The Heat star Melissa McCarthy has a secret desire to become a drag queen.

The actress admits she frequented Chicago, Illinois gay bar Berlin as a teenager and fell in love with the culture, and she still owns a large collection of wigs - just in case she gets the chance to be "a woman trying to be a man who's trying to be a woman".

She tells gay magazine The Advocate, "I wanted to be a drag queen so badly. I'll bet I still own more wigs than any drag queen.

"I remember being undressed and then redressed by two drag queens up on a pillar (at Berlin), and at the end I looked like (actress) Bea Arthur. It was just my world. I was a little odd, and I found them to be the most accepting group.

"We were a band of outsiders who went downtown and realised, 'Oh, we're all right'. There were tons of creative people doing their thing."

She tells the magazine she has even dated one or two gay men, adding, "In my early 20s, I was like the last stop before a guy said, 'Yep, it's official - I'm gay'. I'd be like, 'Really?' I'd think, 'But he's so funny, so charming, and such a good dresser. I never saw it coming'."