Throughout the eighth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Huffington Post Queer Voices will interview each departing queen on the Tuesday following the air date of their elimination episode. Check HuffPost Queer Voices weekly to hear these queens reflect on their time on the show and their legacy as queer artists and performers. Check out the previous interviews with Dax Exclamationpoint, Laila McQueen, Naysha Lopez, Cynthia Lee Fontain, Acid Betty, Robbie Turner, Thorgy Thor and Derrick Barry.
Well, we're finally at that point -- we have the top three contestants for the eighth season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" -- Bob the Drag Queen, Naomi Smalls and Kim Chi.
Unfortunately, fan favorite Chi Chi DeVayne -- arguably the best performer out of this season's crop of girls -- didn't make the cut.
Chi Chi was the dark-horse this season, walking through the doors in the first episode in a dress literally made out of garbage bags. Many viewers didn't peg her as a front runner but, as the weeks progressed, she slowly won over the hearts of "Drag Race" fans around the world.
A likely candidate for Miss Congeniality, Chi Chi more than made her mark on this season of "Drag Race." In this exit interview with The Huffington Post, the drag performer reflects on her time on the show, how the "Drag Race" experience affects queens from smaller towns and what she hopes the future will bring.
The Huffington Post: Hey Chi Chi! What a ride you had this season. A lot of people were surprised -- and some even angry -- that you didn’t make it into the top three. Were you surprised? How did you feel about how it all went down?
Chi Chi DeVayne: No, I wasn’t surprised because throughout the competition the other girls were consistent and nobody expected me to actually be or get as far as I did -- not even me. But I look at it as a game. I had to play the game how it goes and those girls were good and they were consistent throughout the competition.
Once the end came and they lined up all of the pictures from throughout the whole thing, I knew that it was going to to be evident. And me turning into a fan favorite, that was a shocker [laughs]. So I knew the fans were going to be upset. But I felt it -- I knew that I was going to be around fourth in the competition. It wasn’t really a big surprise to me, even though I wanted it badly.
You had one of the most pronounced narrative of anyone this season -- something along the lines of discovering yourself and finding out that you had what it took all along. Do you feel like the narrative the show gave you was an accurate representation of your experience?
Most definitely -- I feel like there wasn’t much editing [laughs]. I think I was represented very, very well and was happy with the turnout -- with everything. It really was like that. There wasn’t much editing going on -- everyone was portrayed fairly accurately. I was pleased.
"Drag Race" can change the lives of those who are lucky enough to be chosen to compete. Do you think this show is important for queens like yourself who may not have grown their careers in bigger cities?
Oh most definitely. It’s a wonderful platform and I encourage any queen, whether you’re established and have been doing it for 50 years... I encourage anybody to try out because it is life-changing and we all want a little bit of fame [laughs]. So why not? Go for it.
How would you say "Drag Race" has changed drag?
It opened eyes to so many genres of drag and it’s making people accept that there’s not only one style. I think people are becoming more receptive to the alternative styles of drag. It’s just showing people that it doesn’t matter -- drag is drag and your talent is what’s going to carry you through.
Who do you feel like you connected most with on the show? Is there anybody that you feel like you’re taking away as a friend from this experience?
Well, it’s hard for me to call anybody my “friend” because when I say "friend," like, I’m from the South and friends have grown up with you, went to school with you, stuff like that. But towards the end, the top four -- me, Naomi, Bob and Kim Chi -- we are the closest out of the whole bunch. And then there’s Cynthia [Lee Fontain] -- Cynthia is everybody’s favorite [laughs]. We all have a good relationship. That’s the thing about our season: there isn’t really any hard beef with each other and we all keep in touch.
What do you want the legacy of Chi Chi Devayne to be? What do you see the future holding for you?
I want the legacy of Chi Chi Devayne to be a damn good performer that came from nowhere and took the world by storm. I want to be one of the household names – I want to be one of the “RuPauls.” I want to do music, film, acting -- all of that kind of stuff.
Want to catch up with the previous winners of “Drag Race”? Head here and check out the slideshow below for interviews with the previously eliminated season eight queens.