Chances are, by now, you know who Cheslie Kryst is and that she recently took her own life. Like most of us you’re probably standing around scratching your head and asking yourself, why?

Kryst was a successful attorney, a former Miss North Carolina, a former Miss USA and a 2019 top-ten contender for the title of Miss Universe. As of late, she had made regular appearances as an entertainment news correspondent for the program Extra.

She was a staunch believer in human equality and a tireless advocate for women in need. She was even the subject of a profile in QNotes in January ’21.

With so much seemingly in her favor, why would someone who appeared to be the epitome of success and living life to its fullest, end her own in such a violent manner?

According to multiple media reports it is believed she jumped from the 29th floor balcony of a 60-story building in New York City where she lived.

In additional media reports, she had recently mentioned she was disillusioned about turning 30, and felt as though she was aging out of a business that placed a premium on youth. According to Kryst, she believed that left her invisible and without a meaningful voice to impact society.

In a 2019 interview with our media partner The Charlotte Observer, she talked at length about the current direction of her career.

“It’s been so much fun. Our director of PR brought to my attention that there was an opportunity open for us to work with Extra…so far I’ve gotten to do a ton of interviews with Zendaya, Lizzo, Millie Bobby Brown, a lot of red carpets for “Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Downton Abbey,” “Empire” and a bunch of CBS shows. All of those experiences have been new and exciting and challenging and scary all at once. I really like the challenge of it.”

Later in the interview she was asked if she expected to eventually return to Charlotte. This was her response:

“Probably not immediately, no. I’ve been given so much correspondent work with Extra that the only thing that slows that down is my travel with Miss USA. Being here (in New York), I would have more work with them and have a great presence here in New York. I love New York. It’s incredible. I love my hometown, Charlotte. I love being home, but New York is a different feel, a different environment. It’s very fast paced, and I like that right now. I don’t know if I would stay here for forever, but for the immediate future, I’ll stay in New York.”

Just two years later, in the January 2021 story published by QNotes, she seemed to confirm that she had made the decision to return to Charlotte when she accepted a position with the North Carolina-based law firm Poyner Spruill.

“I am honored to return to the firm where I previously served as a member of the litigation team,” said Kryst, who was a member of the 90-attorney firm’s litigation team before being crowned Miss USA. 

“This role will allow me to provide guidance on diversity and inclusion, using my previous experience serving as a member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, my studies earning an undergraduate degree with a focus in human resources and my Master of Business Administration degree, and my various experiences speaking nationwide about diversity, equity, and inclusion.”  

It would appear Kryst wanted a change in her life – one that no longer included New York City and the entertainment business.

Two months later, in March 2021, she wrote in a particularly telling essay for Allure these words: “I discovered that the world’s most important question, especially when asked repeatedly and answered frankly, is: why? 

“Why work so hard to capture the dreams I’ve been taught by society to want when I continue to only find emptiness?”

Clearly Kryst was unhappy. Based on the outcome and her written words, she was likely suffering from intense depression.

Back to the question we started out with and Kryst also wrote herself: why?

Why did she not seek help and why did no one recognize the battle she was fighting and ultimately lost?

David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...

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