Inside the Dollhouse

Unleashing the sexy—a girl’s guide, according to Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin

It’s Friday night. It’s your birthday. The girls are getting together to celebrate. Before you head down to the strip, Robin Antin has some advice.

But first, why you should listen: Antin built a brand out of “sexy.” She created (and originally starred in) the Pussycat Dolls in 1995. She grew the modern burlesque troupe into a Grammy-nominated music group and developed a touring offshoot with celebrity guests. She’s choreographed for music videos and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Her second Pussycat Dolls’ dance-fitness video comes out this fall, and there’s a reality show in the works. As a co-producer, she created the Dirty Virgins to back up Matt Goss’ show at Caesars Palace. And now she’s casting the New Pussycat Dolls.

The woman knows sexy.

And she knows—even if you don’t—that you’re sexy, too. “Every woman has an inner ‘Doll.’ I just give her a way to bring that out,” Antin says.

In June she opened the Pussycat Dolls-branded burlesque saloon at Planet Hollywood. With black leather seating and a mirrored stage snaking around the room, it’s an intimate and mod take on a watering hole. Clad in fantasy-inducing costumes Antin designed, the Pussycat Dolls dancers do standing-splits on poles and shimmy in a glimmering bathtub.

It’s easy to see why guys would watch, but then, Antin says, “men are easy when it comes to sexy.”

“What I’m really inspired by is the women in the audience—what makes them feel sexy,” she says. “This saloon is for them. It’s not like when you go to a show on the Strip. I want the women to feel like they’re part of the show. We want them to get up onstage, too. They can be a Pussycat Doll, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.”

So now to Antin’s advice on going from kitten to Pussycat Doll:

1. Be confident.

“Yes, it’s so cliché,” Antin says, but that doesn’t make it any less true. A woman with healthy confidence is sexy. The saloon gets women in touch with that confidence. “It’s kind of amazing the transformation that can happen. I’ll see a woman walk in kind of shy, but once she starts dancing, the confidence starts coming out.”

But there’s also such a thing as being too confident. “I auditioned this one woman who was almost aggressive with her confidence. It was too in-your-face. It didn’t seem natural.”

2. Be stylish.

That doesn’t mean always wearing the latest thing. Do that, and you’ll end up blending in. “If you try to stay with the trends, you’re always going to be behind.” The key is to wear clothes you love and make sure they fit properly. “Some of my girls look great in the corset; for others, it’s the high-waisted bottom and push-up. Learn your body and what you look and feel great in.”

3. Be a star!

But don’t hog the spotlight. Remember that when you’re out with your girls, what will make heads turn is when the group dynamic clicks.

Casting girl groups is tricky business for Antin. She’s looking for team players who can stand out as individuals. It comes down to letting each girl be best in her particular role —whether it’s the singer or the bathtub girl.

“When we’re doing a photo shoot, girls will ask, ‘This time can I stand in the middle?’ I tell them, ‘It doesn’t matter where you stand, you’ll be the girl that stands out by knowing what sets you apart, and it isn’t where you stand.’ Own what you do best, and you’ll own your moment in the group.”