-up lady'. I hated being a kid. I just wanted to be a lady."

A self-confessed late bloomer, Dita was painfully shy as a child. Only after she began working in a lingerie shop did Dita begin to come out of her shell. Her first taste of stripping -- aged 18 -- was in 'bikini clubs' in California, for a respectable $1,500 a night.

Dita, 35, insists she always knew that sexiness was less about eroticism and more about confidence. "I always try to remind women not to focus on what they think beauty is, because confidence is where sexiness comes from," she says. "Anybody can be all sex, sex, sex on stage. That's not good. It's good when you're clearly enjoying it and having fun. That's what I always try to do -- have fun. It is so much more interesting to watch."

After conquering her fear of getting up on stage, Dita moved on to perfecting the art of burlesque and soon became renowned for her raunchy performances, including her trademark Girl in a Martini Glass routine and riding a bucking bronco oversize lipstick, which have made her a household name.

Her routines have earned her an army of admirers across the globe, including a host of famous fans. "I get loads of compliments from a lot of female actresses," she says. "I'm always sort of surprised to have such a big female fan base. I did a photo shoot with Scarlett Johansson once and I was naked. In between shooting, she would sort of stand in front of me and tell the crew not to look at me. She's pretty cool."

Then, there's her friendship with the Beckhams, and the well-publicized rumor that David was sending her sly text messages behind Victoria's back. Dita chooses her words carefully when asked to elaborate. "I am friends with Victoria, and I've met David a couple of times too," she says.

"Yes, there was a rumor that David was sending me texts but that's not true. There were no text messages from David, although Victoria sends me texts.

"I know there was another rumor that I gave Victoria burlesque lessons, but I don't think she needs burlesque lessons. I think she knows how to be a sexy, confident woman in her own right. She doesn't need any advice from me. Although I do think it would be fun, and I'm sure she'd be up for it. She's a lot of fun."

Dita realizes her looks will not last forever. She's happy to admit she's already had breasts implants. She is now using her amplified chest to boost her assets and is fronting a new ad campaign for Wonderbra. "I was very involved with designing the new Wonderbra. Obviously, my obsession with lingerie launched my entire career.

"I have a big collection of vintage lingerie already," she boasts. "I have a major wardrobe just for my lingerie. I have trunks full of lingerie. I've no idea how many bras I have; it's just too many to count. Hundreds at least. I'm sure that I wouldn't have to do laundry for at least two years if I didn't want to."

But at heart, Dita feels she is just a normal girl from mid-west America who is making the most of what she's got. "I'm a normal girl playing dress-up and having a good time and living this glamorous life that I created for myself. I just want to encourage other women to do the same."
- Nathalie Gale

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