Say hello to saucy Brit Katrina Darling, a burlesque dancer from the port city of Sunderland, northeast England. She’s got tattoos, wears black eyeliner and changes her hair color as often as she changes her knickers – a far cry from the dusty custom of the British royal family. Katrina made headlines when a tabloid reporter outed her as a relative – however distant – of Kate Middleton, newly minted bride of Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge and queen consort in waiting. “She’s my second cousin once removed,” explains Katrina. “I’ve never actually met her, but I do wish her the best.”
Katrina was a banker at Barclays in London, but she quit her day job to pursue a career in burlesque dancing. Her God Save the Queen routine – in which she wears a fur-trimmed crown, velvet cape and the Union Jack over a set of jeweled pasties, and doffs it all to the tune of the British National Anthem – earned her so many rounds of applause that she took her show on the road to New York City, where she performed as the Statue of Liberty at the Demi Monde club.
She started dancing for fun, but it’s fast becoming her career path – so for now, Katrina is staying in New York, enjoying her sudden fame. Her phone is ringing off the hook, and club patrons line up in droves to see her perform. She may not be British royalty, but Katrina’s got real star quality, so we gave her an eight-page spread and put her on the cover of the September 2012 issue of Playboy. Kate Middleton had her own nude pictures, but those were candid – and no one can pull it off with the same candor as Katrina Darling.