'RuPaul's Drag Race': Chi Chi DeVayne Talks 'Mya' Angelou, Angry Fans & Drag In the South
On Thursday night (Feb. 15), RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars brought back the fan-favorite game show within a reality show, Snatch Game. Each of the queens picked a celebrity to impersonate, and then tried their best to get RuPaul to laugh. After the game, the queens hit the runway in their best “flower power” looks.
With the Lip Sync For Your Legacy rules in effect, BenDeLaCreme lip-synced for the fourth time in a row, this time against Shangela in her second lip-sync of the season, to Katy Perry’s sensual “I Kissed a Girl.” In a gag-worthy twist, both queens won the lip-sync, each earning the power to send one of the bottom queens home. However, both chose Chi Chi DeVayne to exit the show.
Chi Chi talked to Billboard about her performance as “Mya” Angelou in Snatch Game, dealing with angry Drag Race fans and more.
You seemed very ok with your elimination last night, especially in comparison to how Milk and Thorgy reacted. Why did you feel that way?
I'm feeling great, I'm so relieved [laughs]. I feel like I've been in the army for ten years, and now I'm finally getting relieved from my duty. [laughs] All Stars was hard! It was very hard, and very stressful for me. And at that point in the competition, I knew it was my time to go, so I was dancing! I was skipping about it!
Me once i was finally eliminated -- pic.twitter.com/7pLF8i2rHy— Chi Chi DeVayne (@ChiChiDeVayne) February 16, 2018
Were you ever concerned that if Trixie was eliminated before you, there would be a fan backlash?
It wasn't a big concern of mine. I'm not the one that's keeping me there, you know? But I was talking to them about, "Oh, there would most definitely would be a huge backlash if Ms. Trixie went home." And it probably would've been Shangela's head on a platter, or Ben's head. They [fans] are brutal.
I know you were the fan favorite of your season, but have you ever been on the receiving end of that hate?
Oh yeah, when Thorgy got eliminated in my season. Oh yeah, I got that. When Thorgy got eliminated, it was like ... I was called every name in the book. And I got all kinds of #JusticeForThorgy tweets, and I was like "What was I supposed to do, just sit on stage and look at her?" No, baby! [laughs] Yeah, I didn't ask for that!
Why did you want to do Maya Angelou in Snatch Game?
Well I grew up ... like, I don't read books, you know? [laughs] But I grew up reading about and studying people like Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks. And I had no idea who I was gonna do, I was honestly just trying to keep it as close to the character I did so well with on season 8 Snatch Game. And I thought that Maya Angelou's voice kind of sounded similar to Eartha Kitt's, so I decided that she would be a good pick. But it was a flop. [laughs] I was sitting up there, and I was just like, "Girl. You might as well just put that happy face on, because you in the bottom again." Girl, I knew.
But that's the thing, I think this season you were one of the most self-aware of the queens! How do you stay that grounded in such a stressful competition?
I honestly give credit to my mom and the way I was brought up. Like, I was taught that you're not gonna win them all. You know what I mean? That's the way that I grew up, and although I like to consider myself to be a competitive person, I don't think I have that drive and that ... that ... I don't know what the word is that some of these other girls have. But the way I was brought up was that you can't win them all, so I'm just the easy, go-with-the-flow type person. But that first season I was fighting for my life.
Now, speaking of your mom, you grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana.
How have you seen things change in the drag scene down there since you appeared on Drag Race?
What's changed is now I'm a local celebrity [laughs]. But I think it draws a lot of attention to the clubs. I mean, there's still only like six or seven of us, nobody is rushing to do drag in Shreveport. There's maybe six or seven of us. But I think I've said it before — we are some great drag queens. I realized that not a lot of people out there can perform at a level that we can, because that is what we do down there. We are strictly performers.
Do you have a favorite local queen down in Shreveport?
Nah, I hate all of those girls. [laughs] No, I really admire Sarina Styles. She was the show host in Shreveport, and she has been there ever since I started doing drag. She has always been, like, the prettiest, and she had the most money [laughs]. But I love Sarina, she is talent on top of talent.