How the Death of A Former Miss USA Shocked the Nation

On January 30, 2022, former Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst, jumped to her death from the 29th floor of The Orion, a 60 story apartment building in Manhattan, at the age of 30 years old. Up until her death, Kryst seemed to have everything going for her. She had already won Miss USA and competed in Miss Universe, and she had a successful law career and a high-paying job as a correspondent for the popular news show, Extra. Any American put in her shoes would be the happiest person alive, which is why her sudden death left the nation puzzled. However, according to Kryst’s mother, Cheslie had been suffering from “high-functioning depression,” which meant that her symptoms weren’t as obvious to others around her. Kryst’s death represents the consequences of not seeking help to battle mental illness, and hopefully, Americans can learn from this tragedy and be more willing to seek help for themselves or others to prevent this from happening to someone else. Fortunately, Kryst proved in her short life that she could accomplish anything, despite suffering from mental illness.

Cheslie Corrinne Kryst was born on April 28, 1991, in Jackson, Michigan to an African-American mother and a Polish-American father. As a child, her family moved around a lot, but they eventually settled in Fort Mill, South Carolina (a town close to the city of Charlotte). After graduating from Fort Mill High School in 2009, she attended the University of South Carolina, where she graduated in 2013 with a degree in marketing and human resource management. She then attended the Wake Forest University School of Law to pursue a career in law. Her impressive resumé proved to everyone that she was much more than a pretty face.

Her career in pageantry was influenced by her mother, who competed in pageants when Kryst was young. Kryst then began competing in 2 pageants at both of her high schools; she won both. Then she took a hiatus from pageantry until 2016 when she placed 5th at the Miss North Carolina USA pageant. She then competed in the pageant the following 2 years, which she won in 2018. She then got the chance to compete in the Miss USA 2019 pageant, which she also won, making her the oldest winner of the Miss USA pageant. Finally, she competed in the Miss Universe 2019 pageant, where she placed in the top 10. Her Miss USA win was also significant because it meant that all four major U.S. pageants in 2019 were won by women with African ancestry, the first time this has ever been done.

Finally, Kryst spent her post-Miss USA career working as a correspondent for Extra from October 2019 until her death. Her most notable interview is the one with actor Terrence Howard, who announced that he was retiring from acting after the final season of Empire. Kryst was also nominated for two Emmys at the 47th and 48th Daytime Emmy Awards for her work.

All in all, although Kryst’s short life ended in tragedy, it can’t be denied that she managed to accomplish a lot and made a name for herself. Thanks to her achievements, she has managed to inspire thousands of young girls nationwide to be authentically themselves and to not be afraid to break down racial boundaries.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.