Tessa!

Face-to-face with the ultimate tease, Dita Von Teese

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It took only one night in Bangkok to discover the perfect female body. Dita Von Teese, the renowned Queen of Burlesque, showed off her most graceful and curvaceous form in a one-night show in Bangkok’s posh Peninsula Hotel.

The burlesque dancer and actress performed a steamy show, starring her porcelain, flawless skin and voluptuous figure, for an intimate audience all invited by Cointreau. The liqueur’s famous “Be Cointreauversial” attitude is best personified by Dita, famous for taking a dip in a giant martini glass and cavorting with other whimsical stage props before mouth-agape viewers around the world. Dita is actually American, but her show is just like Cointreau—quintessentially French.

Straight from Bangkok airport, the Philippine press contingent, namely Pepper Teehankee, Melo Esguerra and I, braved the legendary Bangkok traffic and luckily made it on time for the intimate interview with La Dita. The quaint Hotel Eugenia was the venue for the tête-à-tête.

Born Heather Renée Sweet some 40 summers ago, Dita’s stage name is her own combination of a favorite Hollywood bombshell from the ’50s and a name from the Yellow Pages. She shared numerous juicy tidbits, including the fact that she is vegetarian, does Pilates daily, and has a vintage lingerie collection.

And to keep in shape, her regular exercise is… sex! Given her bod, I may have to rethink my dedication to triathlon and have a serious conversation with my hubby!

Cointreau Teese cocktails

Too bad the interview was cut short as it was time to head to the press cocktails at Sofitel Bangkok, hosted by Xavier Desaulles, regional managing director of Remy Cointreau, and Justin Weston, global brand director of Cointreau.

Sunny Ku, Cointreau’s PR maven, and Joey Pineda, commercial manager of Remy Cointreau Philippines, informed the group that Dita said her best interview from among all the different press contingents was the one with us. Clearly that’s because we talked about exciting topics instead of say, politics and stuff like that. It also helped that all three of us arrived in fab outfits!

The famous burlesque artist and the Cointreau team have been perfecting a cocktail that bears her name: Cointreau Teese. Dita wanted the cocktail to be representative of her style, so she selected violet as the top note. The cocktail is perfected with apple and lemon juices, and finished with a slice of ginger on the edge of the glass, to add a touch of spice.

The night came alive at the Dita Von Teese Show at the Peninsula Bangkok, the highlight of which was when she took a skinny dip in a giant Cointreau highball glass.

Putting the tease back into striptease, she also did things with a feather fan best left out of the pages of this family newspaper. With all the glitter, props and costumes, I was in “Dita” envy. All I want for Christmas is a Dita-esque figure!

‘The King and I’

I could not get away from Thailand, even upon my return home. A few nights after arriving, it was time to see “The King and I,” the Broadway musical about the King of Siam and his schoolteacher Anna at Resorts World Manila. Our Assumption HS Batch ’81 celebrated the show along with 82 beneficiary children—one for each of King Mongkut’s children.

Our children-beneficiaries came from the Leukemic Indigent Fund Endowment, the Scholars of Dream Big Pilipinas Association from Gawad Kalinga in Mandaluyong, and CCF Makati Tagalog School from Barangay Poblacion, Makati. We also welcomed the seminarians from Our Lady of the Angels Franciscan Seminary.

To complete our batch of 82 kids, we had the 14 members of the San Juan Nepomuceno Glee Club from the Assumption Mission School in Malibay, Pasay. This school is one of the 13 mission schools that our batch and other Assumption alumnae support annually. The kids gamely caroled at the lobby that evening.

None of this would have been possible without the help of our generous sponsors. A big “thank you” to the generous folks at Magnum, Misibis Bay Resort, Marie France, Svenson and Facial Care Center. A very special thank you also to Volvo, who has supported our projects for the past eight years, and to Tito Nards Gamboa, who also made it possible for these children to watch the show.

Magnum raffled off 20 boxes of Magnum and freezers full of Magnum. Magnum has been so supportive of all our charitable projects, including sending treats to the high-school children studying at Sisters of Mary in Silang, Cavite.

Swatch Christmas event

Swatch was also a generous donor and sponsored 50 kids to see the show. A week later, Swatch kicked off the Christmas season with a Christmas event. It seems that every year, the Swatch Christmas event gets better and better.

As Swatch creative director Rowell Santiago said: “Virgie Ramos never does anything twice. And the latest event must be better than the last. Her energy does not wane, so we all have to keep up with her.”

This year, the Swatch Christmas was celebrated with the opening of the Swatch Shop in Glorietta 1. The store was beautiful. Everything was shining and glittering, including the new gold Swatch watches on display.

Gone are the days of ribbon cutting for Swatch. The bar has been raised! Tita Virgie and her team created huge golden doors with revolving gears. The guest of honor, Jaime Zobel, put his palm on the doors and they magically separated to formally open the store.

As the Swatch doors opened, Zia Quizon sang her acoustic version of Adele’s “Skyfall.” Then, the dynamic duo of Matteo Guidicelli and Alodia Gosiengfiao presented a golden briefcase to Jaime. In it were bundles of Jaime Zobel Swiss francs!

The best part was when Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber announced that the Zobel Swiss francs were legal tender at the Swatch Shop, but only for the evening. At that point, the guests collectively proved there is no frenzy like a Pinoy shopping frenzy. The yummy food of Margarita Fores took a back seat to the Swatch displays.

All of which goes to show, one night in Manila is a lot more fun than one night in Bangkok.

Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter or e-mail her at seaprincess@inquirer.com.ph.

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