When you think of Willam Belli, it’s hard not to break out singing “This Boy is a Bottom,” but this queen has mastered the art of remaking and marketing himself. We caught up with Willam as he prepares for the debut of When We Rise.
QLife: This month you are part of a mini-series on ABC. Tell us a little about "When We Rise", how did you get involved, and what is your role in the mini-series?
Willam: I auditioned for a role that I didn’t get (of a real life guy named Bobbi Campbell who was one of the first Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, RN and activist) but a closeted guy got that. I was kinda ticked off but I channeled that and auditioned again for a very angry Act Up activist named Jason who rallied against the AIDS Quilt.
QLife: It looks like an all-star lineup. What were some of the highlights of working on this show? Any "kiss and tell" moments off camera?
Willam: My scenes were all with Guy Pearce and he told me a few things about Priscilla Queen of the Desert that I didn’t know. He improved the Texas Chainsaw Mascara line! Crazy, huh?
QLife: You have been very great at marketing yourself and staying relevant, did you have a background in marketing?
Willam: I used to suck dick behind an Acme supermarket in Philly from 16-18. So that’s technically a past in a market.
QLife: What style of drag would you classify yourself?
Willam: Luxe Clown Whore
QLife: In what ways did RPDR change your life?
Willam: RDR made more people say my name right and taught me to not worship false idols.
QLife: How do people treat you after being famous?
Willam: Kindness is free. I treat people how I wanna be treated. And sure, you may say, “you host a show called BEATDOWN on which you’re a bully” but I only tell assholes that are misguided the T. If I was acting like a tool like most of the people on my show, I would want someone to tell me, too.
QLife: You came out with a book late last year. Tell us about Suck Less.
Willam: Suck Less is the book I wish I had when I was a kid. Lessons I’ve learned that have bettered me through drag, arrests, reality shows and some light prostitution. Plus, there’s hundreds of pictures and coloring book pages, RuPaul’s Drag Race dirt and an amazing audio book with Alaska Thunderfuck, Courtney Act and Bianca Del Rio
QLife: What is your best advice to the LGBTQ and drag community?
Willam: Suck Less (and volunteer- nothing feels better than giving back other than tax write-offs for your time)
QLife: Now that the election is over, what is your top concern with the new administration?
Willam: Eradicating the electoral college would be nice. We got fucked cuz of them with Gore in 2000 and we shoulda used the last decade to get rid of it’s antiquated ass but we didn’t. We just got fucked again.
QLife: RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9 is coming out soon. Any advice for the new girls in the new season?
Willam: They already made their deals with the devil. I ain't got shit for them.
QLife: Who do you admire the most in life and why?
Willam: Chris Hardwick, the creator of Nerdist. He created something outta nothing and is a fuckin juggernaut who does it all. Pop culture, musically inclined comedy, business.
QLife: Favorite other Queen from past seasons?
Willam: Mathu Andersen
QLife: You're on the lineup for Dragcon this year. How would you describe Dragcon for someone who has never been before?
Willam: Comic Con for Drag Queens where the most famous drag queen (Ru) doesn’t even bother to get in drag.
QLife: Any pets at home?
QLife: Where did you grow up?
Willam: Philly and Florida
QLife: When did you first do drag?
Willam: Rocky Horror Picture Show when I was 13 was my gateway drug into drag. Midnight showing all dressed up.
QLife: What is the main goal you hope to accomplish with your fans?
Willam: I wanna make people happy or horny.
QLife: What really happened on the famous episode of RPDR when you left the show?
Willam: Read the book. There’s a quiz with lots of answers and many (or all) might be true including that one where a producer fucked me in a bathroom stall the last day of production.
QLife: Favorite city to visit? Where have you never been and want to go?
Willam: I like Dallas a lot because there’s like 5 strip clubs for gay men plus I have tons of friends there at S4 and from the movie Ticked Off Trannies With Knives & Hurricane Bianca.
QLife: Let's close out with a fun question.. 2 truths and a lie.. tell us 2 truths about you that few people know, and one lie, just to keep them guessing.
Willam: Katy Perry yelled at me to sing Boy Is A Bottom once. I fisted someone onstage while singing Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman. RuPaul loves me.