As the star dives into a giant glass of fizz for her first online extravaganza, she talks about this new golden age for burlesque, why the French Strictly gives her costume problems – and how #MeToo has changed her

Dita Von Teese is looking divine. Her lips are that signature red, she’s wearing 1950s cat eye glasses, and her black hair falls in a thick wave across a Snow White skin – and all this on the unglamorous stage of a glitchy Zoom call. Only knowing Von Teese from her femme fatale image, her teasingly aloof burlesque performances, and her time in the tabloids as former wife of goth rocker Marilyn Manson, you might expect an icy demeanour, an impermeable mystique. So it’s surprising to discover quite how normal she is: chatty, self-deprecating, not very vampish. It’s easy to see traces of Heather Sweet, the “super shy” girl from small-town Michigan who transformed into Von Teese.

The reason for our conversation is a new film, Night of the Teese, made with director Quinn Wilson and featuring some of Von Teese’s classic routines alongside guest performers from male burlesque artist Jett Adore to hula-hoop virtuoso Marawa. While others rushed out online content during the pandemic, Von Teese took her time to get the details right. “When I was watching a certain famous talkshow host doing his show from his backyard, I thought, ‘Oh, you really do need some showbusiness,’ you know?”

Von Teese is all about the showbusiness, from the giant clam shell she emerges from in her opening routine to the finale bathing in a fizz-filled champagne coupe. It’s a land of satin, ostrich feathers and diamanté nipple pasties, with each of her many-layered outfits drenched in sparkle. “I love trying to come up with the most complicated striptease costume,” she smiles. “That’s my speciality.”

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