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Go Behind the Scenes of Owning It

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Publisher's Summary

Celebrate Pride with Alexandra Billings (Transparent), Nikki Levy (Don’t Tell My Mother!), and six fabulous storytellers as they share true tales about owning their queer identities.

Owning It, produced especially for Pride Month in collaboration with the historic live event and podcast Don’t Tell My Mother!, brings Audible Members a collection of uplifting, raw, and hilarious stories from queer actors, comedians, and personalities. Cohosted by beloved actress and activist Alexandra Billings and storytelling maven Nikki Levy, Owning It is a joyous celebration of LGBTQIA+ stories and icons.  

Hear comedian Jen Kober (Dead to Me) detail her hilarious attempt at a summer romance at Jewish camp in the 1980s. Catch RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio face her biggest fear at a remodeled Pizza Hut in Wisconsin. Hear Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) share the story of digging through the trash – literally – to fund his dreams of becoming an actor. Hear Diona Reasonover (NCIS) describe her dramatic journey to the altar after a lifetime of believing it was impossible. Listen to Transparent star Shakina Nayfack’s tale of coming out…as Christian. And finally, Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, tells his story of fighting and winning the first major Supreme Court case for trans rights.

We’ve been inside for over a year. Now it’s time to celebrate.

©2021 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2021 2021 Audible Originals, LLC

About the Creator and Host

Nikki Levy is the host and creator of Don't Tell My Mother! with Nikki Levy, a podcast where celebrities from Hollywood, sports, music, and comedy tell true stories they'd never want their moms to know, and their mothers join in for the fun! Produced by Two and a Half Men star Jon Cryer, Don’t Tell My Mother! was born nearly a decade ago as a live show and has gone on to become the number-one comedy event in Los Angeles for diverse voices, with previous guests including Tracee Ellis Ross, Kate McKinnon, Teri Hatcher, Ali Wong, Hasan Minhaj, and more. A longtime development executive in film and TV, Levy recently served as head of scripted content for DreamWorksTV at NBC Universal. She is currently producing and co-hosting her fourth LGBTQ+ Pride special with Audible, where queer icons like Tan France, Lance Bass, Pose star Angelica Ross, and Shangela tell true stories in celebration of Pride Month.
A native New Yorker, Levy graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in radio/TV/film and a minor in creative writing for the media. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their 13-year-old pit bull and a tuxedo cat. Her mother knows everything!
Photo by Ash Danielsen

About the Co-host

Alexandra Billings is an actress, singer, author, teacher, and activist. She stars as Madame Morrible in the Broadway production of Wicked, and will (hopefully) return to the role after the pandemic shutdown. She is the first trans actor to portray the role, which is not written as trans. She previously was on Broadway starring in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of The Nap at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Ben Brantley of The New York Times called her performance "a sensational Broadway debut" and "a marvel of glamorous menace."
Billings starred as Davina in the award-winning Amazon television series Transparent and was a producer of the series' musical finale. Other television appearances include recurring roles on The Conners, Never Have I Ever, Diary of a Female President, and Goliath, and guest-starring roles on How to Get Away with Murder, Grey's Anatomy, E.R., Nurses opposite Lynn Redgrave, and the Ryan Murphy pilot Pretty/Handsome. She starred in the ABC film Romy and Michelle: A New Beginning, one of the first times a trans actress played a trans character in the history of television. Her life story From Schoolboy to Showgirl: the Alexandra Billings Story for PBS television was nominated for an Emmy for Best Documentary.
Her work extends to feature films; she stars in Freelancers Anonymous, and in Valley of Bones opposite Autumn Reeser and Rhys Coiro.
Acting since 1968, Billings has performed throughout the US in hundreds of plays and musicals. Her autobiographical cabaret/musical S/He & Me was performed at The Renberg Theatre in Los Angeles. She's played everyone from Mama Rose in Gypsy to Mrs. Lynde in A Doll's House. Every stage role she plays is considered to be a first for a transgender actress. Her one-woman autobiographical show Before I Disappear toured from Chicago to Boston to Los Angeles, and was performed off-Broadway at The Producer's Club, winning rave reviews and running for over 10 years. She originated the role of Alejandra in Time to Burnby Charles Mee at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and toured to off-Broadway in Jeff Richmond and Michael Thomas' camp classic Hamlet! The Musical!. Her autobiography The Naked Transexual by Topple Books/Amazon is due for a 2021 release.
Billings's activism stretches across the continent. She was honored to receive the Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign. She is the recipient of five After Dark Awards and a Joseph Jefferson Award. In 2016, she moderated a panel during Transgender Awareness Month at the (Obama) White House; she won the TPA Award and the Rainbow Spirit Award, and was inducted into the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in Chicago. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.
She married her high school sweetheart, Chrisanne Blankenship-Billings, in 1996 in a ceremony held at the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre in Chicago. The couple was legally married in 2009.
Billings is an associate professor of theater at USC. She earned her master's degree at Cal State Long Beach, where she taught for several years. She is a viewpoints associate at the Steppenwolf Theatre and has taught in schools across the country.

Featuring

Featuring

Featured Article: The Best LGBTQIA+ Listens by Queer Authors


We scoured the LGBTQIA+ canon to present some of our favorite queer-focused listens of all time. Inclusivity and representation are among the most powerful and positive aspects of literature. Here are some of the best LGBTQIA+ listens available, from lesbian literature to bisexual and trans stories. And because we know that authenticity is important, our selections are all stories focused on gay characters, written by gay authors.

What listeners say about Owning It

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Loved this!!!

Just binged this, and absolutely loved! The hosts, Nikki & Alexandra, were smart and thoughtful. And the stories of LGBTQ excellence were awesome and inspiring. I loved Jen Kober (I went to Jewish summer camp, too!) and Chase Strangio (I cried at the end of his), but all were fabulous. It's been a hard year. I needed something to feel good about myself and remember that I'm part of a big, strong community. Thanks for a great Friday night.

4 people found this helpful

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Happy Pride Month

I laughed, I cried and I learned a lot. Totally worth the time. Happy Pride Month everyone!!!!

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hello

maybe sor stories beyond the boundaries of the US otherwise inspiring not sur ewhy I had to add 4 words to this review

1 person found this helpful

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Love this series!

It’s my yearly dose of Pride!!!!!! LGBTQ 🏳️‍⚧️ 🏳️‍🌈
The host did an immaculate job and thankful to all who shared they’re stories. Amazing human beings ♥️

1 person found this helpful

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Funny and Relatable LGBTQ Stories

I really enjoyed this! At under 2 hours long, it was a great listen for an afternoon of hands-on work in the lab. I think this is the third Pride Month special hosted by Nikki Levy for Audible which I have listened to, and in my opinion this is the best one yet! The stories were interesting and fresh, giving insights to how different celebrities on different points in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum own their own identity, and not every story was about coming out as gay to their family and friends. These productions are also podcasts about the past year, so I really appreciated listening to how these folks dealt with the pandemic. I'd definitely recommend to all those celebrating Pride Month 2021.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing

Perhaps unfairly I came into this expecting something like the Risk Podcast. Unfortunately this isn’t anywhere near as good. I felt like the stories were bland. In one story literally nothing happened at all, but none were outstanding. And again, maybe I’m just too used to listening to podcasts that are basically the passion projects of the hosts, but the hosts on this seem very scripted... like they’re putting on a show instead of just making what they love.

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It’s be better without commentary

There is just so much color commentary one can make without making the entire book about themself. I love the stories, would have been better with just one commentator.

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Excludes most of the LGBTQIA+ community

The stories here are fine, but it’s yet another piece of pride content (including the Audible pride special from last year) that claims to be for the entire LGBTQIA+ community while excluding everyone who isn’t gay/lesbian or transgender. Where are the stories about bi and pan people? Asexual and aromantic? Nonbinary? THE QUEER COMMUNITY IS MORE THAN JUST GAY AND TRANS IDENTITIES.

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I didn’t ask for this book!

Just appeared in my library without me even trying to order and is morally questionable at best!