Willam Bart Belli (//, born June 30, 1982), mononymously known as Willam, is an American actor, drag queen, and recording artist. Willam came to prominence when he competed on the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race in 2012, during which he became the only contestant to ever be disqualified from the series.
Willam Belli at RuPaul's DragCon in 2019
Willam Bart Belli
June 30, 1982
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
Bruce Bealke (m. 2008)
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. He has continued to perform in a variety of films, television series and web series, often in drag. In 2018, he appeared in the critically acclaimed film A Star Is Born directed by Bradley Cooper.
Since 2012, Willam has recorded three albums of comedy music, mostly consisting of parodies of popular songs. His second album, Shartistry in Motion, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Comedy Albums chart. Between 2012 and 2014, he 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 found viral success. Following the breakup of DWV, Willam formed another drag supergroup, the AAA Girls, with Courtney Act and Alaska Thunderfuck.
Willam Belli was born in Philadelphia. He is the younger of two children. Belli states he is of Yugoslavian and Italian heritage. He lived in Florida for middle school and high school. 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. Belli met his future husband Bruce, at nineteen. They were married on September 9, 2008.
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. 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. He has also modeled as part of the Tranimal Master Class Workshop at the Machine Project, which was photographed by Austin Young.
2009–2010: Drag careerEdit
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.
2011–2012: RuPaul's Drag Race and further successEdit
World of Wonder contacted Willam's management asking for him to audition for the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. In November 2011, Logo TV announced that Belli was among 13 contestants competing on the fourth season. Fellow castmate Chad Michaels had competed with Belli in the California Entertainer of the Year Pageant in 2010. Belli won the main challenges in the episodes "Float Your Bloat" and "Frenemies", but was disqualified in the latter. In the episode "Reunited", Belli stated that his disqualification was due to conjugal visits made by his husband in his hotel room, though by Belli's own account, the "disqualification" coincided with a previously booked off-Broadway engagement. 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.
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. 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, who also directed Belli's music video for "Chow Down".
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.
In November 2012, Belli was featured with country music artist Drake Jensen on a cover of Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man". That same month, Belli self-released his debut album The Wreckoning via his website.
2012–2013: Youtube Career, "Boy Is a Bottom", and DWV successEdit
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. 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. "Boy Is a Bottom" debuted at number six on Billboard's Comedy Digital Songs, selling 3,000 downloads in its first week.
2014–present: American Apparel, Shartistry in Motion, first book, perfume and talk showEdit
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". They also released a second single together, "Dear Santa, Bring Me a Man" for the Christmas season.
On January 13, he released a solo version of the DWV hit "Boy Is a Bottom", in Spanish, entitled, "Es Una Pasiva", which went on to top the comedy iTunes chart. Belli self-released his sophomore studio album, Shartistry in Motion, on June 2.
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.
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.
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.
|2003||American Pie: The Wedding||Butch Queen|
|2004||The Last Shot||Bus Stop Drag Queen|
|2005||Screech of the Decapitated||Marta|
|Unbeatable Harold||Anita Boner|
|2007||Because I Said So||Transsexual|
|Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!||Transamerican Stewardess Nancy Needatwat|
|Tranny McGuyver||Officer Mac||Short film|
|2009||Sex Drugs Guns||Candy|
|Tools 4 Fools||Blonde Drag Queen||Short film|
|Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives||Rachel Slurr|
|Silver Lake||Dario||Short film|
|BloodRayne: The Third Reich||Vasyl Tishenko|
|2nd Take||Bathroom Tranny|
|Someplace Better Than Here'||Travis||Short film|
|2012||The Newest Pledge||Sailor|
|Lost Angeles||Bob||also known as City of Jerks|
|Fake Fingernails, Cash and Viagra||Franklin||Short film|
|2013||X-Rated||Geoffrey Gann/'Karen Dior'|
|Southern Baptist Sissies||Benny||Television film|
|2016||Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus||Beth Ann-Fetterman|
|2018||Joey Stefano||Geoffrey Gann/'Karen Dior'|
|A Star Is Born||Emerald|
|2019||Blue Call||Shineeda Drink|
|A Very Sordid Wedding||Himself|
|Girls Will Be Girls||Prosecutor|
|2004–06||Nip/Tuck||Cherry Peck||5 episodes|
|2009||Criminal Minds||Walter Patterson||Episode: "...To Hell"|
|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||Dahlia||Episode: "Code Blue Plate Special"|
|2013||The New Normal||Nana Drag Queen||Episode: "The Goldie Rush"|
|She's Living for This||Himself||Season 2, Episode 1|
|2015||International Desk||Nassime||Episode: "Alps Plane Crash"|
|2016||Hit the Floor (TV series)||Himself||Season 3, Episode 6: "Carrying"|
Season 4, Episode 4: "Number's Up"
|2016-2018||@midnight with Chris Hardwick||Himself||Season 4, Episode 27|
|2017||When We Rise||Jason Snyder||Season 1, Episode 4 and 5|
|The Twins: Happily Ever After?||Himself/Landlord||Episode: "Happily NEVER After?"|
Episode: "Hoff and Running..."
|Dragula||Guest Judge||Season 2, Episode 1|
|Difficult People||Kashton||Episode: "The Silkwood"|
|2018||Work Mom||Bob||Television film|
|2018||Super Drags||Lady Elza||Voice role|
|2018||The Kominsky Method||Cherry||Season 1, Episode 8|
|2009||Road to the Alter||Jamie||WorkingBug|
|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|
|2012–18||EastSiders||Douglas/Gomorrah Ray/Amber Alert||Vimeo/Logo TV/Netflix|
Indie Series Awards Best Guest Actor — Drama (2016)
|2013||Neil's Puppet Dreams||Performer||YouTube|
Episode: Dream Bump
|Willam's Beatdown||Host||YouTube/The Stylist|
|30 Days of Willam||Host||Logo TV|
|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|
|Real World S#!t Show!||Host||MTV|
|Jiz||Spooge||Episode: "Jiz is Dead"|
Episode: "Jiz Makes a CUMback"
Parody trailer of Mean Girls
|Paint Me Bitch||YouTube|
|2015||The Dinner Bash||Himself||Episode 5: "Cocktails & Hens"|
Episode 6: "Tranimal Cookies"
|Gay of Everything||Himself||YouTube|
|2015-2016||Shane and Friends||Guest||Season 3, Episode 6|
Season 4, Episode 7
|2015-2017||The WeHoans||Himself||YouTube/City of West Hollywood|
Parady of The Californians
|2016||Straight Outta Oz||Himself||YouTube|
Music video: "Expensive"
|Go-Go Boy Interrupted||Club Pantherwarmth Manager||YouTube|
|Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig||Guest||Podcast|
|2018- Present||¿Cómo Se Dice?||Host||YouTube|
co-hosted with Rhea Litré
co-hosted with Alaska Thunderfuck
|2013||"Applause" Lyric video||Lady Gaga|||
|2019||"Star Maps"||Aly & AJ|||
|Shartistry in Motion||
|Now That's What I Call Drag Music, Vol .1
(alternatively known as Songs in the Key of Nope)
|"—" denotes a recording that failed to chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
(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)
|"Potential New Boyfriend"||—|
|"Only Anally"||—||Shartistry in Motion|
|"Es Una Pasiva"||2015||—||Shartistry in Motion|
|"Ride for AIDS"
(featuring Latrice Royale)
|"I'm Not a Pearl"||—||Non-album singles|
|"—" denotes a recording that failed to chart or was not released in that territory.|
Awards and nominationsEdit
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.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2012||Willam Belli||Most Addictive Reality Star||Nominated|
- Gay Times (June 30, 2016). "Happy birthday, Willam!". Gay Times.
- "Is Willam Belli your given name?". Tumblr. October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Smith, Brian Bowen (2012). "Willam Belli: How to Break the Rules". Dirty. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "Do you talk to your family know after getting emancipated?". Tumblr. February 22, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Sources pertaining to Belli's husband:
- "Q&A: CATCHING UP WITH WILLAM (PART II)". Drag Official. February 2, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- "Willam & his husband Bruce :')". Tumblr. May 11, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- "I'm curious, you say your husband but are you married?..." Tumblr. December 30, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- "Willam Belli – IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Belli, Willam (December 6, 2012). "Twitter / @willambelli: @KidsGoSplat yes I love Jenny ..." Twitter. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
- "Tranimal Master Class Workshop on Vimeo". Vimeo. February 28, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
- Lecaro, Lina (May 2, 2011). "L.A.'s A Drag: The Reign of Raja, Tranzkuntinental (and Adam Lambert) On Stage and the Dance Floor". LA Weekly. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Horbelt, Stephan (October 13, 2011). "Scream Queens: Meet the Ghouls of Tranzkuntinental". Frontiers. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Belli, Willam (January 27, 2012). "Season 2's Morgan McMichaels and season 4's Willam Belli with Rihanna for the "S&M" music video". Tumblr. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Jones, Arnold Wayne (November 15, 2011). "Logo announces cast for Season 4 of 'RuPaul's Drag Race'". Dallas Voice. Voice Publishing Company, Inc. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Addams, Calpernia. "California EOY 2010 – The Recap". Calpernia.com. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Sava, Oliver (March 6, 2012). "Float Your Boat". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Stransky, Tanner (May 1, 2012). "Controversial 'RuPaul's Drag Race' queen Willam explains disqualification: 'My husband was coming to bang me out' – UPDATED". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Bruno, Paul (May 2012). "Willam Belli: How to Break the Rules". dirty-mag.com. Dirty Magazine. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
I was doing a show off-broadway by that point! It was called Jersey Shoresical. In fact, two days after I got kicked off of drag race I was in Jersey Shoresical in New York, pretty convenient, huh? And we won the Fringe Fest Audience Award. It's almost like it was planned…
- Lady Bunny (July 24, 2012). "Willam Belli, RuPaul's Drag Race Star, Chats About Chick-fil-A and More". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Spargo, Chris (November 25, 2012). "Willam Returns To Logo With 'Trouble'". New Now Next. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Debord, Matt (October 27, 2010). "WATCH: What Willam Belli Would Do If He Was A Lady Down 'There'". Queerty. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Spargo, Chris (May 1, 2012). "VIDEO: Willam, 'Love You Like A Big Schlong'". New Now Next. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "Video: Willam Goes Country With Help From Gay Artist Drake Jensen In "Stand By Your Man"". Instinct. November 9, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Spargo, Chris (November 18, 2012). "Go Buy Willam's Album, 'The Wreckoning'". New Now Next. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "This Boy Is A Bottom: Willam, Detox & Vicky Vox Return To Tackle Alicia Keys' 'Girl On Fire'". Instinct. January 28, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "'Boy Is A Bottom' Music Video Parody From Drag Queens Of 'Chow Down (At Chick-Fil-A)' (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. January 28, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Caulfied, Keith (February 8, 2013). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Divas Debut in Top 10 on Billboard Dance Charts". Billboard. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- Johnson, Liam. "US drag supergroup DWV split up". gaystarnews.com. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- "Exclusive: Alaska, Courtney Act, and Willam Belli Team Up With American Apparel". September 11, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- willam belli (September 30, 2014). "American Apparel Ad Girls with Courtney Act, Alaska 5000 and Willam #AAAgirls". Retrieved August 6, 2017 – via YouTube.
- "These Three Queens Have Just One Wish For Santa". Huffington Post. December 9, 2014.
- Courtney Act (December 8, 2014). "Dear Santa, Bring Me A Man – Alaska, Courtney Act & Willam". Retrieved August 6, 2017 – via YouTube.
- "Willam". www.facebook.com. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- "Willam". www.facebook.com. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- "Willam Belli Wants To Get Thrown Out of Her Own Show". April 17, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- ""Shartistry in Motion" by Willam on iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- "Willam's New Perfume Smells Like Sandalwood And Sex". Logo TV. February 6, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
- "Drag Queen Star Willam Belli to Host Fullscreen Talk Show as Part of Gay-Pride Content Lineup". Variety. May 18, 2017. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
- "**She's Living For This**". here TV. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- Anderson-Minshall, Diane (October 14, 2012). "WATCH: RuPaul's Willam Belli on Transfashionable Drag Makeover". The Advocate. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Christian, Aymar Jean (January 24, 2015). "The Best of Indie TV 2014: 25 Networks, Series and Creatives Worth 5 Minutes of Your Time". IndieWire. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- "Joe Manganiello, Willam, Detox & David Burtka Appear In The Latest Webisode Of Neil's Puppet Dreams". Instinct. January 8, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Beatdown Episode 01 with Willam, YouTube, willam belli (user), retrieved July 29, 2014
- Lamour; Joseph (August 31, 2015). "MEET ALL 30 OF MILEY'S DAY-GLO DANCERS FROM HER INSANE VMA PERFORMANCE". MTV News. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Stanley; Rebecca (January 10, 2018). "RuPaul's Drag Race star Shangela set to bring one-woman show to Birmingham". Shropshire Star. MNA Media. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Brown, Jonathan (March 22, 2017). "Todrick Hall Revisits 'Straight Outta Oz' With A Semi-Unnecessary Deluxe Edit". Inquisitr. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Salandra, Anam (June 6, 2017). "Alaska, Courtney Act, Willam Will Have The "Power" In New Little Mix Video". NewNowNext. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Wong, Curtis M. (September 12, 2018). "In 'Girly,' Singer John Duff Strikes Pop Diva Poses To Challenge Gender Norms". HuffPost. Oath Inc. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Huff, Lauren (June 12, 2019). "Watch Aly & AJ's 'Star Maps' music video featuring stars from Shameless, Drag Race, Silicon Valley, The Goldbergs, and more". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
- "Billboard Chart Archive" (To access, type "Willam" in the artist bar, then select "Comedy Albums" in the chart name bar). Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
- "Now That's What I Call Drag Music, Vol .1 by Willam on iTunes". Apple Music. October 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- "Billboard Chart Archive" (To access, type "Willam" in the artist bar, then select "Comedy Digital Tracks" in the chart name bar). Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
- Gutelle, Sam (August 21, 2017). "Drag Queens Willam, Alaska, Courtney Act Hit The Road For Fullscreen-Produced Tour". Tubefilter. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
- "2012 NewNowNext Awards". Logo TV. Retrieved March 31, 2013.