“How do I shake society’s unwavering norms when I’m facing the relentless tick of time?”
Cheslie Kryst, the 30-year-old former Miss USA who died Sunday morning, previously penned an emotional essay about ageism and online trolls. As previously reported Cheslie died by suspected suicide after she jumped from the 60-story Orion building at 350 W. 42nd St. around 7:15 a.m. and was found dead in the street below.
NYPD Detective Martin Brown confirmed to CNN that the NYPD will look into the circumstances surrounding Kryst’s death, but declined to give more details. It is standard for police to investigate deaths by suicide, Brown noted.
Now as friends and family mourn Kryst, people are seeking answers about any possible mental health struggles the beauty queen faced.
Publicly, she never shared any particular struggles with mental health and said she “spoke with a counselor” and would “decompress” by turning off her phone, but in March 2021 she penned an essay for Allure titled “A Pageant Queen Reflects on Turning 30.”
Inside the essay, Krystl openly dished on difficulties she faced since winning Miss USA at age 28 making her the oldest woman in history to win the title, “a designation even the sparkling $200,000 pearl and diamond Mikimoto crown could barely brighten for some diehard pageant fans who immediately began to petition for the age limit to be lowered,” wrote Kryst.
She then lambasted society for perpetuating ageism. “Growing old is a treasure,” wrote Kryst.
“A grinning, crinkly-eyed glance at my achievements thus far makes me giddy about laying the groundwork for more, but turning 30 feels like a cold reminder that I’m running out of time to matter in society’s eyes — and it’s infuriating.
After a year like 2020, you would think we’d learned that growing old is a treasure and maturity is a gift not everyone gets to enjoy. Far too many of us allow ourselves to be measured by a standard that some sternly refuse to challenge and others simply acquiesce to because fitting in and going with the flow is easier than rowing against the current. I fought this fight before and it’s the battle I’m currently fighting with 30.”
Elsewhere in the essay she also spoke on online trolls who body-shamed her and sent her disparaging emojis.
“Pageant girls are supposed to be model-tall and slender, don bouffant hair, and have a killer walk,” wrote Kryst. But my five-foot-six frame won with six-pack abs, earned after years of competing in Division I Track and Field, and a head of natural curls in a time when generations of Black women have been taught that being “too Black” would cost them wins in the boardroom and on pageant stages. My challenge of the status quo certainly caught the attention of the trolls, and I can’t tell you how many times I have deleted comments on my social media pages that had vomit emojis and insults telling me I wasn’t pretty enough to be Miss USA or that my muscular build was actually a “man body.”
And that was just my looks. My opinions, on the other hand, were enough to make a traditional pageant fan clutch their pearls,” she added.
You can read her March 2021 words for yourself HERE.
Kryst is being remembered by several people including her fellow Extra! correspondent Billy Bush who dubbed her “positive, hardworking, fun and of course beautiful,” Bush, 50, wrote.
“Always dancing in between takes. This is a complete shock to all. We are left with great sadness because the best was definitely yet to come for this special person,” he added in the grief-stricken note.
Several members of the pageant world including Cheslie’s friend/Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi are also expressing their sadness.
“Cheslie my friend, I am devastated,” wrote Tunzi. “I didn’t sleep a wink, caught in between not believing the news and trying to make sense of what is happening. You were supposed to send me photos of the outfit you were going to wear to a wedding this past Saturday and all the details that happened at the event. You took me by surprise Queen. I am not ready for a world you don’t exist in.”
So sad, R.I.P. Cheslie Kryst.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information and local resources.