A teacher has stunned his pupils by quitting the classroom – to become a professional DRAG QUEEN.
Ash Cross, 48, had always been interested in dressing up but put his glamorous ambitions aside while he worked as a photography teacher.
But when he took redundancy after more than a decade in his college job he spent £10,000 transforming himself into his very own female alter ego.
Now he spends every weekend as flamboyant Kitty Tray, strutting his stuff in nightclubs and comedy venues and hopes playing the glamorous songstress will be his full time job.
Confident Ash said: “My interest in drag and dressing up has always been in me.
“I used to love diving into my mum’s wardrobe when I was a teenager.
“It was the 80s – Boy George was popular – and I used to love coming down the stairs as a different character.
“But that was as far as it would go – I wouldn’t drag up.
“I was still fascinated with drag queens though, but as a teacher you get suffocated as an artist I think.
“My interest in drag and dressing up has always been in me, but it was locked away during my time as a teacher. I was a professional.
“I’m not a transvestite, but as Kitty I am just me – but in a dress. I feel myself.
“I’d love to be in mainstream entertainment. I’d love to be a carbon copy of Lorraine Kelly.”
Ash, from Carlton, Nottingham, started teaching more than 13 years ago at a further education college.
He always had an interest in drag queens and dressing up, but only ever dressed in women’s clothing for fancy dress parties.
But once he was made redundant in August last year, he started visiting clubs, putting together his act, and Kitty the 32-year-old drag queen was born.
He turned his garage into a photography studio and forked out more than £10,000 on top notch clothes, make up and shoes.
He now busks as the glam singer, and also does stand up and promotional work in clubs and venues.
Ash’s two hour transformation into Kitty begins with a very close shave and involves covering his hair with a stocking and using duct tape to stretch the skin on his face.
He uses hip and bum padding plus a corset and a 42E bra to help add feminine curves to his 5ft 10in frame, and clever make up techniques make his face more feminine.
“She’s not into glitzy diamonds and anything too glittery – Kitty has an extensive taste and is very much into English couture,” said Ash, who is gay with a male partner.
“When I started it used to take me four hours to become Kitty, but now it is more like two hours.
“I wear four pairs of tights to help compress everything down too.
“And sometimes I even use duct tape to make sure no boy bits stick out.”
Ash, who is also a freelance photographer, dreams of becoming a drag queen full time, and next year will be touring with other acts nationwide.
He added: “Lily Savage was the last main stream drag queen and I think it’s about time there was another. I’d really like to be the next one.”