“Extra” correspondent and former Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst, passes away at 30. Kryst was found dead this past Sunday in New York. She died from a fall from a high-rise building in west Manhattan. It was later confirmed that the former beauty queen died from suicide. “Extra” released a statement from her family that stated Cheslie “embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA, and as a host.”
Sadly, hours before her death, Kryst posted a photo on her Instagram profile captioned, “May this day bring you rest and peace.”
The Life of Cheslie Kryst
Cheslie Kryst was born on April 28th, 1991, in Jackson, Michigan. Her family later moved to Charlotte, NC, when she was a toddler. Kryst graduated from the University of South Carolina with a business degree and earned her M.B.A and a law degree from Wake Forest University. Kryst later joined Poyner Spruill, a law firm based in NC. She was a “passionate advocate both in and out of the courtroom.”
Although Kryst worked as a lawyer, she was a true pageant girl at heart. In 2002, her mother, April Simpkins, won Mrs. North Carolina. “My mom was the second Black Mrs. North Carolina, so I knew no matter what, I was going to compete,” Kryst told The New York Times in 2020. She started her pageant career as a teenager and won Miss Northwestern pageant in high school. In 2019, she won Miss North Carolina and later went on to win Miss USA. Kryst represented the U.S. at the 2019 Miss Universe Competition, finishing in the top 10.
In addition to juggling her career, pageants, and running a blog, Kryst made mental health a priority. She admitted in 2019 to regularly speaking with a counselor. “When I’m not talking to my counselor, I take time at the end of every single day to just decompress,” she said. “I unplug. I shut my phone off. I don’t answer messages. I just sit and watch my favorite movie.” Furthermore, she constantly spoke about diversity in the pageant world. Kryst intentionally wore her natural hair during the Miss USA pageant. “Winning with my natural hair was really important to me because I thought, this is the way that my hair grows out of my head,” she said. “I should be OK to wear my hair like this.”
April Simpkins Speak Out About Her Daughter’s Depression
Her mother recently spoke out about the loss of her daughter and Chelsie’s battle with depression. Simpkins says, “never known a pain as deep as this. I am forever changed.” Her mother told “Extra” that “Cheslie led both a public and a private life. In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone — including me, her closest confidant — until very shortly before her death.”