Thursday night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (probably) marked the last time Chi Chi DeVayne would sashay down the show’s storied runway, and after a season punctuated by self-doubt and performative flubs, the weary queen finally blossomed with a killer floral ensemble for her swan song lewk. After Mama Ru declared both BenDeLaCreme and Shangela winners of this week’s lip-sync for your legacy, however, both chose to send Chi Chi home.
It was an exit that loomed over the competition since the season’s Jan. 25 premiere (in terms of the judges’ critiques, Chi Chi finished at the bottom of the pack every week), but it hurts nonetheless — for everyone but Chi Chi, that is. Read on for EW’s full interview with the departed queen, in which she discusses being “excited” about leaving the show, how pop star Mya accidentally found her way into Chi Chi’s Snatch Game performance, and what she could have done to save the lukewarm Maya Angelou impersonation that ultimately sent her packing.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m so sorry we’re speaking under these circumstances…. Well, actually, you kinda made it seem like you were excited to be eliminated! Were you excited?
CHI CHI DEVAYNE: Yes! I was so stressed out and it got to a point where I was like, okay, I’m in the bottom every week. It might be time to go home and work a little bit more on my drag. [Laughs] I’m a real person, and I just felt it was my time to go. There was no reason to be sad or bitter.
I can see that, but Miss Chi Chi, you’re not supposed to be excited!
[Laughs]. It was stressful! It felt like I was in the military and I was finally getting out. I was happy.
Well, I respect that attitude, but thankfully Ru didn’t do what Tyra Banks did to that poor girl on America’s Next Top Model who felt the same way.
Yes, ‘We’re all rooting for you!’ [Laughs]
In all seriousness though, when you spoke to Ben before the lip sync and asked her to be fair, were you asking to be eliminated?
Yes. Being there, you can feel the tension. I knew those bitches wanted me gone. I didn’t want them to be like, “girl, why are you here?” I could feel that vibe before we even started to go down that road, and I just wanted out.
Was that more your perception that they wanted you gone or were people actually saying that?
They’d never say it to my face. I don’t know, maybe I have a sixth sense or something. But just in general conversation with a girl, and it’d be like, “Well, girl, I didn’t do the best that I could do.” And they’d be like, “Girl, well, girl,” like, beating around the bush. They didn’t really want to say, “Well, girl, you were horrible.” People loved me because I’m a great person to be friends with, but when it comes down to drag, I didn’t want them to think badly of me.
So, what you’re saying is, it’s all in the reading of the inflection of the word ‘girl.’ You have to know when ‘girl’ means ‘girl, bye.’
Other contestants in the past — like Alexis Michelle — have actually gotten so much hate online because fans thought they overstayed their welcome on the show. Were you also asking to be eliminated to avoid that as well?
That played into it a little bit. I just didn’t want to make a fool of myself anymore. I didn’t want to be in the bottom every week. It was like, yeah, girl, just send me home. The fans do play a big role in it. Fans are crazy, so I try not to pay attention to most of the negativity that they bring up.
This fan base in particular is kind of insane when it comes to cutting girls down. Milk was getting hate after the first All Stars 3 episode and posted the video asking fans to be nice, remember? Have you dealt with a lot of negativity online since the show began?
Of course. The whole ChiKenGela [alliance] thing, I’ve always gotten a little bit of backlash. This time it was a little bit more intense because I didn’t do so well. They’re like, “You should just f—ing go home, your drag is horrible!” But it’s okay. I’m in the groove now and it doesn’t bother me anymore.
I do also want to talk to you about Snatch Game — I mean, spelling Maya Angelou’s name wrong? At first I was like, oh, honey… but then I started thinking you did it on purpose to create this clueless version of her, especially after you said you didn’t know why the caged bird sings.
I really didn’t know that I misspelled her name. [Laughs] I didn’t know there was an extra ‘a’ in Maya Angelou! I spelled it like ‘Mya’ the singer. Once I figured out that I was sucking so bad, I just tried to play the dumbest Maya possible since they already clocked me for spelling my name wrong and not knowing why the caged bird sings…. But, I should have been Mayeisha Angelou, Maya Angelou’s dumb cousin who wants to be just as smart as her cousin. There’s so much I could have done. You always think of stuff after the fact.
Well, I’m happy you fell into the character after that, it was a smart move, and I definitely don’t think you did the worst! But hey, at least Mya the long-lost singer got a shout-out from all of this.
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on VH1.