Billy Porter’s stylist told us the meaning behind the star’s ‘F— U, Pay Me’ handbag

Billy Porter first started wearing the

caption
Billy Porter first started wearing the “F— U, Pay Me!” handbag in 2019.
source
Amanda Edwards/Mike Marsland/Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
  • Billy Porter made headlines when he wore a black handbag with the words “F— U, Pay Me!” painted in white letters to the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars after-party.
  • Porter debuted the bag at a photo shoot for Gay Times in 2019 and has worn it on the red carpet multiple times since.
  • Porter’s stylist, Sam Ratelle, told Insider the handbag is about celebrating how Porter is now cashing in on his career after having worked as an actor for almost 30 years.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Billy Porter made headlines when he wore a black handbag with the words “F— U, Pay Me!” painted in white letters to the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars after-party.

Although many people were surprised to see Porter carrying the bold accessory, the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party is not the first time he’s worn it. In fact, the “Pose” star has actually been seen wearing the These Pink Lips bag on multiple occasions.

Porter debuted the accessory at a photo shoot with Gay Times in 2019, and he has worn it on the red carpet at least two other times since. At the time of writing, the exact handbag wasn’t available for purchase, but a clutch version and a similar neon bag are still for sale.

After wearing it in the magazine, Porter carried the handbag again to a 2019 screening for “Pose.”

Billy Porter at the 2019 FYC event for

caption
Billy Porter at the 2019 FYC event for “Pose.”
source
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

He brought it out a third time for the 2019 launch of Sir Richard Branson and Gareth Pugh’s Virgin Cruise capsule collection.

Billy Porter at the 2019 launch of Sir Richard Branson and Gareth Pugh's Virgin Cruise capsule collection.

caption
Billy Porter at the 2019 launch of Sir Richard Branson and Gareth Pugh’s Virgin Cruise capsule collection.
source
Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images

The fourth time he wore the handbag was at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars after-party.

Billy Porter at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars after-party.

caption
Billy Porter at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars after-party.
source
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

He paired it with an elaborate purple Christian Siriano outfit featuring a large train and a wide-brimmed hat.

Porter’s stylist, Sam Ratelle, told Insider the handbag celebrates how the “Pose” star is in the spotlight after almost 30 years of working in the industry

Insider spoke to Porter’s stylist, Sam Ratelle, about the meaning behind the accessory, which he discovered at Patricia Field’s ARTFashion Gallery in New York City.

“Billy Porter has had a career for 30 years, so it was an homage to celebrating that he’s cashing in now after the hard work,” Ratelle said. “To me, that’s quite monumental.”

“I picked it out because it speaks about celebrating that we deserve to be here, we deserve to have money,” he added. “It’s kind of been a motto in a way.”

Billy Porter and Sam Ratelle at the 2019 Emmy Awards.

caption
Billy Porter and Sam Ratelle at the 2019 Emmy Awards.
source
Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Ratelle said he wanted Porter wearing the bag to jump-start a conversation about abundance, and for people to realize their worth.

“The year 2020, for me, is really about welcoming abundance into my life,” Ratelle said. “I know that Billy is going on a journey toward that realm himself. I’ve been homeless before, and he’s spoken in the press about being bankrupt, too.”

“To me, it’s really all about monetizing artistry,” he added. “That’s the reason why I chose the bag.”

Ratelle wants to send people a strong message, saying: “We are worthy of being paid. We are offering a product and you need to buy it. It’s not for free!”

The stylist revealed that now Porter just refers to the bag as “F— U, Pay Me” whenever he wants to wear it out.

The bag also made Ratelle think about his own relationship with money.

“I said, ‘You know what? I love money and money loves me.’ And I just have to keep repeating that,” Ratelle explained. “It’s really about being able to live in your truth and honor your worth.”

“Allow yourself the value to feel confident and know who you are and the place where you are at. Also, just be kind. Don’t be a dick about it. Own it!”

Representatives for These Pink Lips did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.