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Willam Belli

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Willam Belli
Dragcon3-SUN-3 (47942905293) (cropped).jpg
Willam at RuPaul's DragCon LA in 2019
Born (1982-06-30) June 30, 1982 (age 40)
  • Actor
  • drag queen
  • singer-songwriter
  • reality television personality
  • author
  • YouTuber
Musical career
YouTube information
Years active2002–present
Subscribers939 thousand[1]
Total views253.4 million[1]
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers

Last updated: September 3, 2022

Willam Belli (/ˈbɛl/, born June 30, 1982),[2] mononymously known as Willam, is an American drag queen, actor, singer-songwriter, reality television personality, author, and YouTuber. Willam came to prominence as a contestant on the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race in 2012, but was disqualified in the "Frenemies" challenge.

Before appearing on Drag Race, Willam worked as an actor, most notably playing the recurring role of transgender woman Cherry Peck in Ryan Murphy's medical drama Nip/Tuck. She has continued to perform in a variety of films, television series and web series, often in drag. In 2018, she appeared in the critically acclaimed film A Star Is Born. For her performance on the dark comedy web series EastSiders, she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama Series.[3]

Since 2012, Willam has recorded three albums of comedy music, mostly consisting of parodies of popular songs. Her second album, Shartistry in Motion, debuted at number one on the Billboard Comedy Albums chart. Between 2012 and 2014, she recorded several songs as part of the group DWV (alongside drag queens Vicky Vox and Detox), including the parodies "Chow Down" and "Boy Is a Bottom", whose music videos were viral successes. Following the breakup of DWV, Willam formed another drag supergroup, the AAA Girls, with Courtney Act and Alaska Thunderfuck.

Early life

Willam Belli was born in Philadelphia. He is the younger of two children. Belli states he is of Yugoslav and Italian heritage.[4] He lived in Florida for middle school and high school.[5] Belli's father worked at the Kennedy Space Center. His aunt is television director Mary Lou Belli.

Belli was overweight when he was young but lost the extra pounds by becoming vegetarian before being emancipated at 16.[6] Belli met his husband Bruce, at nineteen. They were married on September 9, 2008.[7]


2000–2008: Beginnings

Belli's first acting credit was as the role of a street hustler named Bart Jaker on two episodes of The District (2002) and his first TV appearance was on an episode of the game show Street Smarts.[5][8] He later appeared in the TV series The District, Boston Public, Cold Case, The Shield, My Name Is Earl and most notably Nip/Tuck as the transgender character Cherry Peck. Throughout the 2000s he would go on to play small roles in many television shows. He also had a small role in the film American Wedding.

In 2008, Belli was featured on the single artwork for the song "Breakin' Up" by Rilo Kiley.[9] He has also modeled as part of the Tranimal Master Class Workshop at the Machine Project, which was photographed by Austin Young.[10]

2009–2010: Drag career

Belli with Vicky Vox and Detox Icunt

Belli is a member of the band Tranzkuntinental, which made its debut at The Roxy in 2009. The band was started by Charlie Paulson and Xander Smith and features drag queens Detox, Kelly Mantle, Rhea Litré, and Vicky Vox.[11][12]

In January 2011, he was featured in Rihanna's music video "S&M" along with Detox and Morgan McMichaels as back-up dancers.[13]

2011–2012: RuPaul's Drag Race and further success

World of Wonder contacted Willam's management asking for him to audition for the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.[5] In November 2011, Logo TV announced that Belli was among 13 contestants competing on the fourth season.[14] Fellow castmate Chad Michaels had competed with Belli in the California Entertainer of the Year Pageant in 2010.[15] Belli won the main challenges in the episodes "Float Your Boat" and "Frenemies", but was disqualified in the latter.[16] In the episode "Reunited", Belli stated that his disqualification was due to conjugal visits made by his husband in his hotel room,.[17] By Belli's own account however, in the years since airing season 4, Willam has refuted the "official story" in multiple interviews.[18]

Belli's most recent reassertion is in an interview with YouTuber Joseph Shepherd in February 2019, where Belli claims that the 'so-called' official reason was just a fabrication by the show's creators for the purpose of portraying a more palatable scenario of Belli's departure from the show. In that interview Willam claimed that the genuine reason for his removal was due to increasing hostilities and issues between the contestants and the crew. Willam claims that many of the crew were rude and condescending towards the drag queens in general, with some of the crew members not even bothering to try to learn the contestant's names - sharing one example of a crew member repeatedly calling season 4 fellow contestant Latrice Royale - "La-something", despite all the crew having cards with the photographs of the queens/contestants (in and out of drag) worn around their necks. This led the queens to label some of the crew and their bad attitudes, plus some interactions between cast and crew, as being racist.

Willam also claimed that outside of filming hours the queens weren't being adequately fed, for example noting that $75 was all that was allocated to feed the 12 contestants, Willam claims that this necessitated visits to the store for food etc. Willam also revealed that he frequently got other contestants high and/or drunk, as well as also attempting to steal things from the set, things feather fans and RuPaul branded Iron fist shoes. According to Belli, the conjugal visit story was made up by producers and Willam agreed to "go along with the excuse" so that "everyone looked okay".[19][20] Belli used the publicity of his disqualification to release his single "Chow Down", which was a parody of Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" that addressed the 2012 Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy. The song featured Detox and Vicky Vox.[21]

On March 12, 2012, he released his first single "Trouble", which was produced by RuPaul's Red Hot collaborator Tom Trujillo. The music video for the song was directed by porn director Chi Chi LaRue and premiered on Logo TV.[5][22] On March 21, Belli released "The Vagina Song", a parody of "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars as his third single, which had been previously uploaded to YouTube in 2010. The music video was directed by Michael Serrato,[23] who also directed Belli's music video for "Chow Down".[21]

Belli released "Love You Like a Big Schlong" on April 29, 2012, which became a viral hit being viewed more than a million times on YouTube alone. Produced by Uncle Slam, the song parodies "Love You Like a Love Song" by Selena Gomez & the Scene. The song was inspired by Belli's loss to 7-year-old Eden Wood in a lip syncing contest during a segment of the 2012 NewNowNext Awards.[24]

In November 2012, Belli was featured with country music artist Drake Jensen on a cover of Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man".[25] That same month, Belli self-released his debut album The Wreckoning via his website.[26]

2012–2013: YouTube Career, "Boy Is a Bottom", and DWV success

Beginning in December 2012, Belli began a YouTube series associated with thestylishvids titled, "Willam's Beatdown". A comedy segment involving insult humor and video reviews, the series would eventually be renewed for a second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth season that then premiered on Belli's self-titled channel. In January 2013, Belli would have his biggest viral hit with 20 million hits on YouTube alone, when he released "Boy Is a Bottom", featuring Detox and Vicky Vox, to coincide with the fifth season premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race.[27] Its timing and the use of social media made it a very well received release. The song is a parody of "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keys and also features an altered version of the "breakdown" from "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" by En Vogue.[28] "Boy Is a Bottom" debuted at number six on Billboard's Comedy Digital Songs, selling 3,000 downloads in its first week.[29]

On August 14, 2013, Belli was featured along with Shangela, Detox, Raven, Morgan McMichaels, Landon Cider, Shannel, and Courtney Act, in Lady Gaga's lyric video for her single "Applause".

Belli's trio, including Detox and Vicky Vox, called DWV, officially split in June 2014 due to a personal conflict between the members.[30]

2014–2017: American Apparel, Shartistry in Motion, first book, perfume, and talk show

Belli then became an American Apparel Ad Girl alongside Drag Race alumni Courtney Act and Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 which they supported with a single entitled, "American Apparel Ad Girls".[31][32] They also released a second single together, "Dear Santa, Bring Me a Man" for the Christmas season.[33][34]

On January 13, 2017, he released a solo version of the DWV hit "Boy Is a Bottom", in Spanish, entitled, "Es Una Pasiva",[35] which went on to top the comedy iTunes chart.[36] Belli self-released his sophomore studio album, Shartistry in Motion, on June 2.[37][38]

Belli released his first book Suck Less: Where There's a Willam, There's a Way in October 2016 through Grand Central Publishing. In 2017, he released his first perfume collaboration with Xyrena, Scented by Willam.[39]

On May 18, 2017, it was revealed that Fullscreen had ordered a talk show to be hosted by Belli. Suck Less, billed as a weekly half-hour call-in show 'where Willam throws shade and shows how to slay the game of life in six-inch stilettos' is set to debut in the summer. Friends from Belli's everyday life, as well as some of his favorite drag queens are expected to put in guest appearances over the course of the 13-episode series.[40]

2018–present: A Star Is Born and other ventures

In 2018, Willam appeared in the critically acclaimed film A Star Is Born. Willam and fellow drag queen Shangela play queens working in a drag bar alongside Lady Gaga's character Ally when she's discovered by famous country singer Jackson Maine, played by Bradley Cooper. Willam's character, Emerald, is a Dolly Parton impersonator who flirts with Jackson. The dialogue in his scenes was mostly improvised, including a memorable moment in which his character has Jackson autograph her silicone breastplate. Bradley Cooper, who also directed the film, said that Willam and Shangela "blew his mind" with their ad-libbing.[41]

On July 18, 2018, the first episode of Belli's Drag Race-themed podcast co-hosted with Alaska Thunderfuck and entitled Race Chaser, was published on the Forever Dog Network.[42] In 2020 Alaska and Willam announced that they would be setting up their own podcast network in collaboration with Forever Dog, Moguls of Media (MOM), featuring a "star-studded roster of iconic drag queens and queer luminaries" to bridge "the past, present, and future of LGBTQ+ entertainment".[43] Podcasts established under the Moguls of Media brand and executive produced by Willam and Alaska include The Chop, hosted by Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon; Very That, hosted by Delta Work and Raja; Hi Jinkx!, hosted by Jinkx Monsoon; Famous This Week, hosted by Priyanka and formerly Brooke Lynn Hytes; Sloppy Seconds, hosted by Big Dipper and Meatball; Wanna Be On Top?, hosted by Shea Couleé; and Hall & Closet, hosted by Jaida Essence Hall and Heidi N Closet.[43]

In 2019, Belli launched his own makeup line, Suck Less Face & Body.[44] In June 2019, a panel of judges from New York magazine placed her ninth on their list of "the most powerful drag queens in America", a ranking of 100 former Drag Race contestants.[45]

In 2021, Belli was announced as the star of Iconic Justice, a courtroom show in which Belli will hear and rule on various legal and social disputes between LGBTQ people.[46]



Year Title Role Notes
2003 American Pie: The Wedding Butch Queen
2004 The Last Shot Bus Stop Drag Queen
2005 Screech of the Decapitated Marta
2006 Big Top Renee
Unbeatable Harold Anita Boner
2007 Because I Said So Transsexual
2008 Defying Gravity Lola
Dog Tags Alan
Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild! Transamerican Stewardess Nancy Needatwat
Crowded Celeste Short film
Tranny McGuyver Officer Mac Short film
2009 Sex Drugs Guns Candy
Tools 4 Fools Blonde Drag Queen Short film
2010 Barry Munday Felicia Uncredited
Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives Rachel Slurr
Silver Lake Dario Short film Short film
2011 Blubberella Vadge also co-writer
BloodRayne: The Third Reich Vasyl Tishenko
2nd Take Bathroom Tranny
Someplace Better Than Here' Travis Short film
2012 The Newest Pledge Sailor
Fun Size Qwerty
Lost Angeles Bob also known as City of Jerks
The Watch Olivia Uncredited
Fake Fingernails, Cash and Viagra Franklin Short film
2013 X-Rated Geoffrey Gann/'Karen Dior'
Southern Baptist Sissies Benny Television film
2015 Mouthpiece Diva Bell
Hollywood Champagne
2016 Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus Beth Ann-Fetterman
Hurricane Bianca Bailey
2018 Joey Stefano Geoffrey Gann/'Karen Dior'
A Star Is Born Emerald
Miss Arizona Destiny
2019 Blue Call Shineeda Drink
After Birth Tammy
Swipe Left
A Very Sordid Wedding Herself
Girls Will Be Girls Prosecutor
Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts Herself Documentary
Dead Don't Die in Dallas Beth-Anne Fetterman


Year Title Role Notes
2002 The District Darrin Jacobs 2 episodes
2003 Boston Public Mike Episode: "Chapter Fifty-Eight"
2004 The Shield Colt Episode: "Posse Up"
2004–06 Nip/Tuck Cherry Peck 5 episodes
2005 My Name Is Earl D.J. Pilot
2006 Saved Tippi Episode: "Living Dead"
2007 Women's Murder Club Sasha Simone Episode: "To Drag & To Hold"
CSI: NY Candy Darling Episode: "The Lying Game"
American Body Shop Wanda Episode: "Stretchy Face"
2009 Criminal Minds Walter Patterson Episode: "To Hell... and Back"
Southland Shiela Episode: "See the Woman"
2011 Cinema Verite Candy Darling Television film
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race (season 4) Himself Contestant (7th place)
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked Himself 10 episodes
RuPaul's Drag U Professor Episode: "Ex-Beauty Queens"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation[47] Dahlia Episode: "Code Blue Plate Special"
2013 The New Normal Nana Drag Queen Episode: "The Goldie Rush"
She's Living for This[48] Herself Season 2, Episode 1
2015 International Desk Nassime Episode: "Alps Plane Crash"
2016, 2018 Hit the Floor Herself Season 3, Episode 6: "Carrying"
Season 4, Episode 4: "Number's Up"
2016–2018 @midnight with Chris Hardwick Herself Season 4, Episode 27
2017 When We Rise Jason Snyder Season 1, Episode 4 and 5
The Twins: Happily Ever After? Herself/Landlord Episodes: "Happily NEVER After?" and "Hoff and Running..."
Dragula Guest Judge Season 2, Episode 1
Difficult People Kashton Episode: "The Silkwood"
2018 Work Mom Bob Television film
Super Drags Lady Elza Voice role
The Kominsky Method Cherry Episode: "Chapter 8. A Widow Approaches"


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Road to the Alter Jamie WorkingBug
2 episodes
2011 Good Job, Thanks! Actress Vimeo
Episode: "We All Need a Meeting"
A Series Of Unfortunate People Cami WorkingBug/Dailymotion
Episode: "Bargain Birthday"
2012 Squad 85 Bar Attendee YouTube/YOMYOMF
Episode 4
2012–13 Transfashionable[49] Himself YouTube/The Stylist
4 episodes
2012–2019 EastSiders Douglas/Gomorrah Ray/Amber Alert Vimeo/Logo TV/Netflix
13 episodes
Indie Series Awards Best Guest Actor — Drama (2016)[50]
2013 Neil's Puppet Dreams[51] Performer YouTube
Episode: Dream Bump
Willam's Beatdown Host YouTube/The Stylist
19 episodes
30 Days of Willam Host Logo TV
30 episodes
Snore Maid Funny or Die
Parody of Downton Abbey set to "Vogue"
The Fairfax File Flame LaTouche Funny or Die
Rambo, But Gay Deputy Mitch YouTube/Nerdist
2014 Willam's This is not the Beatdown Host YouTube
26 episodes
Real World S#!t Show! Host MTV
12 episodes
Jiz Spooge Episode: "Jiz is Dead"
Episode: "Jiz Makes a CUMback"
Mean Boyz Teacher YouTube
Parody trailer of Mean Girls
Hollywoodland Dinner Guest YouTube
Episode 1
Hey Qween Guest YouTube
2014–present Beatdown[52] Host YouTube
70 episodes
Paint Me Bitch YouTube
28 episodes
2015 The Dinner Bash Himself Episode 5: "Cocktails & Hens"
Episode 6: "Tranimal Cookies"
Gay of Everything Himself YouTube
1 episode
2015–16 Shane and Friends Guest Season 3, Episode 6
Season 4, Episode 7
2015–17 The WeHoans Himself YouTube/City of West Hollywood
Parody of The Californians
7 episodes
Billium's Wheatdown Himself YouTube
11 episodes
2016 Straight Outta Oz Himself YouTube
Music video: "Expensive"
Go-Go Boy Interrupted Club Pantherwarmth Manager YouTube
2 episodes
2017 Suck Less Host Fullscreen
13 episodes
UNHhhh Guest YouTube
Episode 55
Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig Guest Podcast
2018–present ¿Cómo Se Dice? Host YouTube
co-hosted with Rhea Litré
13 episodes
Race Chaser Host Podcast
co-hosted with Alaska Thunderfuck
2019 Exposed Guest Youtube
Hosted by Joseph Shepherd
2020 The X Change Rate Guest Youtube
Hosted by Monet X Change

Music videos

Year Title Artist(s) Ref.
2011 "S&M" Rihanna [53]
2013 "Applause" Lyric video Lady Gaga [54]
2016 "Expensive" Todrick Hall [55]
2017 "Power" Little Mix [56]
2018 "Girly" John Duff [57]
2019 "Star Maps" Aly & AJ [58]



Title Details Chart peaks

The Wreckoning
Shartistry in Motion
  • Released: June 2, 2015
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Digital download
Now That's What I Call Drag Music, Vol. 1[60]
(alternatively known as Songs in the Key of Nope)
  • Released: October 26, 2018
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Digital download
"—" denotes a recording that failed to chart or was not released in that territory.


Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"Trouble" 2012 The Wreckoning
"Chow Down"
(featuring Detox & Vicky Vox)
"The Vagina Song"
"Love You Like a Big Schlong" 25
"She Doesn't Know"
"Let's Have a KaiKai"
(featuring Rhea Litré)
"Stand by Your Man"
(featuring Drake Jensen)
(featuring Sharon Needles)
2013 14
"Potential New Boyfriend"
"Boy Is a Bottom"
(with DWV)
6 Non-album singles
(with DWV)
"Blurred Bynes"
(with DWV)
"That Christmas Song"
(with DWV)
(with DWV)
"Hole Pic"
"Only Anally" Shartistry in Motion
"American Apparel Ad Girls"
(with Courtney and Alaska)
"Dear Santa, Bring Me a Man"
(with Courtney and Alaska)
Non-album single
"Es Una Pasiva" 2015 Shartistry in Motion
"Ride for AIDS"
(featuring Alaska)
"Thick Thighs"
(featuring Latrice Royale)
"I'm Not a Pearl" Non-album singles
"Uck Foff" 2016 12
(with Courtney and Alaska)
2017 2 Access All Areas
"—" denotes a recording that failed to chart or was not released in that territory.



  • Suck Less: Where There's a Willam, There's a Way. Grand Central Publishing. 2016. ISBN 978-1455566198.

Awards and nominations

Daytime Emmy Awards

Belli was nominated for his performance on the Netflix dark comedy web series EastSiders at the 47th Daytime Emmy Awards.[3]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2020 EastSiders Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Makeup Nominated

NewNowNext Awards

Belli was nominated for his role on RuPaul's Drag Race at the fifth annual NewNowNext Awards which aired on Logo network on April 9, 2012. He lost to Nadia G. of Bitchin' Kitchen which airs on the Food Network Canada and the Cooking Channel.[63]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2012 Willam Belli Most Addictive Reality Star Nominated

The Queerties Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2022 Willam Belli Drag Royalty[64] Nominated
2022 Race Chaser Popcast[65] Won


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External links