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Queer as Folk creator on how late Drag Race star Chi Chi DeVayne inspired reboot

DeVayne's spirit lives on in Queer as Folk's latest iteration, creator Stephen Dunn tells Attitude's July/August Pride issue.

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Starzplay/QAF

The creator of the new Queer as Folk reboot has explained how the late Chi Chi DeVayne inspired the show’s setting and one of its characters.

In the reimagining of Russell T Davies classic 90s TV hit, Manchester is swapped wth New Orleans – owing to Stephen’s friendship with the Louisiana-born Chi Chi.

The RuPaul’s Drag Race star – who became a firm fan favourite during her appearances on season 8 and All Stars 3 – died of pneumonia in 2020 at age 34, after a hospital stay for scleroderma-related kidney failure.

“I was very close with Chi Chi,” Stephen explains in the Attitude July/August Pride issue. “She’s honestly the main reason I set the show there.

“I wrote the role of Bussy for her, now played incredibly by Armand Fields, but there’s so much of Chi Chi’s heart in it. And New Orleans is so resilient.

The cast of Queer as Folk for the Attitude July/August issue

“The community’s resilience is what our show’s about.” 

Chi Chi appeared on eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and on the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.

Elaborating on the show’s creation, Stephen tells us: “I pitched [Russell T Davies] my take, with the humour and joy in the original, about a community that moves on after a tragedy.

“He gave it to me. We sold it that year.”

Queer as Folk will premiere on Peacock on Thursday 9 June in the US and on Starzplay on Friday 1 July in the UK.

The Attitude July/August issue featuring the cast of Queer as Folk is out on 9 June. Preorder here.