I have so many photos of Drag Queens in person with them and for them = I must admit that my own personal attempts to be in drag are pathetic but I love Drag Race - I have been to LA RuPaul's DragCon every year except for 2022 and that was because we were finally getting a chance to have our Graduation from CGU and I was getting my MFA in art finally
30 years after I started down that path in 1992 ( but that's a story for another time.) It's also why I had to miss DragCon LA
There are so many stories I have of
Drag queens who have added joy to my life and revitalized the joy in my life.
they have opened my heart and shown me why own dignity by seeing a little of them in me and whole lot of myself in them. This is a photo taken 2017 with probably one of my favorite Drag Queens Chi chi DeVayne in 2016. Chi Chi was a very talented young man who was from
Shreveport, Louisiana and he brought so much joy into my families life. I had been watching since the 5th Season when Jinkx Monsoon rocked the girls with letting The water roll right off her Duckie back ( but I digress). I would hunt down and subscribe to Logo TV to see it and wasn't until season 9 that it made it's way to VH1, Anyway Chi chi was on season 8 and placed 4th - she had the sweetest personality and was beloved with her thick southern drawl and Drag on a Dime.
But the real reason I love ChiChi is because she got my partner, Bill to watch Drag Race.
He has always been fine with my love of Drag Queens but didn't quite understand it and then one day in walked Chichi - her opening phrase caught his attention " I say bon tan rule"
sorry that was actually "Laissez les bon temps rouler"pardon my French it is near non- existent. Bill was walking into the other room and he said "Hold on now that has to be a Creole Queen" "Why what does that mean? " "Well it's Cajun French and means let the party begin" and he stepped back in. "Oh yea" I said , "Honey, this Queen is from Shreveport." "What?" He said, as he sat back down. "Yea" I said as I was amazed that he was actually watching my show. He watched it almost all the way that episode and came back to watch it again the following week. "Boy, that girl I mean guy can really dance." As Chi chi performed week after week in the challenges and talked on about how poor he was raised and would talk from time to time out of drag , Bill said " you know when I was back in Shreveport teaching at Fair Park." "Oh yea?" "Yeah, there were these kids and they would eat lunch in my classroom everyday and well this one girl, she had this older brother and he would eat in my classroom too and I helped her quite a bit in science and I knew the whole family, the Mom, well heck this was a long time ago but I think she was even my Facebook friend." So we got out our phones and looked up ChiChi, " Yea his name was Zavion or something unusual like that oh man he was a star. He was the drum major and or cheer leader he would do this flips and acrobatics and he could sing too." I looked up RuPaul and
didn't see his real name. He looked closer at the screen and studied it "well his hair wasn't that color and it has been several years but I think that might be him."
Well sure enough we checked Facebook and did a little deeper search on the internet and it was his former student or
at least the brother of his former student.
Bill told me about how nice his Mom was and that she baked his something and was so grateful for anything extra. I was
so excited - Ru Paul would always say "
Drag Race Bringing families back together" and it had in my life bringing
my daughter Heather back into my life after 20 years ( another long story for another time). But here it had brought this
young man and his family back into
the heart and recollection of a High School Teacher some 12 years after and got him to understand - ok well at least take interest in my show and bring us together but the story
doesn't stop there. As you will notice this is a photo of me and Ms. DeVayne and I didn't
run down to the studio and find him oh no. These photos were taken at the LA convention
Center for DragCon and that is where we caught up with dear ChiChi. He was signing autographs and we came up just as he was about to take a break. There was a crowd that started gathering on and I handed him my book to sign and stared talking. "Chi Chi we love
watching you on "Drag Race" and we want
to thank you for you have taught my boyfriend
to appreciate Drag. " "Really, Well that's awful
sweet of you to say." "No I mean it he's from Shreveport and he use to teach at
Park View High School." " I went to Park View." " I know he says you use to eat lunch in his class" " What?" "Yea his name is Bill GALLIEN and he's on my phone say hi" "Oh my God Mr. Gallien, Really". He took the phone and sorry fans this was a reunion here they talked for a few minutes and Thank God, Kennedy Davenport was right there cause the line ran over to talk to her. And they spoke for a couple of minutes on the phone while me and Heather just smiled. Afterwards we asked if we could get some pictures with him. He was such a nice kid. He said his sister was coming in tomorrow ,if we could get Mr. Gallien to come in tomorrow maybe they could get lunch. I knew Bill would have liked that but I explained we lived 100 miles away and he wouldn't be able to. This is where Chichi is showing me how I need to purse my lips to help suck in my check to make me look thinner and more dramatic and -well let's just say this is also the photo where Chi Chi and my daughter at are
laughing at me. And this is after I yell "Nailed it!" after the last photo and we're all laughing together.
We had the best time and I really wish we could have hung out more and that Bill could have joined us but Heather and I were so delighted with our time with ChiChi and excited to tell others we met all about him and Bill and his nice family.
We went on to watch him win 4th place "on a dime" and go on to be the first to say when leaving that the education that he had received on Drag Race was worth more than $100,000. prize money. Bill was ticked and said man he shouldn't have gone home and would rant about how unfair it was and how it took so much more creativity to do this competition than those with all sorts of money to spend. All of us were so happy to find out that ChiChi made it onto All-Stars
3 of Drag Race but sad to see that Zavion only made it to the 4th episode before he got kicked off. We hoped to see him again the next year at Drag Con but the lines were so long get his autograph and we knew he was there to WERK it. A couple years later in 2020
We couldn't believe it when we found out he died like all of the Drag/ LGBTIA community .It was so sad to see a brilliant young man like that taken so early but the odd thing was he died of the same disease that my mother had a very under researched illness scleroderma.
Only my Mom had suffered with it for years and he died just 2 years after his diagnosis because it attacked his internal organs and caused kidney failure. Aug 16, 2020
"In response to her death, 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. On behalf of the VH1, World of Wonder and the cast and crew of RuPaul's Drag Race, I extend my deepest sympathy - from our family to hers." from RuPaul's Drag Race Wiki.