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Dita Von Teese talks destiny, intuition and Ugg boots

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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Dita Von Teese, Absolut Elyx, The Box Soho, Burlesque, Stylist, Interview

What will the burlesque performer make of our existential questions?

What is the meaning of life?

Life has meaning when one has purpose.

What is the difference between right and wrong?

Don’t intentionally hurt others, physically or emotionally. Have compassion. It’s not difficult.

Where is your happy place?

I have a Twenties log cabin in the forest. It’s surrounded by epic pine trees and redwoods.

Nature or nurture?

How about nurturing nature?

Is it more important to be liked or respected?

Liked. You can get respect by also being liked. You don’t have to be awful to people to get respect.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

My role in reviving burlesque.

Who or what is your greatest love? 

That’s a question for the final moments on my deathbed!

When did you last lie?

I’m not a liar, I’m an exaggerator. I exaggerate about my costumes. A costume that really has about 150,000 stones, I might have said it had 250,000.

Does the supernatural exist?

I’m really into connective things with certain psychedelics, like planet psychedelics and psychedelic mushrooms and ayahuasca. I believe in all the connective stuff in the universe. It’s not exactly supernatural but it’s something a lot of people don’t believe in.

Are you fatalistic?

Every choice we make is a part of our destiny. A lot of it is to do with certain privilege, the privilege of what [circumstances] you are born into etc. But sometimes things that seem like an obstacle actually work in one’s favour and sometimes the universe conspires for you if you’re doing the right things and wanting things for the right reasons.

What is your greatest fear?

Death seems extremely unnerving. Not so much the pain of it, but the fact that we are all just little blips in mankind. Even if we do everything we can to create a lasting legacy, eventually it’s all dust.

Animals or babies?

Animals. When I was a little kid I didn’t feel like a little kid. I always wanted to be a grown-up. It’s not to say I don’t like children but I do love animals. And people don’t need to have that many more children – we’re already over-populated.

What talent do you yearn for?

I wish I could dance like Cyd Charisse. She was a great dancer in the movies of the Forties and Fifties.

Do you like to be complimented?

I like genuine compliments. I don’t want to be complimented because people think I need it.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

I think I do. I don’t have any tattoos or intense piercings but the corsetry and the high heels show I do.

What book do you recommend most to others?

I’ve been recommending Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. It’s a really easy read. It’s so nice to pick up a book that gives great advice about how and why to step away from social media and your phone.

Notes on a Nervous Plant by Matt Haig, Book cover

Dita is fan of Matt Haig’s advice on stepping away from your phone in Notes on a Nervous Planet. 

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

Setting boundaries with people and listening to my intuition. I have really good intuition about people and their intentions, but sometimes I don’t listen to it out of fear of being considered cold or unfriendly.

What food sums up happiness?

Tacos. We have pretty good tacos in Los Angeles. It’s all about a soft handmade tortilla.

What have you never understood?

Certain fashion choices, like when girls wore miniskirts and Uggs. I grew up in Orange Country and Ugg boots were what my surfer boyfriend in high school wore to get up at 4am to go surfing.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

I’m not sure yet.

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

Of course. I don’t believe in the story of heaven and hell, but I am interested in the way our energy may be part of one vast universe. I don’t think the process of dying has to be terrible; it’s the goodbyes to loved ones that seem the devastating part. I’m hoping I’ll be like my grandmother, who is approaching 100 years old and wakes up every day saying she’s ready to go to heaven.

Quinoa or Quavers?

[after Stylist explains exactly what Quavers are] Oh, quinoa. Crispy cheese doesn’t sound like my kind of thing at all.

Absolut Elyx presents Dita Von Teese and the Copper Coupe, at The Box, London

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Moya Lothian-McLean

Moya Lothian-McLean is Stylist’s editorial assistant where she spends her time inventing ways to shoehorn Robbie Williams into pieces. A reoffending dancefloor menace, a weekend finds her taking up too much space at disco nights around the city and subsequently recovering with dark sunglasses and late brunch the next day. 

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