Dita Von Teese is inspired by Gwen Stefani.

The 45-year-old burlesque star thinks women will ''always'' face ageism but looking at the likes of the 48-year-old singer, as well as Jennifer Lopez, also 48, and 59-year-old Madonna, makes her realise she doesn't have to ''retire'' and she can still embrace her ''sensual side''.

She told the Big Issue magazine: ''Ageism, particularly against women, is always going to be difficult to tackle.

''It'll always be there. I was just having a conversation with Gwen Stefani, who's a little older than I am, about when it is not appropriate to do this or that. And I looked at her and said, 'Watching you has a lot of meaning for me. You're a little older than me and I look at you and think I can do that too'.

''We have to stand up for beauty and sensuality and eroticism at all stages of life. Of course, things are going to change. But I think of Gwen, and Madonna and Jennifer Lopez and how they embrace their sensual side. We do not have to retire. We can evolve. I was truly blossoming in this artistic world.''

Dita is ''proud'' to be a figurehead of the burlesque movement, even though that isn't something that she thought about when she began her striptease career.

She said: ''My younger self (starting out in burlesque) wouldn't have understood the issues around body shape and ageism.

''All I thought about was how cool and young and thin I looked. I didn't think about what I was doing beyond, 'oh it's glamorous, its sexy, it's nice clothes and makeup'.

''But now the driving force in what I do is inspiring people that they can be all those things, regardless of shape or age. I feel I've spearheaded a movement which has a lot of meaning for people. Burlesque has exploded, I'm really quite proud of that. I had a mission and I saw it through.''