(CTM) When I was growing up in a not so gay friendly Oklahoma town I had a hard time fitting in.  I didn't share their philosophies about how a kid should dress, and they never let me forget it. I think that experience ignited something in me, a vengeful commitment to personal style. I wonder if there is something like that in your history.  You can be as avant garde as Grace Jones or Isabella Blow, then as demure as Audrey Hepburn, and you harness Noir like no other. It’s a profound range yet it all looks completely natural on you. Your commitment to style is remarkable... like you're dressing with a vengeance, what lit that fire?

(DVT) I was very shy as a little girl, and as a pre-teen. I rarely spoke in front of strangers and classmates, I had a very soft and quiet voice, so much so that I was often sent to speech classes, which for me, was traumatic because it didn't help any, I was just very shy. I was also a middle child, so I always felt a little lost between my two sisters. I think that playing with clothes and slowly forming a strong look was part of my way of expressing myself, and creating a look and feel of confidence that has definitely become genuine over time. I think that dressing extravagantly and "painting" myself was also a way of making myself somewhat unapproachable to certain people. I was made fun of a lot in the early 90's when I was first dying my hair from it's natural blonde to red then to jet black, and I was wearing some pretty outrageous hats and corsets in my everyday life. I always saw it as a compliment when someone wearing jeans and a baseball cap would make fun of me, it was kind a way for me to attract people that were like me, and weed out the ones that weren't. Now I have to say that I see some things in a
different way than I did then, for instance, now, I don't want to seem unapproachable to people, in fact, I work harder on trying to counteract my "unapproachable" look, especially in dating, because it's not easy for men to start a conversation with me, I'm told! But I am devoted to
my look because it makes me feel good, and it's real for me, not something I do for show, or for my "persona", and I think that can he hard for people to understand sometimes.
But I am devoted to my look because it makes me feel good, and it's real for me, not something I do for show, or for my "persona", and I think that can he hard for people to understand sometimes.

 

(CTM) We first spoke in 2005. You were named Great Britain’s Best Dressed by Harper’s & Queen, and you wrote me to say you’d mentioned TheFROCK in the article. Naming our website as your favorite place for vintage was a wonderful gesture, but the really surprising thing was that you were thoughtful enough to email about it. I’ve read that people are often impressed by how down to earth you are, an impressive feat given the kind of praise the world has given you. I imagine most expect you to be unapproachable, do people often express surprise at how unaffected by fame you seem to be? I wonder, are you naturally immune to great spikes in ego or  did you have to make a conscious decision to not be taken over by the monster that would have consumed most of us in your position.

 

(DVT) I'm fairly unaware of my fame in a way, I'm kind of one of those people that is either in a room where everyone knows me or no one knows me! I've been doing my burlesque shows for decades now, so I guess the fact that I had such a slow climb, it never really struck me that I was famous, I just see it as "some people know and like what I do, some don't". I still never know how to answer the question "are you famous or something?"! I get asked that all the time by strangers and I just feel stupid answering it! I keep hoping I will find the ideal quick answer to that which conveys how I really feel, that yeah, I'm recognized for what I do by some people. I always liked this thing Diane von...