Childhood & Early Life
Willam Belli was born on June 30, 1982 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he spent his early years. He is the youngest child of her parents and has a sister who is 18 months older than him.
Answering to questions about his childhood and sexual identity, he mentioned that he knew he was gay very early on. His sexual orientation was never an issue in the family as he had a gay uncle and a gay aunt from his father’s side, and another gay uncle from his mother’s side.
He moved to Florida when he was a teenager, as his father worked at the Kennedy Space Center. During his junior high and high school years, he escaped torture by bullies at school because his older sister was very popular with the boys.
Award winning television director, Mary Lou Belli, is his aunt, who paid for a few acting courses for him, even though he was never interested in taking acting classes or memorizing dialogues. Always wanting to be famous, he chose to appear on television because he considered it the easiest way to fame.
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Willam Belli debuted on television at the age of 18 on the game show ‘Street Smarts’. He subsequently made guest appearances on two episodes of the television series ‘The District’ in 2002.
In 2003, he made his first feature film appearance in ‘American Wedding’, in which he had two scenes. He continued to do small roles in films and appeared on television a number of times, including in ‘Boston Public’ and ‘Cold Case’.
He got his breakthrough role when he was cast as the transsexual Cherry Peck on the FX medical drama series, ‘Nip/Tuck’ in 2004.
Between 2005 and 2008, he appeared in the television series ‘My Name Is Earl’, ‘CSI: NY’, ‘Women's Murder Club’, and acted in films like ‘Because I Said So’ and ‘Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!’
In 2009, he made his singing debut, performing at The Roxy Theatre as part of the band Tranzkuntinental, which also included fellow drag queens Detox, Kelly Mantle, Rhea Litré, and Vicky Vox. He featured as a background dancer in Rihanna's ‘S&M’ music video in 2011.
In 2011, World of Wonder called his manager, asking him to audition for the fourth season of the Logo TV reality television show, ‘RuPaul's Drag Race’. He was subsequently selected as one of 13 contestants on the show, but later became the first contestant ever to be disqualified due to conjugal visits from his husband.
He was cast in the Uwe Boll directed 2011 film ‘BloodRayne: The Third Reich’. He later appeared in its scene-for-scene spoof version, ‘Blubberella’, for which he also served as the co-author.
He later formed the pop band DWV along with Vicky Vox and Detox Icunt and released their first song, ‘Trouble’ on March 12, 2012. His next parody song, ‘Chow Down’, which was released on March 18, 2012 during the controversy regarding his disqualification from ‘RuPaul's Drag Race’, went viral and ranked at No.12 on Billboard’s ‘US Comedy Digital Songs’ chart.
His next hit song was ‘Love You Like a Big Schlong’ which received over a million views on YouTube following its release on April 29, 2012. He independently released his debut album, ‘The Wreckoning’, in November 2012.
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Willam Belli created his self-titled YouTube channel back in April 2006, and used it occasionally to post his performance videos, clips from TV appearances, and music videos. However, following the success of his comedy series ‘Willam's Beatdown’ on the channel ‘thestylishvids’ in December 2012, he premiered the fourth season of the series on his YouTube channel.
His band released a new song, ‘Boy Is a Bottom’, in January 2013, ahead of the premiere of the fifth season of ‘RuPaul's Drag Race’. Its music video, posted on his YouTube channel on January 28, 2013, went on to become his biggest hit with over 20 millions views.
After DWV officially disbanded in June 2014, he teamed up with Courtney Act and Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 to release the single ‘American Apparel Ad Girls’. His second studio album, ‘Shartistry in Motion’, was released on June 2.
Grand Central Publishing released his first book as an author, ‘Suck Less: Where There's a Willam, There's a Way’, in October 2016. In May 2017, Fullscreen roped him in for a weekly half-hour call-in show titled ‘Suck Less’.
Most recently, he appeared on the 2017 television shows, ‘When We Rise’ and ‘The Twins: Happily Ever After?’ He is slated to appear in a number of upcoming films, including ‘A Star Is Born’, ‘After Birth’ and ‘Girls Will Be Girls’.
Willam Belli uses his real name when performing as a drag queen, which is unusual for most drag queens who use separate stage names. According to him, it is because he comes from an acting background where it is more difficult for people who go by many names to find jobs.
Interestingly, his disqualification from ‘Drag Race’ due to violation of his contract coincided with his selection in a Los Angeles off-Broadway production. It was later revealed that he knowingly violated a number of rules, like smoking weed, entering restricted areas, and stealing props, so that he will be fired from the show.