Cheslie Kryst Biography (Miss Universe USA 2019): A Legacy of Beauty, Brains, and Benevolence

Introduction of Cheslie Kryst Biography

In the world of beauty pageants, television, and law, Cheslie Kryst emerged as a shining star whose brilliance extended far beyond her titles and accomplishments. Born on April 28, 1991, in Jackson, Michigan, Cheslie Corrinne Kryst was an American television correspondent, model, and beauty pageant titleholder. Her life was tragically cut short on January 30, 2022, at the age of 30, leaving behind a legacy of beauty, brains, and benevolence. Let’s learn more about Cheslie Kryst biography.

Early Life and Education

Cheslie Kryst’s journey began in Jackson, Michigan, where she was born to an African-American mother, April Simpkins, and a Polish-American father. With four brothers and a sister, Cheslie’s childhood was marked by a familial connection to pageantry—her mother, Mrs. North Carolina US, inspired her early fascination with beauty competitions.

The family later moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, and settled in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where Cheslie attended Northwestern High School. Her academic and athletic prowess shone through as she won the titles of Miss Freshman and Miss Fort Mill High School. After graduating in 2009, the family moved to Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Cheslie then pursued higher education at the University of South Carolina’s Honors College, graduating cum laude in 2013 with a degree in marketing and human resource management. She continued her academic journey at Wake Forest University School of Law, earning a Juris Doctor and a Master of Business Administration in 2017.

Cheslie Kryst’s commitment to justice and advocacy was evident throughout her legal career. Licensed to practice law in both North Carolina and South Carolina, she joined Poyner Spruill LLP, specializing in civil litigation. Her dedication extended to pro bono work, representing low-level drug offenders and collaborating with Brittany K. Barnett of the Buried Alive Project to secure the release of a client sentenced to life imprisonment.

Notably, Cheslie was the founder of the fashion blog “White Collar Glam,” dedicated to empowering women to dress professionally in white-collar jobs.

Pageantry Triumphs

While Cheslie Kryst’s legal career flourished, she never lost touch with her passion for pageantry. Her journey began in high school, winning local titles, but she took a hiatus before returning to compete for the Miss North Carolina title within the Miss America Organization.

Cheslie’s perseverance paid off when she secured the Miss North Carolina USA 2019 title on her first attempt, earning the right to represent North Carolina at the Miss USA 2019 pageant. Her crowning achievement on May 2, 2019, marked her as the third woman from North Carolina to win the Miss USA title.

Miss USA 2019 and Beyond

As Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst made history by being part of the first trio of black women to simultaneously hold the titles of Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss America. Her eloquence and advocacy skills were on display at the Miss Universe 2019 pageant, where she advanced to the top 10.

Beyond the crown, Cheslie utilized her platform to address crucial issues. Her response to a question about the Me Too and Time’s Up movements showcased her commitment to fostering safe and inclusive workplaces.

Miss Universe 2019

As Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst represented the United States at the Miss Universe 2019 pageant, held on December 8, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia. She advanced to the top 10, but failed to make the top 5. She was the first Miss USA since 2010 to not place in the top 5 at Miss Universe.

She used her crown as a microphone to amplify her voice and advocacies. She spoke out on issues such as racial justice, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental sustainability. She also volunteered for various charities and community events, such as Habitat for Humanity, the USO, and Best Buddies.

Media Career and Daytime Emmy Nominations

Transitioning from pageantry to media, Cheslie Kryst joined the TV show Extra as a correspondent in October 2019. Her interviews with celebrities and coverage of events earned her nominations for two Daytime Emmy Awards in 2020 and 2021. She also hosted the Miss USA 2020 and Miss Teen USA 2020 pageants and served as a backstage correspondent for the Miss Universe 2020 pageant.

Cheslie Kryst had a passion for law and justice since she was a child. She graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing. She then earned her Juris Doctor degree from Wake Forest University School of Law and her Master of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest University School of Business.

She was admitted to practice law in North Carolina and South Carolina, and worked as a civil litigation attorney at Poyner Spruill LLP in Charlotte. She specialized in complex civil litigation, including cases involving wrongful convictions, excessive force, and prisoners’ rights. She also served as a pro bono attorney for clients who could not afford legal representation.

One of her most notable cases was that of Edward Watson, who spent 25 years in prison on weapons and crack trafficking charges. Cheslie teamed up with her stepdad, David Simpkins, and the lawyer MiAngel Cody to help reduce his prison sentence. Watson was released in 2020 and reunited with his family.

Cheslie also advocated for criminal justice and social justice reform on a national level. She was a correspondent for the entertainment news show Extra, where she interviewed celebrities, politicians, and activists. She also created White Collar Glam, a blog and YouTube channel that provided fashion and lifestyle tips for professional women.

Philanthropy and Mental Health Advocacy

Cheslie Kryst’s philanthropic efforts extended to various causes. She served as an ambassador for Dress for Success, supporting women’s economic advancement by providing professional attire. Her advocacy for mental health led to the creation of the Cheslie C. Kryst Memorial Fund for Mental Health by NAMI on the first anniversary of her passing.

A Heart for Philanthropy and Service

Cheslie Kryst was not only a successful lawyer and journalist, but also a generous philanthropist and a dedicated servant. She used her platform and influence to support various causes and organizations that aligned with her values and vision.

She was an ambassador for Dress for Success, a non-profit that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing them with professional attire and development tools. She donated her clothes and accessories to the organization and mentored women who were seeking employment or career advancement.

She was also a supporter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. She participated in NAMIWalks, an annual event that raises awareness and funds for mental health services and advocacy. She also shared her personal struggles with depression and anxiety, and encouraged others to seek help and support.

In honor of her life and legacy, NAMI announced the new Cheslie C. Kryst Memorial Fund for Mental Health on February 30, 2023, the first anniversary of her passing. The fund will provide help and hope to others experiencing mental health challenges, especially those who suffer from high-functioning depression, a condition that Cheslie faced.

Legacy and Impact

Cheslie Kryst’s sudden and tragic death on January 30, 2022, shocked the world. The police ruled her death as a suicide, leaving behind unanswered questions about the motive. However, her life, marked by achievements, advocacy, and compassion, left an indelible mark on those who knew and admired her.

Cheslie Kryst’s legacy extends beyond her titles and accomplishments. She was not merely a beauty queen, TV correspondent, or attorney; she was a compassionate advocate for justice, mental health awareness, and women’s empowerment. Her impact resonates in the lives she touched, the causes she championed, and the lessons she imparted.

Death and Legacy

On January 30, 2022, Cheslie Kryst died after falling from the 29th floor of the building where she lived in Midtown Manhattan, New York. She was 30 years old. The police ruled her death as a suicide, but the motive remains unknown. Her death shocked and saddened many people who knew and admired her, including her family, friends, colleagues, and fans. She was remembered as a beautiful, intelligent, kind, and compassionate person who had a bright future ahead of her.

Cheslie Kryst left behind a legacy of beauty, brains, and benevolence. She was a role model for many young women, especially women of color, who aspire to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world. She was also a champion for social justice, using her platform to raise awareness and advocate for various causes, such as criminal justice reform, women’s empowerment, and mental health. She was a woman of substance, style, and grace, who touched many lives with her smile, charisma, and generosity.


In celebrating the life of Cheslie Kryst, we honor a woman of remarkable talents, intelligence, and grace. Her journey—from a small town in South Carolina to the national and international stage—was one of triumph, resilience, and advocacy. Cheslie Kryst will be remembered as a trailblazer, a leader, and a star whose light continues to inspire and guide those who strive to make a positive difference in the world. Though she left us too soon, her legacy remains, urging us to embrace our authenticity, pursue our passions, and advocate for justice and compassion in our communities and beyond.

Read about “Catriona Gray (Miss Universe 2018): The Beauty Queen with a Heart of Gold

Leave a comment