AUSTRALIAN entertainment legend Carlotta will come full circle as she her life story is told in all of its fabulous style this week.
Before she became Carlotta she dropped out of school at the age of 16 and got her first job in the art department at David Jones where she painted and designed the window displays at its flagship store on Elizabeth St, Sydney.
“I started in the art department and always painted backdrops, if they wanted a sky or at Christmas if they wanted a scene with castles, I would paint those.
“I used to paint the makeup on the mannequins, and that’s where I learnt a lot, I did a lot of practising on the mannequins.”
Raised in Balmain, Carlotta was part of the famous Kings Cross Les Girls, a famed cabaret performer whose life was one of the inspirations for the film The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Since the 60s Carlotta has been a prominent feature on Australian stage and TV.
When David Jones contacted Carlotta to tell her life story in its windows, she said she was surprised and flattered to be asked.
The display will feature photos and costumes from her illustrious career as a part of David Jones’ tribute to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. It also aims to promote diversity and inclusion.
“It’s very rewarding, when you’re asked to do something like this, you feel like you’ve achieved something special in your life,” Carlotta said.
“I’ve had other honours, but this one feels special.
“The windows are for Mardi Gras plus my journey, from starting there (David Jones) as a boy to becoming Carlotta.”
To launch the window display, the iconic performer will sing live in store on Thursday, March 3 alongside other Sydney talent.
She believes Mardi Gras is an important time for the city.
“I think it really brings the gay scene to the fore so that the the kids can be proud of themselves. I did it tough in the early days and for them to fly their freedom is a wonderful thing,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful thing for tourism.”
We won’t catch Carlotta on a float at the Mardi Gras parade anytime soon because she says she’s “too old for friggin’ floats”, but she hopes the Mardi Gras team could find her a good seat.
“It’ll be the first time I’ll be watching the parade in a long time,” she said.
On the Saturday afternoon before the Mardi Gras parade, Carlotta will host an event at Stonewall to raise money for homeless LGBTI youth.