KATE Middleton’s Mackem cousin Katrina Darling will unveil a new burlesque routine on Wearside this weekend.
The 22-year-old dancer from Fulwell has hit headlines on both sides of the pond after a journalist discovered she was related to the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Royal connection has seen the former Monkwearmouth School pupil’s career soar – including being asked by Hugh Hefner to appear on the front cover of Playboy magazine.
Now she is appearing with the Sunderland dance troupe who helped to spark her interest in the art form.
Katrina will be debuting a new fan dance at the Coquette Collective Golden Garter Variety Show tomorrow night at North Shore in St Peter’s.
“I started off performing with the Coquettes and it was them who got me into it,” says Katrina. “We have always remained friends but I haven’t had a chance to perform with them since 2009 so it’s going to be great to be back on home turf.
“As well as debuting a new fan dance, I’ll be performing a balloon pop dance which I was asked to perform for the Prince of Norway at one of the corporate gigs I do.”
Since Katrina’s link with Kate was discovered - Katrina’s grandma, Jane Darling, was sister to Kate’s great grandfather Thomas Harrison - she’s shot to fame, appearing on magazine front covers including last month’s Loaded magazine and being asked to perform at countless events.
One of her most high-profile jobs to date is appearing on the front cover of US Playboy and appearing in eight pages of its September edition.
“It’s funny because Hugh Hefner has said he doesn’t like tattoos or big panties but I was the most tattooed cover girl to appear in Playboy and I was wearing big panties,” she said.
Katrina, who still lives on Wearside, added: “People’s reaction to Playboy has been varied, a lot of it is just politics really. I do what makes me happy and if people don’t like it they don’t have to look.”
The dancer still lives on Wearside and has never met Kate Middleton but she says the link is something she’s always asked about.
“It’s obviously of a lot of interest to other people but I didn’t know anything about it until a journalist rang me,” she said. “It doesn’t affect me day to day. People ask my opinion about her but I don’t feel qualified to say much.”
Katrina will appear on stage on Saturday night at the former Manor Quay alongside a host of other performers including Duke De Milo, Felicity Switch and Gretchen Tice for the variety show.
*Tickets are £12 for VIP which includes a champagne and cupcake reception and a personal tables for your party or £6 for standing. Visit www.thecoquettecollective.co.uk. Doors open at 7pm.