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RuPaul’s Drag Race stars pay heartfelt, tender tribute to the late, great Chi Chi DeVayne: ‘Rest in perfection’

Maggie Baska April 24, 2021
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Chi Chi DeVayne Drag Race 

Chi Chi DeVayne performs onstage during the RuPaul's Drag Race Season 8 Finale Party at Stage 48 on 16 May 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for RuPaul's Drag Race)

The RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13 finale paid a heartfelt tribute to the late, great star Chi Chi DeVayne, seven months after her death.

Chi Chi DeVayne, who appeared in season eight of Drag Race and the third season of All Stars, tragically died in August 2020 at the age of 34 after battling pneumonia. The queen – real name Zavion Davenport – contracted pneumonia after a hospital stay for scleroderma-related kidney failure. The star was diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune condition, in 2018.

During the season 13 grand finale, RuPaul paused the show to remember Chi Chi DeVayne. She said: “We lost one of our most beloved queens this past year, a beacon of love talent and Louisiana glamour – the dazzling Chi Chi DeVayne.”

During the in memoriam segment, Drag Race alumni shared their respects and favourite memories of Chi Chi DeVayne. Season eight winner Bob the Drag Queen said the late queen was “one of those folks who was loved by everyone”, and everyone who met Chi Chi “truly loved her energy”.

“She was a show-stopping, and I mean show-stopping, performer,” Bob said.

An emotional Thorgy Thor, who was knocked out of the competition by Chi Chi during their time together in season eight, described the late queen as “so raw and visceral and honest”, and she loved “every second of it”.

Heidi N Closet, who starred in season 12 of Drag Race, said Chi Chi was an inspiration to her. She said: “She [Chi Chi] was a queen who didn’t have all the finest things, but she had the talent and the ability and all those fixings that just made her how special she really was.”

The segment ended with the queens telling Chi Chi that they loved and missed her, with a final card reading: “Zavion Michael Davenport, Chi Chi DeVayne, 1985-2020, rest in perfection.”

Chi Chi DeVayne began her drag career in her hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana before hitting it big during her debut on Drag Race. Following her time on the show, she embarked on several domestic and international tours.

In 2020, RuPaul dedicated his fifth Emmy win to Chi Chi. RuPaul’s record-breaking fifth consecutive Emmy win for a reality or competition program category was a historic moment. But Mama Ru took a moment to remember the fan-favourite who tragically passed away before the win.

She said she wanted to make a “political statement” by sharing her love for Chi Chi. RuPaul said: “Love for our LGBT brothers and sisters, love for Black queens and brown queens, and love for the United States of America, where a little gay boy with nothing more than a pussycat wig and a dream can build an international platform that celebrates sweet, sensitive souls everywhere.”

RuPaul then ended the powerful acceptance speech by saying: “I’d like to dedicate this Emmy to one of my girls, Chi Chi DeVayne. May you rest in power and perfection.”

 

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