Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: WoW
The RuPaul’s Drag Race finale aired a moving tribute to late contestant Chi Chi DeVayne over the weekend.
Chi Chi, who was diagnosed with scleroderma in 2018, died of pneumonia after a hospital spell for scleroderma-related kidney failure on 20 August 2020 at the age of 34.
The last episode of season 13 saw Symone, Rosé, Kandy Muse and Gottmik battle it out for the crown - with (spoiler alert) Symone ultimately proving victorious.
However, the episode’s most emotional moment was the Chi Chi tribute.
“A beacon of love, talent and Louisiana glamour”
Midway through the show, RuPaul remembered the charming SE8 queen, saying: “We lost one of our most beloved queens this past year – a beacon of love, talent and Louisiana glamour: the dazzling Chi Chi Devayne.”
Elsewhere, Eureka, Bob the Drag Queen, Latrice Royale, Heidi N Closet and Thorgy Thor were among the RPDR alumni to share their memories of the star.
— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) April 24, 2021
Said Thorgy: "She was so raw and visceral and honest,” as Bob added: “Chi Chi was one of those folks who was loved by everyone. Everyone who met Chi Chi truly loved her energy.
“[…] She was a show-stopping, and I mean show-stopping performer.”
Fellow SE8 contestant Kim Chi said: “You’re one of the best performers I’ve ever met. You’d be taking a nap, up until the moment the music starts playing, and then you’d run on stage and do 10 backflips and cartwheels.”
Chi Chi, real name Zavion Davenport, finished in fourth place on the 2016 season of the show, before finishing in eighth place on All Stars in 2018.
Speaking out about her death at the time, RuPaul said: "I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Chi Chi DeVayne. I am so grateful that we got to experience her kind and beautiful soul. She will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. May her generous and loving spirit shine down on us all."