'Vanderpump Rules' Billie Lee Never Planned to Join the Show When She Started At SUR

Vanderpump Rules has tried to bring on numerous new cast members over the years and it’s been a bit of a… mixed bag.

Most of them haven’t lasted more than a season or two but I have a feeling the latest SURver is a keeper. Her name is Billie and she’s a badass babe and transgender activist. She was brought on a couple episodes into the season and for the most part, has gotten along pretty well with the cast. The SUR team is pretty LGBTQ friendly and Lisa Vanderpump has always been a huge supporter, attending Pride every year. So luckily, Billie hasn’t faced too much ignorance while on the show, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t struggle growing up.

vanderpump rules billie lee
Credit: Billie Lee/ Instagram

If you’re dying to get to know more about Billie and what you can expect from her later this season, I’ve got you covered. Check it out below.

She Went Through Some Dark Times During Her Transition

Transitioning can be a hard time for any transgendered individual, and that was certainly true for Billie, who was born in a male body. On her blog, she wrote,

“Most trans people, including myself, deal with a lot of bullying, which I thought would be over after high school. But during my awkward transformational stages I was beat up by society. I couldn’t get a job for over a year, and dating was not even an option. I felt all the doors close and it was extremely lonely.”

She Didn’t Go to SUR Trying to Get on the Show

Unlike possibly some of the other SUR employees, Billie wasn’t trying to get on the show at all — just trying to get a job! She told Bustle,

“Honestly, as an activist, you don’t get paid. You don’t make money! I needed a job, and I had a friend who knew Lisa, and they were like, ‘Oh, she loves the LGBT community, you should get a job at one of her restaurants. I applied, and I met with [Lisa], and I got the job. And she’s like my fairy godmother. I feel like she should have a wand because she just makes things happen and she inspires me.”

pump rules billie lee
Credit: Billie Lee/ Instagram
Her Pump Rules Cast Members Already Love Her

In an interview with Life & Style, Tom Sandoval said,

“Ariana Madix and I love Billie and a lot of other people think really highly of her. She’s a very strong, independent woman who has come so far in her life and I only want nothing but the best for her. She does mesh well very with the group. She is a strong personality but she’s also chill at the same time. I love the fact that they are following her story!”

She Used to Be Besties with Leighton Meester

Yes, you read that right: Billie used to be best friends with Gossip Girl alum Leighton Meester. They were so close that Leighton actually offered Billie a job as her hair and makeup artists back in the day.  It was because of Leighton that Billie was eventually able to pay for her gender reassignment surgery. Billie told People,

“She was literally my angel.”

billie lee trans
Credit: Billie Lee/ Instagram
She’s Hoping to Help Trans Youth With Her Pump Rules Role

Although Billie didn’t go into SUR thinking she would become a reality star, she’s now using her platform to help the trans community. She said,

“I  just want my trans brothers and sisters to live a better and more accepting life. As a child I wasn’t accepted, and even when I first transitioned, society did not accept me, I felt like I was beat up nonstop, I didn’t have opportunities, I had to do really awful things to survive and I just don’t want that for anyone.”

She added,

“If I can speak my truth and be vulnerable on television in front of everyone, even when it’s difficult, that’s what I need to do so the younger generation can be more accepted and have a safer environment.”


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.