I think it's fairly clear that this song is about fame and its dark side. Stevie has said she wrote this song after the photo shoot for the Buckingham Nicks cover, where she went topless. She says it was the only time she felt she had done something "sleazy," forced by her lifestyle to compromise her principles in order to please "Hollywood." Likewise, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Marilyn Monroe were all beautiful, adored stars in their day, but their lives were certainly not problem-free to say the least. They also had to compromise themselves, give up happiness for fame.
Stevie talks about how, in this lifestyle, she's forced to "play the part" - she has to go along with everything, pretend it's nothing for her to take off her clothes for a camera, act cool and unaffected, hide the real her. She does it convincingly - everyone believes she is comfortable in her "Hollywood" role - but since no one knows the real her, LA is still "a town full of strangers."
Then, once you achieve fame, it's not all it's cracked up to be - when you get close to "Venus," or fame, it "doesn't glitter" - it loses much of its desirability. Once you achieve "stardom you miss what you lose" - what you gave up to be a star. In Stevie's case, she gave up innocence and (during the photo shoot) her principles. Still, she finds solace in that it's what she "does best" and she "mustn't give it up." She has two choices: become a master at the Garbo role or forget about everything.
At age 36, after the flop of her film, Two Faced Woman (1941), Garbo withdrew from the entertainment field and retired to a secluded life in New York City.
Marlene Dietrich, in her seventies, problems with health concerns, and an obsessive vanity withdrew from public view.
"You could be Garbo or even Marlene"...( She could become obsessed and ultimately reclusive as those glittering stars ended up...) "You could be Marilyn",( dying tragically young from a drug overdose with such a bright future ahead of her...) "Or you could forget" about all the things you gave up to get where you currently are... You can make yourself get lost in the moment to forget the pain and often loneliness of being an enigma.
"I love to waltz with a man in a dark linen suit All alone -- at a party with someone I knew
From a time gone by, turned into stone".. She is thinking about what she loves to do as compared to what she has to do. A time gone by in her life that she longs for, a piece of her heart that she has to "turn into stone" in order to survive?
"Venus doesn't glitter when she stands next to you" It is easy to get wrapped up in living up to the expectations of your audience... They see you as a Goddess, shining brighter than Venus herself. And you allow yourself to "waltz through stardom" and play the part. You miss what you lose... You never see it until too late, then you miss what you lose in a sense of longing for what was passed by. You realize that the glitter doesn't shine. So, lose yourself in a silvery dress...Choose to ignore it... You lose touch with yourself sometimes because of the fame, and you allow yourself to get lost in something beautiful to try to forget. You can let the fame ultimately ruin you when you realize what was given up, or you can make yourself forget what you missed and try to appreciate what you have. "The feeling remains even after the glitter fades"
Her strength is in knowing that this was the path she chose in life and she has walked it with dedication and dignity. Through all the trails, she survived a life that so many other stars did not.