"I'm definitely not closed off to ignorant people," the SUR hostess and trans activist Billie Lee tells TooFab.
"Vanderpump Rules" star Billie Lee -- a transgender woman and hostess at SUR -- is opening up about her recent interview with co-star Stassi Schroeder, who's been dragged this season for making comments many people perceive as racist, prejudiced and just plain "ignorant."
A few weeks ago, Stassi asked Billie to appear on her "Straight Up with Stassi" podcast to help people "open their eyes to what the transgender community has to go through." Billie agreed to do the interview despite staunch warning from Ariana Madix, who told her that Stassi "actually takes pride in being ignorant."
"Being trans, doing the interview was a way for me to educate and inspire people," Billie told TooFab, explaining that Stassi's previous comments didn't get to her because she "comes across ignorant people all the time."
"I'm definitely not closed off to ignorant people," the Indiana native explained. "Stassi was always very kind to me, but I definitely did hear a lot of rumors about things she said and comments she's made, so I was nervous going in for sure, but I wanted to speak my truth, and she has a platform."
Billie says Ariana is "very educated on LGBT issues," so she understands why she "gets so frustrated when someone who has such a privileged background says ignorant things."
Still, Billie says she sympathizes with Stassi because she, too, has said ignorant things.
"I don't necessarily know about other cultures or other people," she explained. "You're living and learning through that experience. When you're on TV and you're on a podcast and you say things like that, you end up kicking yourself in the ass. My thing is, let's not cry abut it for 5 hours and be a victim, which is something I've seen with her. I think you should cry about it for like 5 minutes, get over it, then say OK, what can I do to make this situation better?"
"Stassi is obviously an educated woman, she just says ignorant things," Billie added, referencing a podcast Stassi aired back in May 2017 regarding the speeches made at the Academy Awards. "Her thing was that she was tired of people using their platforms at award shows to tell their story. She was saying that was annoying and whiny. For me, anytime someone can get a platform to educate someone on issues, I think that's really important. I don't consider it whining at all."
"Vanderpump Rules" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.