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Cheslie Kryst, an Extra correspondent and former Miss USA, has died. She was 30.
Her family confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday. A cause of death was not provided by them, but the New York Police Department confirmed to THR that it was a death by suicide.
Kryst’s body was found at 7:05 a.m. Sunday, on the sidewalk outside the Orion Condominium building, where she was a resident, in Manhattan.
“In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie,” the statement read. “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.”
The family asked for privacy at this time as they reflect on their loss. Kryst won the Miss USA beauty pageant in 2019 as the representative of North Carolina.
In a statement of its own, and obtained by THR, Extra wrote: “Our hearts are broken. 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.”
Kryst had several other TV appearances over the last several years, among them being featured as a panelist on Black Girl Beauty and as a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show and Live With Kelly and Ryan.
Kryst also appeared as Miss USA in Ava DuVernay and Colin Kaepernick’s Colin in Black and White.
Additionally, Kryst had modeled for Express and served as an ambassador for the retail company. She was also on the National Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Kryst held a law degree and an MBA from Wake Forest University and had practiced as an attorney.
In an essay for Allure last year, Kryst reflected on turning 30 and why she’d spent so much time and energy chasing awards and honors, only to be “rewarded with a lonely craving” for the next one. “I was further along in the journey of learning this lesson when I won Miss USA,” wrote Kryst. “My term was not an exercise in the expected; instead, it felt filled with purpose. In fact, from the moment I won, my reign ignited a heightened desire to commit myself to passion, intent and authenticity.”
She went on to write: “Pageant girls are supposed to be model-tall and slender, don bouffant hair, and have a killer walk. 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.”
Abbey White contributed to this report.
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