Willam Belli – No Rupologies

Roy Ward


I’ll be honest with you, Vada deadline day sort of crept up on me this week. I needed to find a topic I could wax lyrical about without giving it too much thought, and after last week’s article my mind immediately drifted to drag queens.

Should I give another list of reasons why it’s utterly obscene that RuPaul’s Drag Race isn’t being shown on UK TV? Should I spend a couple of hundred words gushing about how thrilled I was that Drag Race judge and all-round fierce bitch Michelle Visage tweeted a link to my article? Perhaps follow on from the drunken Saturday night suggestions of the Editor to try and get the campaign to return RuPaul to British screens mentioned in the House of Commons? But then I spent my Sunday evening introducing a friend to Drag Race, and in particular to the work of one of my all-time favourite contestants, Willam Belli, and I knew what I had to do.

Now, Willam’s name (and face) might be vaguely familiar to any of you who have seen the song Boy is a Bottom on YouTube, and that’s a lot of people – over four million and counting. Willam is primarily an actor, who’s worked on everything from Sex and the City to CSI, including a multi-episode arc as a transwoman in Nip/Tuck. However, it was his appearance on Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race (the world’s greatest reality TV show) which brought him to my attention, and boy I’m glad it did.

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That said, when he first got introduced in the first episode I didn’t really like him much. He was more than a little prone to talking about all the TV shows he’s been on, was exceedingly catty about the other contestants, and was incredibly cocky. Generally, not the sort of queen I find myself rooting for. And then everything changed. I realised that he is freaking hilarious, and what I initially took for atrocious social skills was actually an awful lot of wit and perfect comic timing.

Also, after a Twitter conversation with a friend last year, I said that Willam “needed a slap”. Imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning to discover this:

twitter.com - 2012-03-12 - 17h-55m-34s

The only thing I love more than Twitter and drag queens is when I get tweeted by drag queens. Amazing.

If this whole show is meant to be finding “America’s Next Drag Superstar”, somebody who can step into RuPaul’s fabulous shoes, it needs to be somebody pretty, highly intelligent, witty, verbose and likeable, all at the same time. It’s a pretty tough bill to fit, and of all the queens to strut down the Drag Race runway, I had thought Willam was a top contender for the crown – until he became the first ever RPDR contestant to be disqualified from the competition. They kept the reason a great big mystery until the Reunited episode, where it was revealed that he had been receiving conjugal visits from his husband during the filming of the show, which was against the rules. Shocking, yes, but almost disappointingly pedestrian for such a bad-ass drag queen as Willam.

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Thankfully that wasn’t the last we’ve seen of Willam – the bitch is all over the Internet; from the ubiquitous Boy Is A Bottom to Chow Down (At Chick-Fil-A), a hilarious tongue-in-cheek ode to a right wing Christian fast food chain, which features the timeless lyrics “Please don’t sue us for libel/we just want a little meat without your Bible.” They’ve also given Willam his own web series, Willam’s Beatdown, where he watches other people’s YouTube videos and then reads them to filth for it. It’s essentially the funniest thing on the Internet, so for the love of RuPaul watch them – you won’t regret it.

A gorgeous female impersonator, a freaking hilarious comedian, a talented singer and actress – this bitch can do it all. All hail Willam Belli. Sorry ‘bout it.

About Roy Ward

When Roy was 7 a girl tied him to a tree and tried to set him on fire. He now lives in Leeds with his boyfriend. These facts may be connected. Vada's Deputy Editor, he loves pop culture in all its forms, plus feminism; drag queens and Nigella Lawson. Find him on Twitter @badlydrawnroy.