Dita Von Teese on her wild “Don’t Worry Darling” cameo

Mid Road don’t worry darling comes an unsettling party scene in an already unsettling film: a cult Chris Pine is on stage, riling up a crowd of tuxedoed company men and forcing Harry Styles to tap dance like a trained ape, while the Alice of Florence Pugh begins to break down. In stark contrast to the machismo, however, is burlesque queen Dita Von Teese, who makes a scintillating appearance in a soap-bubbly life-size champagne glass topped with a giant strawberry.

“We filmed it at the end of 2020, and as far as I can tell, it could hit the cutting room floor,” Von Teese tells me from Los Angeles. It wasn’t until she watched the psychological thriller at its recent New York premiere that she realized she had played a role in the film’s twisty turn. Von Teese says she’s “tickled” by fans who approach her about the cameo, even recognizing her with her signature raven hair hidden behind a platinum blonde wig. She didn’t assume that “people would probably be like, ‘That’s not that girl in the glass.'”

vogue spoke with Von Teese about director Olivia Wilde, the drama that swirled Don’t worry darling, and what it was like to shoot that seminal scene with Pine, Pugh and Styles.

vogue: How did you come to be cast in the film? I read that your neighbor, [Don’t Worry Darling costume designer] Arianne Phillips, was your connection.

Dita Von Teese: I got a call from Arianne. We’ve been friends for a long time, and when I heard it was Olivia Wilde… I’m a huge fan of her work. I immediately said, “Oh my God, I’d love that,” because I was just sitting… you know, show biz was completely shut down. I was planning on doing a world tour that was supposed to start in February 2020. I’m my own producer and I put my own money into it, so I was kind of like, Am I going to do a show again? I had canceled my tour and the film was my very first performance. So, a bit annoying, but I was really excited at the same time.

When Arianne called you, what did she tell you about the film?

Almost immediately, it went from a few text messages to Olivia and Arianne in my garage, and we were pulling out the costumes and I was showing them everything on a big table. We lay them flat because they are so heavy with large Swarovski crystals. I didn’t know much about the movie. In fact, when I saw it last Monday, it was the first time I had seen it, and I knew nothing of the plot.

What did you think of the film? Personally, I didn’t see the twist coming.

So many twists and turns, including the twist where many critics say it’s bad, but everyone loves this movie. Now that it’s out, it speaks for itself. I was kind of like, Wow, this looks like some kind of misogyny going on here.

Do you think there is a thread between the message of the film and the way a film by a female director has been received? I also wondered if all the triage and screening would take place…

… If it was a man. That’s what I always thought too. It wouldn’t be a problem if the director was a man and was like… you know, whatever happened. Anyway, I don’t know… I was only on the movie one day, so I don’t know all that, but I was just watching [all the film coverage] Go, Oh, so strange. Is it going to be a good movie? And now it’s the number one movie in the country and people can’t stop talking about it. I know I don’t have bad taste in movies and I liked that whether I was in it or not.

What was your experience, being directed by Olivia Wilde?

Surprising. I had a good time. I was just doing my thing for the most part. It’s interesting because we filmed it at [Los Angeles’s] Cicada Club, which is one of the places where I did my first concerts in the early 2000s. [Olivia] was the one who suggested I go blonde and I was like, “Well, I’ve got a great blonde wig here.” It was just fun. I mean, it wasn’t an easy performance for me because I’m used to being on a big, big stage and I was basically on a little platform in the middle of the room. I just had to reconcile the costumes in a different way and dance in a different way than I normally would on my tour.

Why do you think being blonde was important?

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