Hardest thing about stripping: To make it look effortless and natural.
Her first corset: It was out of my life for a little while. It was stolen, by a friend of mine’s daughter. One day she returned it and said she was sorry. I was happy. I have hundreds of corsets, but that is the most important one.
Worst moment onstage: My hair caught on fire. I do an act where I sit on a vanity table that has candelabras on it. Well, there was a lot of hair spray going on. I realized what was happening and put my hair out. The show went on.
Next big purchase: I’m getting ready to make a new show, and that is always a big expense. It will involve $80,000 worth of costumes and props. This one is going to be especially rhinestone heavy.
Morning routine: My waking time always changes, because sometimes I am really jet lagged. When I’m home, I am up around 9 o’clock. First, I check my BlackBerry, which is next to me in bed. Then I let my dogs outside and get everybody breakfast.
Best thing about divorce from
Fear about new love: That I’ll fall for a man who wants a modern, minimalist interior.
Prized possession: I took my engagement diamond and had it transformed at
Performance piece: Yes, I do perform in a giant martini glass, but I don’t keep it at home. All my props are kept in storage, a really big storage space, because I have a lot of things even bigger than that glass. I have never been where they are stored, to be honest. It’s somewhere in
Animal friends: I have various taxidermied animals. I have a peacock, swans and birds in large glass domes. They’re beautiful.
Rainy-day activities: Sitting in front of the fire with my pets, two dachshunds and three Devon Rex cats, which is a breed that has unusually large ears and wide-set eyes.
Indispensable gadget: A 1940s phone station. It’s a stand that holds the phone, and you sit in it. You can’t move around. I used to have a cordless phone and I hated it.
Waistline: I’m not technically a tight lacer. It’s a fetish, in which you wear extremely tight corsets all the time. I don’t sleep in my corsets, and I’m not obsessed with obtaining the world’s smallest waist. My waist is around 18 inches.
Velvet painting: A painting of me by an artist named Olivia, who specializes in pinups.
Burlesque memento: I have an artifact of the famed burlesque star Sally Rand, from 1939. It’s a box that says “Winter Underwear for Men” on it. Inside is a crocheted warmer for a man’s equipment. It’s hysterical.
Guilty pleasure: Eating foie gras in Paris. That has gotten me into a lot of trouble with PETA. But it is a guilty pleasure; I feel guilty and horrible about it.
Extra bedrooms: I turned one of them into a dark, jewel box of a bedroom. Another is a wardrobe with my dresses, shoes and vintage clothes. The third is devoted to my hat collection and vanity. It’s a real powder room.
Collections: I collect in a crazy way. I have at least 15 collections. I collect vintage hair combs; vintage clothes; vintage lingerie; hats; jewelry; cigarette holders.
Favorite collection: My hats. When I look at them I can’t believe these are things that women wore on the street every day. They are dramatic and distinctive.
Treasured eras: For taxidermy, Victorian; for furniture, Art Deco; for lingerie, 1940s stockings and Victorian corsets; hats I like mid-1940s, when they wore the little tilted hats, like men’s hats.
Fanciest corset: It’s by Mr. Pearl, without a doubt the world’s most-sought-after corset maker. He lives in Paris, and all the couturiers go to him. He has an unmatched talent for creating the perfect wasp waist. Each corset requires between 6 and 20 fittings.
Evening routine: I have no routine. I am happy if I am in bed by 1 a.m. It’s a great victory for me if I can sleep eight hours or more.
By her bed: A beautiful Art Deco box with a condom in it. I’m a single girl.
Favorite chore: Grocery shopping. I wasn’t always able to afford food, so I love putting things in my cart and realizing I can afford them.
Always in fridge: Eggs and truffle sauce. I order the sauce online. It is called Truffle Gatherers sauce. It is so good with eggs. It is very precious to me.
What she misses about America when abroad: More value to the dollar.
Fitness routine: About 20 minutes jumping on the trampoline and an hour of Pilates. I often take Sundays off.
What she wanted to be when she grew up: A ballerina.
Obsession: Ballet shoes. I have a collection dyed in every color of the rainbow.
Belief system: There are superstitions in burlesque. You aren’t supposed to put your shoes on the table. I try to pay attention to that, but I really like looking at my shoes, so I put them on the table all the time.
Perfect kitchen: One of my big extravagances when I moved out of my former husband’s house was a matching pink stove and refrigerator in ’50s style. Unlike real vintage items, they work. Obsolete item she can’t bear to part with: Everything I have is obsolete. That’s the point.