Since her acclaimed run on the Amazon series Transparent, longtime actress Alexandra Billings has made prominent appearances on shows such as Goliath, Diary of a Future President, and on Broadway in The Nap and Wicked. She’s currently guest-starring in a recurring role on The Conners as Robin, a supervisor the Wellman factory where Becky (Lecy Goranson) and Darlene (Sara Gilbert) now work.
In the Season 3 premiere, the family talks about how Wellman Plastics would be re-opening in the midst of COVID-19. For those who may not remember or don’t know, Wellman Plastics is the same company from the original Roseanne where both Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) worked in the first season. Robin is a no-nonsense but fair boss who becomes a mentor to Darlene. That bothers Becky at first, but as time goes on, Becky and Robin's relationship takes a turn for the better.
Who is 'The Conners' star Alexandra Billings?
Alexandra Billings is originally from Illinois, and in addition to being an actress, she is an activist, teacher, singer, and author. She has taught acting at California State University Long Beach and was an assistant professor of acting at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Alexandra is among the first openly transgender performers who played a transgender character on television in the 2005 made-for-TV movie Romy and Michele: In The Beginning.
She’s had guest-starring roles on shows like How to Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, and E.R., to name a few. Before I Disappear, her one-woman autobiographical show, toured from Chicago to Boston to Los Angeles, and had rave reviews off-Broadway at the Producer’s Club, where it ran for over 10 years. Alexandra lives in Hollywood with her wife, Chrisanne. The couple met back when Alexandra was 14 in a drama class she was taking, and have been married since 1995.
Alexandra Billings loves playing Robin on 'The Conners.'
In an interview with ET, Alexandra talks about her role as Robin on The Conners. She says, "One of the things I love about Robin is she’s flawed, she’s fallible, she’s got a temper. She's not the nicest human being in the world."
She added, "The great example of Robin is you can be a trans person and reveal when you're comfortable when you need to when it's safe. And not according to anyone else's rules.” Episode 6 of The Conners' third season is when Robin being transgender comes up.
In the episode, the workers at Wellman are told they would be drug tested, and Becky and other workers staged a protest to fight the supervised drug testing after Robin chose to quit rather than reveal she is transgender. Robin has a heart-to-heart with Becky, basically letting her know that the reason she doesn't want to take charge of the protest is because she's a trans woman.
Alexandra talks about that episode in an interview with TheWrap and says that it was quite an emotional scene. She says, “It got very emotional for me. And I really don’t, to be honest with you, know what happened. I’m a middle-aged person. I’ve been trans my whole life. And I’ve stood in those lines. I’ve marched in those parades. Robin is saying, ‘I have absolutely no desire to do it [anymore]. If you want to do it, that’s great.' And I don’t think that’s where I am, but it’s part of where I am."
In the end, Becky volunteers to administer the supervised drug tests, so her boss doesn't have to quit. Robin revealing such a big part of her private life to Becky is a significant moment in their relationship because she's now choosing to trust someone. It will be interesting to see how their work relationship blossoms.
Watch The Conners Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.