DITA VON TEESE The burlesque queen takes on our Q&A in which she discusses furry friends, fondue parties and face blindness

First record you ever bought A Tchaikovsky Swan Lake vinyl record from the 1950s with a beautiful photograph of a ballerina on the cover. Last extravagant purchase you made A big, sparkly circus wagon for my Glamonatrix show tour.

First film you saw that really moved you I saw The Elephant Man when I was eight or nine years old, and I remember being very emotional over that film.

Last lie you told I may have lied when I said I remembered someone. People are always asking me if I remember them, but I think I may have a mild form of ‘face blindness’; it’s often difficult for me to recognise/remember people I’ve met before. First concert you ever attended The Michael Jackson Victory concert in Michigan. I won tickets on the radio station. I must have been about ten.

Last time you cried I got teary-eyed seeing this guy on Antiques Roadshow who found out that a Rolex watch he bought while serving in Vietnam was now worth over $700,000. I think it was the fact that he saved up for it, ordered it and never wore it because he felt like it was ‘too nice’.   First great piece of advice you were given Don’t smoke cigarettes.

104 THE LIST 1 Apr–31 May 2020

Last great meal you cooked I had a fondue party with cheese and chocolate fondues.

First crush Paul McCartney, in the 1980s. Last book you read Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. A quick, fun, insightful read.

First thing you do when you’ve got time off work I go to my 1920s-era log cabin in the woods, and I like to go antique shopping on Sundays. Last time you were starstruck Seeing Queen Elizabeth walk just past me in the royal box at a polo match in London. I was totally in awe of her beautiful skin and pink lipstick.

First thing you’d do if you ran the country I would never want to run the country. Maybe just my own tiny village someplace.

Last meal on earth Caviar, perhaps. Or tacos.

First time you realised you were famous I was niche-famous amongst Bettie Page and Playboy fans from around 1994, so I guess I was famous to some people back then. Last time someone criticised your work I’m on social media so I’m criticised with every post.

First three words your friends would use to describe you I just asked and got these from them: down-to-earth, driven and funny. Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it I hardly ever make impulse buys. I think through major purchases very carefully!

First object you’d save from your burning home My cat Aleister. Last funny thing you saw Probably a cat video.


With cultural institutions closing their doors left, right and centre, there’s only one thought that’s keeping us all going during an unprecedented time in our history: this dire situation won’t last forever. All our fingers are crossed that this particular C-bomb will level off as quickly as it accelerated. In that spirit, let’s look ahead with hope that come June we’ll have lots of cultural activities to take in, and that the festivals, events, gigs and shows planned for that month are all up and running.

First job Working at a lingerie store called Lady Ruby’s. Last crime you committed Jaywalking.

First person you’d thank in an award acceptance speech My creative partner and best friend Catherine D’Lish. Last thing you think of before you go to sleep It really depends on how tired I am. I sometimes just focus on gratitude.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning ‘What time is it?’

Dita Von Teese: Glamonatrix, Edinburgh Playhouse, postponed to Mon 22 Feb 2021 due to the COVID-19 virus. See more of this Q&A at