All sequins and sass, Brum’s very own Kitty Scott-Claus took RuPaul’s Drag Race UK by storm. The larger-than-life drag queen talks to David Johns about growing up in Brum, wanting to be Roxy Hart and why she’s ready to become the next Tess Daly!
Kitty Scott-Claus has a mantra we could all do well to adopt: “When a once in a lifetime opportunity comes along, I don’t want to waste a single second not living my best life.” That big chance came for Kitty on Season 3 of the hit TV show, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – and she did indeed grab it with both perfect manicured hands, making the final, and with her flamboyant, joyous, funny personality, becoming something of a national treasure in the process.
The series turned the drag queen who grew up in Brum into an instant favourite, and although she ended up not quite taking the winner’s crown, Kitty says her Drag Race journey was everything she could have dreamed of – and then some. “I had the absolute best time as I allowed myself to be in the moment and enjoy every twist and turn. I’d previously auditioned for Season 2, but I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason, and I’m so pleased the stars aligned and I got my spot on Season 3. I felt like a winner just getting on the show in the first place, I have friends who audition year after year so just knew I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by.”
The show also allowed Kitty to rub sequins with one of her all-time heroes, RuPaul. It was like a dream come true, said Kitty. “Just look at Ru’s career! TVs shows, music, films spanning decades; it’s something I definitely aspire to mirror in my own career. The show does a fantastic job of telling real queer stories and bringing them to the mainstream. What I find so inspiring about the show is that you’ll always find someone you relate to –no matter your gender, sexuality, colour, beliefs.”
Kitty grew up in Sutton Coldfield as Louis Westwood, one a family of six children and remembers being a kid who was always showing off, always singing, dancing and doing impressions. “Whenever my parents would go to parents’ evening they’d get told I needed to concentrate more on schoolwork and less on making the class laugh. I never listened, and here I am today making people laugh!”
The family wasn’t performance focussed at all. “They all went to uni and did serious subjects like engineering and accounting,” said Kitty. “I went to drama school and did musical theatre. But I never wanted to do the boring boy parts. I wanted to be Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, or Roxy Hart in Chicago, or Glinda in Wicked. The busty blondes!”
Kitty added: “I loved growing up in Birmingham. To me coming into the centre of town was like an escape from the dull school life growing up, it was so exciting. I went to school in Sutton, then Walsall and then Lichfield, so I moved around a lot. I loved school but I loved it for the social side, seeing friends. I hated actually having to do the homework. I was never bullied in school, but I was always aware that I was different to everyone else, everyone else has aspirations of working in business or making millions – I just wanted to make people laugh.”
That obvious talent as a youngster to entertain was embraced by Kitty’s parents who decided that stage school would be a good destination. “They knew they had a flamboyant, overdramatic, attention-seeking child,” said Kitty. She started taking speech and drama lessons in primary school and always lived for the school plays, then attending stage school on Sundays, getting involved in local youth theatre groups before going to London for drama school at age 18.
Kitty says of her parents: “They are so, so supportive. I really couldn’t ask for a better team of cheerleaders. They’re so proud, especially now coming off the back of the TV show. After musical theatre school, I sort of fell into drag completely organically after graduating, it just sort of happened.”
Like all of us, Kitty has struggled to face the challenges of the Covid pandemic: “When the pandemic first hit there was one morning when literally every single gig I had booked in for the foreseeable future got cancelled. Before Covid, I was lucky enough to be working and supporting myself as a full-time queen and then to go from that to absolutely nothing, no means of income for the foreseeable future was terrifying. The pandemic has taught me again to grab every opportunity life throws at you, because you never know what’s going to happen in the future – so take the gig, have a camp time and crack open the prosecco!”
Pandemic permitting, Kitty has big plans for her future. She says: “The coming year is going to be huge, I’m touring all over the country and then have the official Drag Race UK tour in the second half of the year which will be fantastic. Who knows what else I’m allowed to say at this point, but watch this space because the world is about to get a hell of a lot more Kitty in 2022. I would love to get into presenting – who knows to be honest, in my head I’m the next Tess Daly!”