On 20 August 2020, the Drag Race franchise lost one its most beloved contestants. Chi Chi DeVayne – birth name Zavion Davenport – tragically lost her battle with pneumonia, just days after asking followers to keep her in their prayers. The star, who was 34-years-old when she passed, made her debut on the eighth season of the Emmy-winning series in 2016, where she placed fourth behind Bob the Drag Queen, Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls. Her infectious personality and formidable lip-sync skills established her as a fan-favourite. She sashayed back into the werkroom two years later for the third season of All Stars and achieved eighth place. RuPaul led the tributes on social media, saying: “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. On behalf of VH1, World of Wonder and the cast and crew of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I extend my deepest sympathy – from our family to hers.” Countless performers from the franchise have also paid their respects, many of which said that Chi Chi was universally loved by “literally everyone in our industry.” In memory of Chi Chi’s impact on fans and the drag industry, we’ve rounded up some of her most sickening Drag Race moments.
Viewers first got a taste of Chi Chi’s extraordinary skills as a performer in the second episode of season eight, Bitch Perfect, which saw two rival squads compete in a drag-appella smackdown. As the leader of Team Shady Bitches, Chi Chi earned her first – and only – maxi-challenge win of the series thanks to her unmatched presence on the main stage. “I mean, really?” RuPaul said of her performance during deliberations. “She was doing her neck ghetto-style, upside down while twerking and not missing a word!”
With just one lip-sync, Chi Chi cemented herself as one of the fiercest lip-sync assassins in HERstory. After failing to impress the judges with her performance in the 80s-inspired New Wave girl-band maxi-challenge, the star faced-off against fellow Dragometry member Naysha Lopez to Blondie’s iconic dance-rock anthem, Call Me – in front of Debbie Harry herself. Chi Chi served flips, kicks, splits and resembled a Mortal Kombat character with a plethora of other tricks, securing one more week in the competition.
Thanks to her viral “sensible 74” comment on All Stars 5, Jujubee is – and probably always be – associated with Eartha Kitt on Drag Race. However, we can’t forget about Chi Chi’s season eight attempt, which was the first time the Tony-nominated star received the Snatch Game treatment. Chi Chi chose to impersonate the star as feline-like as possible, resulting in some hilarious back-and-forths with RuPaul. On All Stars 3, the star said she doesn’t consider herself a comedy queen, but this performance says otherwise.
And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going
Chi Chi proved that her repertoire included more than just death-drops and high-kicks when she embodied the raw emotion and desperation behind the lyrics of And I Am Telling You. Although she suffered a wardrobe malfunction, with her dress raining beads all over the main stage, Chi Chi managed to incorporate it into her performance and in turn, delivered one of the most powerful lip-syncs in Drag Race’s 12-year run. Thorgy Thor gave the soul anthem her best shot, but she didn’t stand a chance. Chi Chi was a powerhouse.
RuPaul Book Ball
She didn’t come equipped with the most expensive gowns, but when Chi Chi sat behind a sewing machine, she turned trash into mothertucking treasure. The star bounced back from her legendary lip-sync against Thorgy Thor when the queens were tasked with designing three outfits for a Book Ball: Baby Drag Realness, That’s My Mama Realness and Book Couture. Kim Chi may have conquered over her fellow competitors, but Chi Chi’s look was so polished that it could’ve gone either way.
Divas Lip Sync Live
Remember when Chi Chi turned it OUT as Patti Labelle and landed in the bottom three? Y’know, one of the biggest injustices in a season filled to the brim with injustices? Bitter? Yeah, we’re bitter. BenDeLaCreme and Shangela won praise from the panel, and rightfully so, but sadly, Chi Chi was unceremoniously overlooked for her performance as the Godmother of Soul, despite spiralling across the main stage in one of All Stars 3’s most energetic and captivating moments.
Wigs on Wigs on Wigs
Chi Chi’s time on the third season of All Stars was cut far too short due to the overabundance of scripted, comedy-centric challenges. Despite this, the performer showcased an immense amount of growth from her original stint when it came to the runway. Case in point: the Roxxxy Andrews-inspired Wigs on Wigs on Wigs extravaganza. Chi Chi served regality as she slowly sashayed down the main stage, allowing viewers – and the judges – to soak in her look from head to toe. It was jaw-dropping.