If you think a season of Vanderpump Rules is long, you probably forgot about the reunion specials. The typically multi-week event at the end of each season dredges up all the season's drama yet again, and it's often pretty brutal for everybody involved. But thankfully this season brought SUR hostess and trans activist Billie Lee to the Vanderpump Rules reunion, and her presence was a welcome one amid all the yelling and tears. As she tells Bustle, she felt worse for her fellow cast mates filming the drama of the reunion than she did for herself.
“They had to face a lot and there was a lot of emotion involved, so I feel for them,” she says. “I know that going into the reunion, it was Ariana saying that the two worst days for her are [the anniversary of] her dad’s death and the reunions, filming the reunions. It’s definitely really intense.” In terms of her first showing, though, Billie wasn’t all that nervous. “I knew that I didn’t have too many enemies. I had some beef with Stassi, so I was nervous about that. I’m used to being in front of a crowd and speaking as an activist, so I wasn’t nervous about anything except confronting the whole situation with Jeremy and I and Stassi,” Billie admits. “There were times I just thought she was shady.”
Earlier in the season, Billie snagged a date with Ariana’s younger brother, Jeremy, and when she expressed her excitement to Stassi, Stassi poured water all over it, claiming that Jeremy was “creepy” and that Billie shouldn’t go out with him. So far removed from the incident now, how does Billie feel about the whole thing? “Stassi has her opinion, and I think she was dramatic about it, and I know she’s apologized,” Billie says. “I feel pretty good about the situation. Sometimes, what happens is that we assume the worst... I personally at the time was hurt and I felt like she was someone I couldn’t trust with my emotions.”
While that’s resolved, Billie isn’t so thrilled about the cutting words Lala used in her one-on-one interviews. “[It] made her look two-faced. One minute, she’s friendly with everyone, and the next she’s by herself and she’s talking sh-t about everyone, you know, with Tom and his instrument and Scheana and her tone-deaf situation,” Billie says. “I thought that… I just noticed that she doesn’t put it out there in person, but when it’s interview time, she’s all about saying negative things. That’s alarming about her and her character.”
And while she condemned Lala for being closed to everyone, Billie highlighted Scheana for her vulnerability. Scheana’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Rob, was picked apart by viewers and the cast alike all season long, and the fact that Scheana had to relive all of it again on television, Billie says, is a testament to how strong she is.
“[Scheana] was all about avoiding watching the show because… that’s like looking through photos of you and your ex. I wouldn’t want to do that either. For her to have to like, actually watch it before she went on and then have to talk about it, I felt for her,” Billie says. “That’s really hard to do, to be vulnerable like that, and be rejected like that on television. People don’t understand that rejection is very, very difficult, and I just love her for how strong she is.”
Scheana and Billie are close, and Scheana will definitely be helping Billie conquer the next phase of her journey — the last surgeries needed for her transformation. “My last part of my surgery is body contouring and breast augmentation, so I’m doing that this summer, and that’s my final big surgery for my complete transformation,” Billie says. Another goal? To get promoted at SUR. “I’m still hosting at SUR, and I’m hoping that Lisa will promote me to server. I’ve asked her over and over because you can make more money, and I like being at like, a table, and meeting the guests and stuff. Fingers crossed,” she says.
For now, the reunion drama doesn’t seem to have affected Billie’s positive attitude. She’s currently hosting a "Brunch With Billie" event with James Kennedy at SUR (“In June, Scheana and I are going to do a speed-dating one,” Billie laughs), and she’s thankful for her new job and the people who surround her. “Working at SUR has changed my life — I have a whole family now of people that I love so much and that I’m so close with,” she says. “Life is so different. It’s crazy.”