The family of Cheslie Kryst have confirmed that the Extra correspondent and former Miss USA has died. She was 30 years old.
“In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie,” Kryst’s family said in a statement shared by Extra.
“Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined. Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as a host on Extra. But most importantly, as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor and colleague — we know her impact will live on.”
Extra posted its own tribute to Kryst, who had served as a correspondent since 2019, earning two Daytime Emmy nominations.
“Our hearts are broken,” a statement posted to the entertainment show’s Instagram account read. “Cheslie was not just a vital part of our show, she was a beloved part of our Extra family and touched the entire staff. Our deepest condolences to all her family and friends.”
A portrait of Kryst, a former Miss North Carolina who was crowned Miss USA 2019 and went on to compete in that year’s Miss Universe pageant, was also posted to her Instagram page on Sunday.
“May this day bring you rest and peace,” the caption read.
Today reports that Kryst’s death was announced after police say a 30-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene outside a Midtown Manhattan address found. While an investigation is ongoing, police told the news outlet that her death is “believed to be a suicide” and “indicative of a jump from an elevated position.”
A graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law, Kryst’s Miss USA reign was a historic one, with Miss America Nia Franklin, Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris and Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi also being Black women. Ahead of the 2020 pageant, she spoke to Yahoo Life about the significance of the pageant world “highlighting Black voices.”
“Pageantry’s role in society is to represent where we are and to continue pushing forward so that we have progress,” she told Yahoo Life.
“I gained a greater comfort for being more and more candid as time went on, especially because I think there are probably many pageant contestants who believed that they weren’t allowed to step into some issues that were polarizing or highly politicized,” the attorney shared of her own experience as Miss USA. “It’s like you have your onstage question where they asked you questions about the election, the last few questions about gun violence, last few questions about millennials. And then you get into your reign and then you’re afraid to talk about those same issues. And I think as I got more comfortable in my role as Miss USA, I started realizing that it actually was important to continue talking about those important issues and continue advocating in ways that were most helpful to those platforms.”
She also addressed her future post-pageant plans.
“I’ve loved my experience with Miss Universe,” she said. “I hope to continue in the entertainment industry because it is another industry that needs change, and that has changed, but you know, obviously isn’t perfect. And so I’m glad to be a part of that and hopeful that we’ll see more and more progress going forward.”
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.