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In Memory Of Chi Chi DeVayne: The Legacy Of The Southern Drag Queen

Among the RuPaul's Drag Race alumni, many brought messages of hope, perseverance and left a powerful legacy to the new generations of drag to come. Chi Chi DeVayne was no different. As she walked across a werk room full of girls in expensive gowns wearing a trash bag dress she made herself, we all could imagine the symbol of strength and power ChiChi was meant to be.

ChiChi’s path to Drag Race

Born and raised in the small town Shreveport, in southern U.S. state Louisiana, Chi Chi, artistic name of Zavion Davenport, was already different from lots of New York City and Chicago queens who competed against her in RuPaul's Drag Race Season 8. Even so, she was able to go all the way to the Top 4 contestants thanks to her amazing performance, charisma and unique southern personality. 

Prior to Zavion's participation on the eighth season of Drag Race, he struggled a lot financially, as he had 3 different jobs. During Season 8, the artist talked a lot about how he adapted his drag to his struggles. He also claimed that he witnessed a lot of heavy and dark things in his past, as he was involved in criminal activity at a young age. Most of the outfits he brought to wear during his run on the show were either borrowed or made by himself. Also, he said that makeup and props were as cheap and resourceful as he could pay for. He always found a way to show his passion for drag no matter how hard it could be. 

From the show's very start, Chi Chi often talked about how badly she wanted to win it and go all the way to the end. And her drive came through in all of her performances and made us all fall in love with her. Her "And I Am Not Telling You" lip sync, against fellow queen Thorgy Thor, is often listed as one of the most iconic lip syncs in the history of the show. Also, many fans claim she should have been able to go to the show's finale, and that her elimination was unfair. Nonetheless, she was still able to have a very successful run on the show, and after that, Chi Chi skyrocketed to fame. 

Not long after her season, she was casted into RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 3, in which she placed 8th. On All Stars, we were able to see a completely different side of her, in which she showed a lot of what she could do with even more. In interviews outside of the show, she often declared how the show completely turned her life around and showed her gratitude for participating on the show. 

Rest In Power

Unfortunately, in 2018, Zavion was diagnosed with scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease caused by the immune system attacking the tissue under the skin. In July 2020 he had a kidney failure due to his condition and, by August, he was hospitalized again with pneumonia, and passed away on August 20th, at age 34.

During her life, Chi Chi was a true inspiration for her friends, fans and RuPaul's Drag Race audience. She showed us that having passion for what you do is what takes you forward. She will be remembered as a symbol of perseverance and overcoming adversities. She expressed her gratitude and never stopped reaching for higher. Thank you for making us fall in love with you, Chi Chi. Rest in power. 


The article above was edited by Karen Oliveira

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Malu Jansen

Casper Libero '23

Journalist student, foodie and passionate about brazilian culture
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