Alexandra Scott Billings is an American transgender actress. She is the first trans woman to have played a transgender character on television, appearing as transsexual characters in episodes of Karen Sisco, ER, Eli Stone and Grey’s Anatomy. Billings’ father, Robert, was a music teacher, which influenced her interest in theater. She assisted him, working backstage in the shadow of such stars as Carol Burnett and Yul Brynner. She also appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar and The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd.
In the early 1980s, Billings worked under the stage name Shante at the famed Baton Show Lounge. Winning a series of beauty contests, she was named Miss Wisconsin, Miss New York, Miss Chicago, Miss Illinois, and Miss Florida. She also served as a judge of the Miss Continental pageant in 2000 and 2001. Most of her professional work has been in Chicago theaters, most notably The Bailiwick Theater, Light Opera Works, Court Theatre, and the Tony Award winning Steppenwolf Theatre. She has collaborated on plays with such notable authors as Larry Kramer, Tina Landau, and Jamie Pachino. She has received one Joseph Jefferson Award, and 5 After Dark Awards for her work in Chicago Theater.
Alexandra is also a professional singer who performs in theaters and nightclubs throughout the United States. She was a recipient of the New York MAC Hanson Award for Cabaret Artist of the Year in 2004. She has taught Viewpoints at the Steppenwolf Summer School since 2002, as well as Louis University, The University of Chicago, Illinois University, for the Illinois Theatre Convention, at Act One Studios, and various Master classes and workshops around the Chicago area. Currently, she teaches alongside Steppenwolf company members Tom Irwin and Jeff Perry at the Steppenwolf School West in Los Angeles California. She is also currently teaching and earning her Master’s in theater at California State University, Long Beach.
She appeared in the 2010 GLBT film FAUX, in which she commented on gay marriage spurring the economy. Billings lives in Hollywood, California with her wife Chrisanne. They were married in a commitment ceremony in Chicago on December 4, 1995. Alexandra was chosen as the Grand Marshall for the Pride Parade in Chicago, Illinois on June 28, 2009.