Carlotta is an Australian entertainer, cabaret performer and television celebrity. Often billed as “The Queen of The Cross”, she began her career as an original cast member and later Bardot-like star of the long-running male revue Les Girls (pronounced LAY-GIRLS) cabaret show, which started in 1963 in the purpose built and Abe Saffron-owned Les Girls nightclub building which stood on a prominent corner in the heart of Sydney’s Kings Cross, to the right of the famous El Alamein Fountain. The revue was performed entirely by costumed males in drag and Carlotta often performed spot-numbers as a singer and comedian. Carlotta came out as a transgender woman and rose through the ranks of the show to eventually become the show’s compere and its star
Carlotta was one of the inspirations for the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. She had a few short breaks from Les Girls for international tours, but overall by the time she left the show for the final time in 1992 she had spent a total of 26 years performing with the troupe. She is a published author and has been the subject of personal memoirs.
Carlotta has also used the names Carol Spencer, Carol Byron, Carol Lee and Carla.
Carlotta was featured in the soap opera Number 96 in 1973 as Robyn Ross, the new girlfriend of Arnold Feather (portrayed by Jeff Kevin). In the story it was soon revealed that Robyn was in fact a transgender showgirl, a revelation that led to the character’s quick departure from the show. To preserve the shock ending to this storyline, the true identity of Robyn’s portrayer was kept secret from all but a few central cast and crew members of the series. Her scenes were shot on a closed set and Carlotta was credited as “Carolle Lea”.