Carlotta is an Australian cabaret performer and television celebrity. She began her career as an original member of the long-running Les Girls cabaret show, performed entirely by heavily costumed males, which started in 1963 in the purpose built Les Girls building which stood on a prominent corner in the heart of Sydney's Kings Cross, New South Wales. The building was owned by Sydney identity Abe Saffron. Carlotta, a transgender person, rose through the ranks of the show to eventually become the show's compere and its most famous member. Les Girls and Carlotta soon became must-see attractions for visitors to Sydney and the show was popular with visiting international celebrities. The show continued in the Les Girls building until 1993, the Les Girls show went on-the-road, touring Australia, which inspired the film "Priscilla Queen of the Desert". The Les Girls building, which was still standing intact with original 1960s features, throughout the 1990s was the venue for alternative cabaret, including the much loved Sunday night club The Tender Trap (club).
Carlotta was featured in the soap opera Number 96 in 1973 as Robyn Ross, the new girlfriend of Arnold Feather. In the story it was soon revealed that Robyn was in fact a transsexual 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".
Carlotta's sex-change operation in the early 1970s was not the first such procedure in Australia, but due to her celebrity status it became the first to receive publicity there. Carlotta was also one of the inspirations for the film 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.
From 1997, Carlotta has been a regular panelist on the discussion program Beauty and the Beast.
In 2005, she featured in her own half a million dollar stage production, "Carlotta's KingsX", presented at the Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney. Produced by Brett Elliott and Richard Bernardo, the 90 minute show delivered classic storytelling, stand up comedy, lavish costumes, and team of 'Les Girls' dance performances throughout. Supported by massive 6x22m video backdrop, video content presented the story of Kings Cross collated from footage supplied by ABC, Channel Seven and Channel Nine.
Carlotta is currently touring Australia with her "Carlotta - Queen of the Cross; show and regularly features at all sorts of festivals and gala premieres, including Melbourne's Midsumma, Gold Coast's Glitter and Brisbane's Melt festivals.
Carlotta is a guest panellist on Channel TEN's Studio 10 morning Show. Where she gives her view on the latest breaking news and hot topics. Studio 10 broadcasts live from 8.30am every weekday from Network Ten’s Sydney studios at Pyrmont, plus a "best of" edition on Saturdays and Sundays.
Carlotta recently appeared on one of her favourite tv shows "Celebrity Come Dine With Me".
On 26 January 2020, Carlotta was the recipient of Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division) for significant service to the performing arts, and to the LGBTIQ community.