Twenty-three-year-old burlesque performer Katrina Darling became known for a routine called “God Save The Queen” in which she sported a British flag and a crown, then stripped down to reveal smaller crowns on her dumplings and nibbly bits. She later learned that she’s Kate Middleton’s second cousin, and kept doing the act with a vengeance, disrobing and bumping as Queen Lizzie no doubt felt some very sharp chest pains. On the verge of a September 14 appearance at the New York gay club xl, Katrina stripped her soul bare for a royal grilling. The lady happens to enjoy a lovely chat—sometimes in lieu of sex, in fact.
Hello, Katrina. So you had no idea you were related to Kate Middleton?
I’d been happily prancing around in clubs all over the UK and had no idea what was about to happen. A Daily Mail journalist showed up at my house and was going to do a cute little story about the family tree, and then my mother mentioned what I do. They kind of outed me in a way. They posted images and Page Three stories in the Daily Mail. My story suddenly seemed extremely interesting.
Were you really a banker at one point?
I worked at Barclays. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t particularly fulfill my soul.
Were you not invited to the wedding because you’re only a distant cousin or because you’re a stripper, or both?
It’s because we’d never met. I was completely unaware that we were related. There have been burlesque performers invited to the palace many times. Sukki Singapura was just invited to the palace for afternoon tea—she’s the burlesque ambassador to Singapore.
One day your invite will come. Do you think stripping is an art form?
I do. There’s a lot of skill and technique and hours of work that go into it, as well as making my own costumes and set pieces and putting my music together and doing my own hair and makeup. It’s live art. Back in the day, it was mostly a male audience, but modern burlesque also lays on wit and satire and parodying, like drag acts do.
So the geezers aren’t sitting there getting off in their trenchcoats these days?
You’re not gonna have any back row Johnnies with their johnnies out. Not anymore.
Are you ever self-conscious about baring it all for an audience?
No, not at all. I feel most comfortable with myself when I’m onstage. I don’t really get nervous. It hits me when I get offstage. “Somebody get me some tequila!”
Am I the only one to feel you facially resemble Britney a bit?
I’ve been told that. A young Britney, right? But hey, she’s a sex icon.
Offstage, are you sexually wild or totally vanilla?
I think I’m more verbal. All talk, no action. I’ve been with my partner for a year and a half. We used to work together in our hometown. We used to mess around and stuff. We didn’t see each other for four years or so, then we reconnected after we’d both broken up with other people. We decided to give the other a pity date.
Is your partner a guy or a girl?
Would you say you’re straight or bisexual?
It’s not fair to say I‘m bisexual because I’ve never been in love with a woman, but I’ve certainly been attracted to women.
You did Playboy last year, but you didn’t show your nibblies, did you?
No, I did! I have nothing shameful to hide. I’d done nude shoots and things like that. When I’m onstage, I wear a C-string merkin, which barely covers what’s there. So Playboy wasn’t a far step from what I’m used to.
Would you eventually like to go in a different direction in the biz?
I’m still young and finding my footing and what I like to do. I’d love to see what I can do in the designing realm. I also like p.r. I could see myself as a Kelly Cutrone of the future. I love that woman. She’s insane, but in a great way. I’d love to write as well.
Is it ironic that the royals try to be so proper, but they’re always getting caught showing even more privates than you do?
It’s because they’re always being photographed. How many times are you naked in a day? If they had a camera on you, they’d get a photo of you in the buff.
Yeah, but thankfully no one would publish it.
Don’t be ridiculous. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would love to see that!
Yeah, pervs. By the way, I have to say that, even with the nude shots, the royals bore me to tears. I’m just not interested in people who were either born into or married into status.
It’s that English thing of “You play to the role you’re born into.” I’m fortunate to not have been born into any role, so I could decide for myself. I have that freedom.
So you don’t read gossip on the royals?
Not really. I hear so much through other people that I rarely need to go online and google it!