Billie Lee

How Realistic Is ‘Vanderpump Rules’? Billie Lee On Filming, Friendships & Finding Herself

By Sara Levine | March 13, 2018

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If you’ve been watching Vanderpump Rules this season, you’ve no doubt taken notice of the new hostess, Billie Lee, who became fast friends with Ariana, Scheana, and Lala. We sat down with Billie Lee to talk about Vanderpump Rules, her experience as a trans woman, the Vanderpump Rules couples, and of course, Queen Lisa herself.

How did you get involved with Vanderpump Rules?

I had a friend who was like, “I know Lisa.” I was looking for a job. And he was like, “She’s really known in the LGBTQ community. She doesn’t have anyone trans working for her, maybe she’ll give you an opportunity.” So I met with her and she was like, “yes.” And I had a lot of experience because I worked in restaurants my whole life. And we just had a connection. I love her. She’s just such an amazing woman.

She really does seem like everyone’s mother hen on the show. Is it like that in real life?

Yes, because she cares about people, but at the same time she’s a boss. I remember there was a time I was going through a breakup right when I started there, and she would be like, “Billie can you smile more? You’re greeting the customers.” And I was sad, but she’s your boss at the end of the day. You gotta do what the queen says.

How many hours a week are you a hostess?

When I first started I was 5 days a week, some days double so I was like, dying. Now, I took a month off just to like relax because I was so stressed with filming and then also working. And then now I’m back like 2 days a week or I pick up shifts, and once things calm down with press I’ll pick up more.

Billie Lee

What do you do in your off time when you’re not hostessing?

I love yoga, meditation, and I love just grounding with the planet. I’m like, obsessed with planet Earth, I know I was sent here on a mission, and one of my missions is to save our planet and bring awareness to the damage we’re causing. I volunteer I’m with this organization FLUX, I do things for them and speak on their behalf—I just try to be an activist, try to serve my community. I feel like we’re all here to serve each other, learn from each other, and my ultimate mission is to educate and inspire people on a big platform.

I’m sure it’s hard to be trans and simply exist, let alone be trans on a huge TV show. How do you deal with it?

Being trans is one thing, and I used to be stealth—which I don’t do anymore, I’m open and I love being trans—but you do come into situations. Like, I was out the other night and someone asked for a picture and he was like, “are you famous?” And my girlfriend was like, “Oh she’s kind of famous. She’s on this show.” And he was like, “I’m gonna Google you,” and I was like, “no.” I was just having an amazing time with him; I did not want to talk about being trans. And he went to the bathroom and Googled me and he came back and was like, “I’m gonna leave.” He totally rejected me. And I was a mess. I went to Ariana’s house and I just cried and she held me and told me that I was beautiful.

That must have been so hard.

It is hard, you go through a lot of rejection as a trans woman. And, you know, it’s making me stronger for sure, but at the end of the day when I get messages from 12-year-old trans kids who are like, “you inspire me and I don’t feel alone,” it’s all worth it.

Do you have any advice for anyone who’s trans who watches the show or reads our website?

My thing is, it gets better. It really does. And when I was younger and I was being bullied, I tried to take the positive out of the situation. There was writing all over the bathroom wall: “Billie Lee sucks dick.” I didn’t even know how to suck dick then, but I was like, “oh my god, all this writing is about me,” and all of this fear came up. And then I realized, “what is the positive I can take out of this?” And then I was like, “people are taking the time out of their day to write on a wall about me.” Like bitch, please.

So my thing is, even if you’re being bullied or there’s writing on the wall or something negative, also loving yourself and telling yourself you’re grateful and writing down all the things you are grateful for. I always try to hold onto spiritual practices that lift my spirit. It’s hard, sometimes you get down, even when I get rejected still this day there’s days when I’m like, “I need a whole day to be a victim, I need this whole day to cry and feel it and then get over it.”

Do you think dating is harder or easier now that you’re in this spotlight?

I feel like it’s gonna be harder. I’m like, damn! But maybe my mission here on Earth is not to be in love with this guy and give him all the attention, maybe it’s to serve my community and my planet, you never know. But we as humans are sociable, we love connecting with anyone. I love having connections with people (I also like hooking up with people).

Billie Lee

How realistic do you think the show is compared to what we see? Do you all hang out when you’re not filming?

You kind of see Stassi, Katie and Kristen hang out. They’re best friends. And then Tom, Ariana, Jeremy, Lala, and Scheana, we all hang out. We’re a group. And they just really accepted me and I love hanging out with them. People say, “How close are you?” And I’m like, I’m close enough that I don’t wear makeup around them. I can be looking crazy and busted and a hot mess and I can hang out with them.

Did you think you would get close to them? Were you nervous to meet them?

Yea when I first started I was really nervous, I was like, “What if I can’t become friends with people, what if people hate me?” Like, all these things come up, but then I really try to love myself and I try to give that vibe out and people came around and they started talking to me. Ariana saw that I was kind of like, “What the hell is going on? There’s so much drama!” In the beginning of the times they were filming, you see me and I’m just looking like, “What the fuck?” Ariana was like, “I was once the new girl, I get it, if you ever need anything I’m here.” Then I get to know her and she knows all these trans facts, she’s such an ally. She’s just amazing. So we instantly started becoming really good friends and now she’s just my go-to.

Have you watched the show?

I didn’t watch the show before, because I wanted to meet these people and get to know them in an organic way and not have expectations. Of course now I’m watching because I’m on it! Sometimes I watch myself and I run out the room. I talk about my vagina a few times because people ask, but that’s some of the things that they show (me talking about my vagina), and I’m like, “There’s more than just my vagina!” even though it is a really good vagina.

Do you think you got a fair edit overall?

I mean I filmed a lot… But at the end of the day I feel like they did a great job. And I actually met a couple of the editors, and they were so nice to me and told me they were so inspired when they edited me. Even their wives were like, “oh my god he’d come home from work and talk about you,” so that was really cool. But I love Bravo. I think they’re doing a really good job in showing a trans woman’s experience.

Is there anything that happened that you’re like, “I wish they would’ve shown this”?

Lisa and I had a moment in the garden, and it was a really powerful moment. Cause they weren’t gonna give me Pride off and I was like, “what?? I requested Pride off. This is my day.” One of the managers who works there, I won’t mention her name, was like, “Can you not make this a big deal?” I got teary eyed and she was like, “it’s just Pride.” I was like, “Bitch! You don’t know what Pride is to me. This is the one day I get to be proud of my experience and also connect with my people and celebrate each other in the LGBTQ community.”

Lisa and I had that moment where I told her and I was crying to her, and she was like, “First of all, you have it off. Second of all, I want you to say something. I want to introduce you.” And she was like, “We’re here for you, anytime you need to take time to be with yourself and be with the trans community you let me know because that’s important to you.” She was so supportive and I wish they kind of would’ve shown that part. But at the end of the day who knows, maybe there will be more down the road.

I do feel like they show Lisa almost meddling. Like, some fight or drama will happen and right afterwards they’ll show someone coming to her to rehash exactly what happened.

You know, there’s a lot of bosses out there that want to know what’s going on in their business and their restaurant. And you know, she’s in Beverly Hills. She’s on the Housewives, she knows gossip and maybe she’s a little addicted to it.

On last night’s episode you go on a date with Ariana’s brother?

It goes great, he’s so sweet, really kind, and he sees me for me—a woman. And also he was talking about adoption, he was like, “I think adopting is so cool.” My ex boyfriend of 3 years, one thing that bothered him was that I couldn’t have my own kids. That hurt me so bad. So to go on dates where guys are accepting but also cool with adoption because I plan on having kids in the next couple years, that was dope. He’s so sweet and we still hang out all the time, I just don’t want to get in a serious relationship because I’m still learning and still healing from my past relationships.

I feel like there’s been an overarching children theme this season.

Someone’s bound to get pregnant.

Who do you think’s gonna be first?

Honestly, I think Brittany. Brittany’s gonna be first to have a kid, because I know Ariana very well and I know she doesn’t wanna have kids. Or at least right now. But I definitely think it’s either Brittany or Kristen. Kristen and her man are really amazing, they’re really good together. But I plan on adopting in two years. I said when I turned 35 I would start the adoption process, but I’m 34 and I cannot have a kid in a year! So definitely in my 30s I want to adopt a child. Or 5. I don’t know, we’ll see. It depends if I have enough money to have 4 or 5 kids.

Do you think we’ll have another Vanderpump wedding soon?

I heard that James is really into his girl, Raquel, and I feel like they’re leaning towards that. I just know Ariana and Tom, I know Ariana really isn’t about getting married. You never know, Stassi’s with her new man, what if that becomes a fast train ride to marriage?

Do you think you’d do another season?

Yeah of course, I mean, I’m still working there. I would love to do little hosting gigs, hosting events and eventually hosting my own talk show, but right now SUR is paying the bills. And I love working with my people, they’re like my family and I get to go to work with them. And I get to work for Lisa Vanderpump.

Billie Lee

What’s the best thing to order at SUR?

I’m vegan, so I do the angel hair pasta. It comes with fresh tomatoes and basil, it’s so good. Like, the best. I love taking it home to-go and eating it after my shift.

Is there anything else you want to tell our readers about?

I got my first campaign, I’m modeling for this jewelry line , so that’s really cool. She’s so amazing and loves the fact that I’m trans. I’m working with this organization FLUX, and then I’m going to start my own podcast called Brunch with Billie and then I’ll be hosting brunches at SUR.

And I do want to repeat this for kids that are struggling and alone: we’re here. There are people you can reach out to. And just know that you’re loved, because I personally love you so much.