Everyone who knew Cheslie Kryst said that she was beautiful. She looked like she had everything: long, curly hair that was her trademark, long legs that looked great in beautiful pantsuits, and a megawatt smile.
Miss North Carolina USA 2017 and Miss USA 2019 recognised her attractiveness. She was a high school track standout, an M.B.A. lawyer, and an Emmy-nominated correspondent for “Extra.
It was just so sad and so shocking. Nate Burleson, a former pro football player who is now a co-host on “CBS Mornings” and who worked with Ms. Kryst, said, “And it’s still sad.
Ms. Kryst committed suicide
After the police said that Ms. Kryst had jumped to her death from the building where she lived in Manhattan, news stories focused on how strange it was for someone so beautiful and successful to kill herself.
But suicide doesn’t just happen to people who have obvious problems, and some people who study the issue say that her death may have been a sign of a troubling rise
suicides among young Black people. In an interview, her mother said that Ms. Cheslie kryst had been depressed for years, even though she was getting better at things.
Angela Massey, a New York mental health counsellor who works with the Black community but did not treat Ms. Cheslie kryst, said that Black women often want to believe “this myth or this narrative of this strong Black woman.
This can be harmful, especially if a person thinks that “other people might see me as weak if I have to ask for help with what I’m going through.
Cheslie Kryst was the second of April and Rodney Kryst’s four kids.
Her mother liked music, and her father was a bodybuilder and athlete. After her parents got a divorce, her mother married David Simpkins, and the two of them had two boys.
All six kids were good friends, and the first four wore gold bracelets that matched to show how close they were. At track meets and soccer games, they would cheer for each other.
When Ms. Cheslie kryst was young, Ms. Simpkins heard on the radio about a beauty contest. The prize for the winner was $10,000 and a car. Ms. Simpkins said, “I decided, ‘You know what? I’m going for it.’”
She won the title of Miss Petite America. Then Mrs. North Carolina spoke, and Ms. Kryst was there to watch.
Best moments in my life:
1. Winning Miss USA. 2. Leading the Gamecock cheer at USC just now ???? omg I’m crying. https://t.co/nJPtipgrho
— Cheslie Kryst (@CheslieKryst) November 3, 2019
Mrs. North Carolina, Ms. Simpkins took Ms.
Cheslie kryst to events where she spoke, which Ms. Kryst liked. “It was like, my mom is a public speaker, but she also gets to wear fancy clothes.
Ms. Kryst did well in school and was good at sports. She was captain of the cheer squad and the track team, and she was co-president of the Beta Club. In her senior year, she entered her first beauty pageant and won the title of Miss Fort Mill High.
She went to Honors College at the University of South Carolina and then did a graduate programme in law and business administration at Wake Forest University.
Even though her mental health was getting worse, Ms. Cheslie kryst tried pageants again while she was in law school because the prizes included scholarship money.
She competed for the title of Miss North Carolina USA in 2017 and 2018. She hoped that the money she won would help pay for her two degrees, so she did this.
During her time in law school
Her mother said that Ms. Kryst tried to kill herself. After that, mom and kid started calling each other more than once a day.
Ms. Simpkins said, “We talked about everything.” We talked about how Ms. Kryst was sleeping and eating, as well as her mental health and state of mind. Ms. Kryst also started to see a therapist. Ms. Simpkins says that Ms. Kryst has a type of depression called “high-functioning depression.”
The term is not a medical diagnosis. For a condition to be considered a mental illness, says Dr. Christin Drake, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine, it must make it hard to work or do other important things. This is what the D.S.M., the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, says.
Dr. Drake said that the term “high-functioning depression” is helpful because it shows “that a person can be in a lot of pain and have a lot of major depression symptoms and it might not be obvious to those around them, even people who are very close to them.”
Ms. Kryst became an attorney who specialised in civil litigation. She also worked for free with the Buried Alive Project, which tries to help people who were wrongly convicted. She helped a man from North Carolina who had been in prison for more than 18 years get his sentence cut through the courts.
Ms. Kryst was acting very much like a professional
Dr. Drake, who did not treat Ms. Kryst but specialises in women’s mental health, said, “It’s important to remember that how someone acts in public or at work doesn’t tell the whole story of how they work.”
Ms. Kryst won the Miss North Carolina USA competition in 2019. She then went on to represent the state at the Miss USA 2019 competition, where she also won. She was 28 years old, making her the oldest woman to win the Miss USA title.
The president of the Miss USA Organization, Crystle Stewart, was there when Ms. Kryst won the pageant. “My first thought about her was that she was strong in both mind and body.”
Ms. Stewart said that many people don’t realise that being Miss USA is a real job with a salary, responsibilities, and duties like making appearances, going to events, and doing a lot of charity work.
“You know, it looks fancy and fun, which it is. There is a job, though. “Some days they work long hours,” Ms. Stewart said. “They are on the road a lot.”
During the time Ms. Kryst was Miss USA, she took a break from the law firm where she worked. Later that year, she got a job as a correspondent on the TV news show “Extra” about entertainment, so she moved to New York.
Ms. Kryst was “truly like a beaming light in every room
He never saw any signs that she was depressed. “There wasn’t one moment I could point to,” he said. “That makes it even more confusing and hard to deal with.” Dr. Drake said that many Black women in the U.S. must “develop highly effective ways to deal with stress” and listed a number of psychological blows, such as “microaggressions, generational trauma, limited opportunities, and being threatened economically, professionally, and all the time.”
Last year, Ms. Kryst wrote an article called “A Pageant Queen Reflects on Turning 30” for the magazine Allure. She wrote that speaking out against wrongdoing “made every morning feel like it was worth it.” She also gave hints of sadness.
“I cringe a little every time I say, ‘I’m turning 30,’” she wrote. “Sometimes I can cover up this uncomfortable feeling with excitement, but other times my excitement feels fake, like I’m not really into it. Society has never been kind to old people, especially women. She continued.
She never made it to her 31st birthday
“Look at how many lives she touched and changed in the short time she was here,” Mr. Burleson said. “Many people watched her on TV or followed her on social media, and she felt like they were her family.
So, she was able to do a lot in a short time, which just shows what kind of person she was.”
Her mother, April Simpkins, said, “I could write a book about all the awards and honours she’s won, but that won’t change the fact that she has a mental illness. This mental illness can’t be fixed by looking at a wall of awards and degrees.
A professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Dr. Katherine Keyes, said that the country has been making it harder for people to get mental health care and access to care, which affects the mental health of Black people.
“That will hurt a lot more the people who already don’t have a lot of power and who don’t trust doctors,” she said.
Dr. Keyes also said that having thoughts of killing yourself is not a disease that people need to have. “And killing yourself is not the answer,” he said. “It’s important to tell someone about it, because it’s something you can get over.”
When asked how he will remember his friend, Mr. Burleson said, “She was an amazing, amazing woman.”
If you are thinking about suicide, you can call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.