Interview: RuPaul’s Drag Race – Chi Chi DeVayne
After eight emotional, surprising and downright shady episodes, we’ve reached one of the most important points of RuPaul’s Drag Race: The final four! With Bob the Drag Queen, Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls and Chi Chi DeVayne all remaining in the race for the crown at this point, they were thrown into the all-important final challenge as they took part in the filming for RuPaul’s latest music video for this season’s runway theme, The Realness. The final runway was home to most of the episode’s content, however, as the queens were posed with the task of composing a message to their younger selves and laying their claim to the crown, stating why they thought they were the most deserving, and ending it with a four-way lip sync to The Realness.
Unfortunately someone had to find themselves out of the race and edited out of the music video, and this season it was Chi Chi DeVayne who found herself falling ever so short of the crown. As one of the season’s supposed “underdogs”, viewers and judges alike were surprised to find Chi Chi making it so far in the competition. There’s no denying that she earned her place though, with a solid performance record throughout the season and one of the show’s most iconic lip syncs under her belt, after she owned the runway as she performed And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going two weeks prior. For being a “country queen” from the middle of Louisiana, Chi Chi exceeded all doubts and expectations and cemented her place as one of the series’ most formidable queens. Following her elimination, we had the chance to ask her about her time on the show during season eight.
Michael Smith: How was your time on RuPaul’s Drag Race? Are you happy with how you were presented on the show?
Chi Chi DeVayne: I had an amazing time. I made a lot of good friends and yes, I was very pleased with how I was presented.
MS: Earlier in the competition, you were viewed as one of the underdogs out of the cast. However, despite these claims you managed to prove yourself a worthy contender and made it all the way to the end. Did you ever expect to get this far?
CD: No, I never expected to get as far as I did and I’m not afraid to admit that. I knew I was coming in as an underdog, basically because these girls are on point and have their shit together. I proved that talent will take you a long way.
MS: How did this week’s challenge compare to the rest that you endured this season? Was it especially nerve wracking, considering the chance to be in one of RuPaul’s music videos was on the line?
CD: Yes, this was most definitely more nerve wracking. This is the big kahuna, like, this is going to determine who is in top three. I did the best I could possibly do.
MS: You received a lot of comments about your “ghetto” or “country” style of drag throughout the season. Did you expect these kind of comments? Do you think this had a negative impact on you throughout the competition?
CD: No. I’ve learned to embrace that and I knew what kind of queen I was going in. I was just a bar queen, and I represent those queens who couldn’t get it quite together but had talent. I don’t have the most expensive things and thought I would have had harsher criticism than I got. But everyone fell in love with me and that was a cool thing.
MS: How has your career been going since the show started? Has the show had the kind of effect on your career that you expected or wanted?
CD: My career has been going extremely well. Like I said, people fell in love with me and I think they identify with me. People know they’re that person who is struggling to make ends meet but has a big dream.
MS: Is there anything special you had brought with you that we didn’t get to see on the show?
CD: Oh, my God. I had a lot of things that I could have brought but you can only bring so much… Better wigs, better clothing; wardrobe wise I had more that I could have shown that was more polished. But you know, I don’t know what I was thinking when I was packing my stuff up.
MS: You had the chance to experience most of the season’s ups and downs; what would you say was the most surprising development throughout the season that we may or may not have seen?
CD: There was a turning point after the Wizard of Oz challenge when everyone wanted me to go home, where I got my head in the game and started going for blood. I stopped trying to be everyone’s friend and turned it on. That was a big turning point for me.
MS: How did it feel to lip sync against three other queens for the final spot in the top 3? How did the feeling differ to your other lip sync experiences?
CD: It was different on a lot of different levels. At this point we were all friends and knew only one of us could win, and only three could go to the finale. So it was a fun, enjoyable moment – it was great. I think this was the most friendly top four, and now three, they’ve ever had.
Tune into the finale in two week’s time to find out who will be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar!