Queenstion Time #12: Willam
What did Willam do? She spilt the T! Ahead of her appearance at DragWorld UK, Andrew Nicholls talks to the most outspoken Queen of all.
If there’s one Queen in the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race who lives on in infamy, it’s Willam Belli.
Famously the only Queen to be disqualified from the show, Willam has never been shy about sharing her feelings on…well, pretty much anything, as anyone who has seen her YouTube series Willam’s Beatdown will tell you, or her Race Chaser podcast that features numerous putdowns, particularly over fellow Queen Mimi Imfurst, it seems.
She also isn’t afraid to go up against the power of RuPaul and Drag Race producers World of Wonder (as you will see if you scroll down for about two seconds). She has even described an occasion on the Out For a Good Time podcast where a discussion with Ru regarding their former make-up artist Mathu Andersen endedup in a full-blown argument in the street.
But, this hasn’t had a negative impact on Willam’s career. Even before appearing on Drag Race, Willam’s TV and movie credits included Nip/Tuck, Southland, CSI: NY, Cold Case, Criminal Minds and American Wedding. Since her disqualification she has done pretty much everything a Queen can do; released albums, podcasts, web series, appeared in Rihanna and Little Mix music videos, more acting, touring the world…you name it, she’s done it.
Willam returns to the UK for DragWorld, Europe’s largest Drag convention, later this month. We weren’t disappointed with how it went.
Planet Slop: We’re always interested to know; how did you discover drag, and how did you discover your aesthetic?
Willam: My dad took me to Rocky Horror Picture Show when I was 13 and it was all downhill and upskirt from there.
PS: How would you describe your aesthetic?
W: Luxe Clown Whore. I love anything shiny or with movement; fringe, ostrich feathers, sparkle.
PS: You’re coming over for DragWorld UK – could you have imagined events this size when you first started doing drag?
W: I’ve been to every Drag Con there’s been and always knew it was only gonna get bigger. World of Wonder is even kind enough to pay some girls for attending but only the ones they like. It’s funny cuz they begged a bunch of my friends to do it because they know without the Queens , their events suffer and when they declined, they decided to pay a few of the Voss dolls their real rate and give others just an honorarium of $500 to post about it cuz sales were sucking – all while not paying talent for panels that World of Wonder films and monetizes as content AND charging for booth rentals. Now did you want sugar or milk with that T? By the way – thank you DragWorld for respecting their talent and paying us just like any other comic con or athlete convention.
PS: You seem to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Drag Race.
W: I’m not trying to reheat old drama. When I spoke up for Mathu Andersen – and gayja vu regarding Delta/Raven at this years’ Emmy’s [Delta Work and Raven were not credited for Best Hair and Make-Up for the nominated episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race despite working on it, after a similar instance with Andersen a number of years prior] – or how World of Wonder has shit protocols, I always turn out looking bitter, even when it’s true. So I’ve learned to focus on the good and where that can take me. And here’s the thing – you wouldn’t be talking to me if I weren’t on the show and my gratitude for the programme is never wavering. RuPaul’s Drag Race being on the airwaves is far more important for the greater good than the handful of gripes and the handful of people the production company has fucked over. Oh wait. Never mind. I forgot about RuPaul posting that shit about not allowing Peppermint on the show if she had already been transitioning thereby exposing an LGBTQIA community figurehead’s own intolerance. Damn. There I go again.
PS: We had to ask; do you hate any Queen more than Mimi?
W: I don’t hate Mimi. I hate working with Mimi.
PS: You’re doing Race Chaser for the UK version – are you looking forward to the UK show and are there any British Queens you’d like to see?
W: I’m excited to see Jodie Harsh be a bitch on an international level. IF she’s on…
PS: Which other countries would you like to see produce a version of the show?
W: How about in IDGAFuckistan?
PS: What is the most outrageous thing you’ve done at a live show?
W: I fisted a guy at a club in San Francisco while singing I’m Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman. And it’s available on my Patreon, and you can also see pics in my book Suck Less: Where There’s a Willam, There’s a Way.
PS: We’re excited for Dragula season three here. Obviously you have appeared as a judge on the show – how did you find that experience compared to Drag Race?
W: Dragula took me saying “Quit Drag” to one contestant and instead had me say it to the eventual winner with their editing. They’re just as fake as RuPaul’s Drag Race. Good luck to them but NEXT.
PS: How does inspiration strike for your parody songs?
W: I dunno. Just does.
PS: How long do they take to produce, and do you have any favourites?
W: Boy Is A Bottom I wrote – minus the rap section – in less than 15 minutes after a bad three way and it’s taken me around the world.
PS: You’ve done pretty much everything a Queen could do in your career. Is there anything you’d like to do that you haven’t yet?
W: I’d love to form a union of drag queens and showgirls who’ve been on RuPaul’s Drag Race to demand fair treatment from World of Wonder. It’s not like they’re ever gonna give me another dime but I don’t mind being the loudest for the greater good because I have nothing to lose with them. Like what are they gonna do? Not invite me on All-Stars? HA! Cuz let’s be honest. A Star Is Born > All- Stars. I also want to do more movies and television in non-prostitute parts.
PS: Do you have any future projects lined up?
W: I’m opening a drag themed AirBnB in Palm Springs this fall and hope to keep polluting the internet with my videos at www.youtube.com/noextrai (SUBSCRIBE!). Also releasing a makeup line this fall with all the stuff you need to get up in the gig. Eastsiders final season also premiers on Netflix this winter too.
Willam will be appearing at DragWorld UK at the Olympia, London 17th-18th August.