Meet the First Lady of flying

Photo: Supplied 
GLAM GAL: Cathy Specific can be found at Madame Zingara in Montecasino.
Photo: Supplied GLAM GAL: Cathy Specific can be found at Madame Zingara in Montecasino.

And he hopes to keep doing it for as long as possible.

He openly admits that he never wanted to be a performer. In fact, he wanted to be a doctor, a paediatrician to be specific. “I thought I had a good bedside manner, I love kids. I thought all the mothers would bring their kids to me and they’d be very rich,” he laughed.

However, it seems fate had other things in store for this gentle giant. One of his earliest memories is playing a secret game with his beloved nanny, Selena. “She used to place all my mum’s high-heeled shoes in a row and I would get from one pair to the next and walk up and down the passage a million times.

“Then, in my 30s, I decided to put heels on again – but it was never dresses, it was never make-up, it was just the high-heeled shoes. I love high-heel shoes.”

So how does a man get away with wearing high-heels? He becomes a performer, of course.

You’ll probably recognise him from his role as Frank N. Furter in the stage production of the Rocky Horror Show, where he owned the stage in a slinky corset and killer platform heels. However, it’s Cathy that’s stolen the hearts of audiences everywhere.

Van Rhyn created Cathy Specific, a voluptuous blonde bombshell of an air-hostess who’s instantly recognisable thanks to her calves of steel and baby blue uniform. “For me, Cathy Specific is a lot more than just a man with a great pair of legs, a good figure and great skin. She has a message, and I think I have a gift when I’m dressed up. I can’t tell you what it is, but I know it’s there.”

He explained that Cathy was inspired by the fact that he travelled the world as a flight attendant for South African Airways in his 20s. “I always say there’s no better drama school that at 35 000 feet above sea level, you’ve got a captive audience,” he chuckled.

Van Rhyn does all his own make-up for each of his performances and he says that this is how he transitions into Cathy. “I always joke and say that her thought patterns change, her blood group changes. I leave Brendan and become Cathy.

“Let’s get one thing straight – I never wanted to be a woman. I love being a boy, I love all his bits, I love what I, as a boy, have to offer, but I’m just incredibly good at being a woman as well. In this business maybe it’s great because I can do both.”

You may be able to catch an eyeful (or more) of Cathy Specific as she’s doing a few impromptu performances at Madame Zingara’s stint at Montecasino. Cathy also frequently visits posh events and cabaret shows.


Victoria Taylor

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