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Dita Von Teese is an American Burlesque performer, dancer, model, actress, and clothing designer. Growing up fascinated with '40s era films and fashion, she has pioneered the retro burlesque movement by incorporating old Hollywood glamour fused with a reverence for stripping icons of the past into her modern strip routines.
Born Heather Renee Sweet in West Branch, Michigan on September 28, 1972 she was the middle of three daughters. Her mother had a strong interest in Golden Age era Hollywood films and fashion and this heavily affected her tastes growing up. She grew up with a particularly keen interest in 1940s era Hollywood glamour and she greatly treasured the old-fashioned clothes that her mother would buy her to dress up with.
She was classically trained as a ballet dancer and at the age of 13 she danced solo numbers for a local ballet company. Initially she had aspirations to be a ballerina, but she stated that she realized that at her peak she wasn't quite good enough to make a career of it and she abandoned the idea.
As she grew older, she was dissatisfied with the popular undergarments sold to women at the time as her interest in old Hollywood glamour as well as that era's pin-up girl style instilled an interest for stockings, garters and corsets. At age 15 she began working as a salesgirl in a local lingerie store and her passion and knowledge of the product resulted in her eventually becoming their buyer. She studied historic costuming when she attended college and with aspirations to be a stylist she became a trained costumer designer.
She began stripping when she was 18 but, disappointed with the lack of originality and style by the performers, she designed her own retro outfits and sported old-fashioned but classic hairstyles. From her work as a stripper, she began modeling for photographers as well as working in fetish shows. Due to the then rabid interest in the legendary pin-up model Bettie Page, she often mimicked her look and with her dyed black hair and fair skin she quickly became a favorite.
As the interest in retro burlesque started to build, she stopped doing fetish work and strictly concentrated on perfecting her stripping act. Her most famous act involves her dancing around and in a giant martini glass which became so popular that the act was copied in the film "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle". Currently Dita is a fixture in the world of fashion and she has been featured in a few mainstream films. She still performs her burlesque acts and is in heavy demand all over the world.