In the Alchemist, there's the idea that adversity pushes you more to your calling, and vanquishing barriers is what comes to mind when reflecting upon the world's most polished mutineer, Dita Von Teese. Rather than allow herself to be diminished by the pop culture, Sports Illustrated, modern standard of beauty, she has single-handedly birthed her own classic-cum-contemporary criteria. With pale skin and black hair, Dita identified with the retro glamour of Bettie Page, Marlene Dietrich, and Marilyn Monroe. For them, beauty was a mystique that you created. The fetishistic universe of these timeless icons, -- diametrically opposed to the idolization of youth, ethnicity, and so-called "natural beauty" -- was available to everyone. The delicate and refined Dita, obsessed with extravagant lingerie, was in.
"What makes you different, makes you valuable," was Dita's response when she first entered an LA strip club packed with tan blondes. There was no one there like her, so it was the perfect opportunity for her to change the stripper game. To this day, functioning as her own glam squad, Dita weaves a web of magic in her burlesque shows, which are idealized, fantastic, and anything but a real version of her sexuality. An easy target for condemnation in our hypocritical, prudish society, Dita not only welcomes the inevitable haters, but values them. "To seek the acceptance of everybody is to live a safe and mediocre existence where everyone will forget you," Dita declares. Reconfiguring people’s minds about what it is to be a stripper, where Dita can be both buck naked and classy, fuels her.
The fact that Dita flinches at herself in the dressing room mirror while trying on a bathing suit and, at the same, seduces her audience into believing that she's flawless, smashes the trope that you're only beautiful if you are this year's Gisele. Females of all shapes and sizes are cast in Dita's own Von Follies lingerie shows, where curves and age are celebrated. Dita's career itself is a celebration of the possibility of arriving at something through personal obstacles and it proves that being against the odds is a gift.
xo Elisa & Lily
Dita's video was edited by Maximiliano Gaston Longo.