'RuPaul's Drag Race': Disqualified contestant speaks out
Well, no one saw this one coming — except for maybe Willam herself.
“Will you please step forward?” RuPaul asked the controversial queen at the very end of last night’s new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, sending what should have been the routine elimination of Phi Phi O’Hara or Sharon Needles into a totally different — and weird — direction.
It was on
ly after Willam — who was actually the winner of the night’s fremeny challenge, alongside partner Latrice Royale — came back to the front of the stage that — SPOILER ALERT — it was revealed that she was being disqualified from the show. “It has come to my attention that you have broken the rules,” RuPaul told Willam. “Your actions have consequences, and I’m afraid I have no choice.”
There were several very odd parts to the whole episode-ending sequence: Just minutes before this shocking revelation, Willam took a moment to step to the edge of the runway and puke — in front of her fellow contestants and the judging panel. (Disqualified because she barfed in public?) And then, after she was kicked off the show, there was no explanation about what rules she had broken, by her or RuPaul or anyone connected with the show.
In fact, Willam seemed flip about the whole situation. “I broke the rules,” she said on the episode, before rubbing her butt on the mirror in the workroom where she also left a goodbye message for her fellow contestants, “but I’m a big boy dressed in big girls clothes. Regrets kind of like a fool’s game. I can’t change anything that I did, and there’s no point in dwelling on it.” The good news? Phi Phi O’Hara and — bless, bless, bless! — Sharon Needles are safe.
But — like you — we here at EW are still confused about what, exactly, happened. Which is why we checked in with Willam herself to see what she had to say about the night’s events. She’s just as cagey as you might expect — and the answers are still very unclear, outside of the realization that this is all likely just a big publicity ploy for her and her new single — but read on to hear Willam talk about last night, her portrayal on the show, who she’s rooting for now, and what she’ll be shilling next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, everyone will be dying to know: What happened with the disqualification?
WILLAM BELLI: Oh, f—, I didn’t win?
You’re pulling the funny here, but what really happened?
What do you think I did?
I don’t know — you were barfing there on the runway. Are you bulimic and that’s against the rules?
Here’s the thing: I had an abortion. The anesthesia just made me sick. I will say this: I wasn’t caught doing anything. Everything that I did, I admitted and I brought to everyone’s attention.
Why do you have to be cryptic about what happened on last night’s episode?
Oh, no, no — not at all. We don’t have to be cryptic. It’s my choice. I want people to keep tuning in. Maybe watch me at the reunion.
So, we’ll find out what happens at the reunion?
Yeah, or maybe everyone should write into the network and say, “We want Willam — give him his own show!” Or, some bulls— like that, “Put him on Drag U!” That kind of crap.
Was this all a plan to garner publicity?
I don’t know! It seemed like my schedule was quite jam-packed, like I was in New York doing an off-Broadway show the next week. I have no idea. Like, I’m going to leave all these answers up to wiser men than I at the network. I do like the fact that they didn’t make it seem like I got caught doing something, like my hand was in the cookie jar. Everything that I did on that show was pretty much in character, except for when I cried.
What happened there?
I was so p—ed that they got that. The crying thing, it was weird because it actually happened when I came back out on stage — it wasn’t after they said I was safe. You can’t make everything flow the way it should for a 42 minute show without some editing. So I totally understand, and I applaud them for that, and it’s helped to mold me as great reality TV fodder. But I’m 100 percent fine with the editing, and I do like that they didn’t make it look like I did something bad. They didn’t say that I fessed up to anything, but they said that there were rules broken.
Was what you did bad?
If I was good at what I was doing — which they considered “bad” — is it still considered “bad”? I’m trying not to be an a–hole here, but it’s not working out very well.
Outside of this incident, did you think you had a good chance of winning?
I think I won. Didn’t I? Phi Phi O’Hara says that “everyone is a winner just by being on the show.” So I think I’m a winner, right? Yeah. No, I thought the front runner this year was RuPaul because she’s won every other year. She’s the only one that gets residuals, so good on her.
What do you think of your portrayal on the show? Accurate?
Everything that they showed, I did. The one thing I don’t like is they showed talk about Sex & the City a lot. I was an extra on that when I was 16. They cut out every other reference to other things that I’m actually proud of, like Nip/Tuck. I did five episodes of that and got to work with [series creator] Ryan [Murphy]. That was awesome. I just did a movie that was nominated for Emmys on HBO last year, Cinema Verite, where I got to sing and dance and die and it was amazing. They tried to make me look like I was more into myself than I had the allowance to be, if that makes sense. Every single girl who was on that show wanted to be on TV, just like me. So I don’t understand why I got s— for saying I was on TV…when asked! When someone says, “I recognize you,” I’ll say, “Congratulations on having a TV.” It’s a little joke.
That was a great line — very funny.
I’m a comedian. It’s what I do!
You have to fit into a reality show character role, right?
It was quite obvious from that moment that people knew I was in character, you know? I’m really happy with everything.
Are you rooting for a particular queen for the win?
[Drag Race judge] Michelle Visage! She was one of the only people who was honest with me about my makeup. I just didn’t see a five o’clock shadow sometimes until I was on stage after the lip-synch, touching up my makeup. There was this moment where I looked up, and I saw it, and I pointed to my face and then at her, and I was like, “I got you. I know exactly what you’re talking about.” In this episode, there is no beard — it’s gorgeous and flawless. Michelle said on stage, she was like, “You look great. This is beautiful.” It was nice. All I wanted on that show was to raise my profile a little bit because I wasn’t getting in for parts. Shangela and Chris Crocker got parts over me because they said I wasn’t enough of a name. I’ve been working for 10 years, and they wouldn’t audition me.
Have you noticed any difference so far since the show began?
Yes. This is the busiest pilot season I’ve ever had in my life.
Anything you want to tell your fans or viewers out there?
You have a new single?
That came out last week. The video is going to be directed by Chi Chi LaRue, and that’s going to be out in April. It’s written by Tom Truijllo and Ben Bove, who write a lot of RuPaul’s music.
What’s the vibe of it?
It’s dance — it’s a real club banger. All those RuPaul girls try to have a single and, so, this is my official dance single. I do like the comedy stuff and parodying pop culture, so I also have that “Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)” video, which just came out.
How did that come about?
Well, I wasn’t a big Chick-fil-A fan, I guess, I never really knew about them because I’m from Philly and they don’t have them there. I was eating there with my girlfriends and they were telling me how [they support anti-gay organizations]. I was like, “Oh that sucks about the gay thing.” And then, I got diarrhea from it, so I was like, “F— this, I’m gonna write a song.” The fact that they come after gay people, let me come for you. The worst endorsement for a Christian chicken eatery is three drag queens. So it’s like, “Alright, alright, boo.” In reality, I just wanted to wear a bobbed wig.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky