1. Von Teese was born in Rochester, Michigan, the middle of three daughters. Von Teese is known for her fascination with 1940s cinema and classic vintage style.
2. This began at a young age and was fostered by her mother, who would buy clothes for her daughter to dress up.
3. Her mother was a fan of old, Golden Age-era Hollywood films, and from her Von Teese developed a fascination with the actresses of that day, especially Betty Grable.
4. She was classically trained as a ballet dancer from an early age, and danced solo at age 13 for a local ballet company.
5. Though she originally wanted to be a ballerina, Von Teese states that “by 15, I was as good as I’d ever be.” She was later to incorporate this element into her burlesque shows, where she frequently goes en pointe.
6. The family relocated from Michigan to Orange County, California, when her father’s job moved.
7. When Von Teese was a teenager, her mother took her to buy her first bra, made from plain white cotton, and gave her a plastic egg containing a pair of wrinkly, flesh-colored tights. Von Teese says she was disappointed, as she had been hoping to receive beautiful lacy garments and stockings, of the type she had glimpsed in her father’s Playboy magazines.
8. She worked in a lingerie store as a salesgirl when she was 15, eventually as a buyer.
9. Von Teese has been fond of wearing elaborate lingerie such as corsets and basques with fully fashioned stockings ever since.
10. In college, Von Teese studied historic costuming and aspired to work as a stylist for films.
11. She is a trained costume designer, often designing (and copyrighting) her photo shoots herself.
12. Von Teese got her stage name by adopting the name Dita as a tribute to silent film actress Dita Parlo.
13. For her breakthrough December 2002 Playboy cover, she was required to have a surname, so she chose Von Treese from the phonebook.
14. In the magazine, this was misspelled as Von Teese, which she decided to stick with.
15. Von Teese achieved some level of recognition in the fetish world as a tightlacer.
16. Through the wearing of a corset for many years, she had reduced her waistline to 22 inches (56cm), and can be laced down as far as 16.5 inches (42cm).