Cheslie Kryst remembered by Miss USA and ‘Extra’: ‘She lit up every room she entered’

Cheslie Kryst posing in a gingham blazer.
Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst died Sunday at age 30.
(Andy Kropa / Invision / Associated Press)

Heartfelt tributes from family, friends, fans and colleagues of Cheslie Kryst have poured in since the trailblazing Miss USA pageant winner died Sunday at age 30.

Kryst garnered international fame when she was crowned Miss USA in 2019 and made history as one of three Black contestants to claim the coveted titles of Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe in the same year. Kryst was also known for her work as a New York correspondent for the entertainment news program “Extra.”

Citing police sources, the Associated Press reported that Kryst died by apparent suicide in New York City.


“In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie,” Kryst’s family said in a statement. “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.”

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After winning the Miss USA competition, Kryst joined the “Extra” staff in October 2019. According to her employee biography, Kryst earned a bachelor’s degree from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina, where she was a member of the Division I track and field team. She went on to study business and law at Wake Forest University.

Kryst was also a global impact ambassador for the feminist organization Dress for Success and served on the national board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. In addition to her hosting and humanitarian duties, Kryst founded the fashion blog “White Collar Glam,” spotlighting business attire for women.

“Our hearts are broken,” the “Extra” team said in a statement. “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 “was one of the brightest, warmest, and most kind people we have ever had the privilege of knowing, and she lit up every room she entered,” the Miss USA and Miss Universe organizations said in a joint statement. “Our entire community mourns her loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”


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See how others honored Kryst below.

“Cheslie my friend, I am devastated. I didn’t sleep a wink, caught in between not believing the news and trying to make sense of what is happening. You were supposed to send me photos of the outfit you were going to wear to a wedding this past Saturday and all the details that happened at the event. You took me by surprise Queen. I am not ready for a world you don’t exist in. I hope you are resting easy now love.You meant everything to so many people and you forever will. You made a mark in this World and touched so many lives. We celebrate your life. I love you so, so much my forever friend and forever Miss USA. RIP beautiful.” — Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi

“We are heartbroken to hear about the passing of Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019. Cheslie was an incredible example and a role model for so many. We send our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and all those who knew her.” — the Miss America Organization

“Devastating. So tragic. Cheslie Kryst interviewed us just 2 wks ago. She was so beautiful, charming & engaging. I’m shaken to the core. My heart goes out to her loved ones, coworkers & fans. RIP, Cheslie.” — actor Ming-Na Wen

“This is how I will remember #CheslieKryst.. smart, beautiful and talented.. I wish we had more time …Such a wonderful young woman.. Condolences and prayers to her family.” — comedian Loni Love

“This. Saddens me deeply. Life can be so hard but please don’t give up on it. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255 You are not alone.” — actor Danielle Brooks

“I’m devastated I just found out about My friend @chesliekryst passing I just don’t know what to say what to feel this is crazy.
We were always texting and talking and in constant contact laughing and sharing. Literally I just spoke to her last week. She was a glorious human being and so sweet and caring I just can’t deal with this. She made me so proud to call her my sister and the world proud. A true role model I looked up to HER! God please comfort her family the world has lost a truly special human being. I’m just so devastated.” — Miss USA 1993 Kenya Moore


“Rest in Peace Cheslie Kryst! Praying for your family and loved ones! For those that suffer in silence please know you are not alone.” — actor Viola Davis

“Such incredibly sad news about #CheslieKryst Depression creates deep despair & an overwhelming illusion that there’s no way forward in life Remember: looking good & doing good things doesn’t = feeling/thinking ‘good’ Check on YOU, too National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255.” — activist Bernice A. King

“Dear God hearing the news of Cheslie Kryst’s death is deeply painful. Being a witness to Cheslie’s strength was an unforgettable experience and hearing her share the journey to Miss USA was so special. My prayers are with Cheslie’s family and friends.” — TV host Tamron Hall

If you or someone you know is exhibiting warning signs of suicide, seek help from a professional and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).