Cheslie Kryst mourned by ‘Extra’ co-host Rachel Lindsay: ‘I can’t believe she’s gone’

A split image of Rachel Lindsay wearing a red sweater, left, and Cheslie Kryst wearing a gold dress
Rachel Lindsay, left, recently paid tribute to her late “Extra” co-host Cheslie Kryst.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

Rachel Lindsay paid emotional tribute Monday to her friend and “Extra” co-host Cheslie Kryst, who died Sunday at age 30.

During the entertainment program’s memorial segment for Kryst, the “Bachelorette” star fought back tears while remembering the Miss USA pageant winner. Kryst joined “Extra” in 2019 after she and two other Black contestants made history that year in a sweep of top prizes at the three largest beauty pageants: Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe.

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

“The word that I feel the most is very unsettled,” Lindsay told “Extra” co-host Billy Bush. “As I got to know her — outside of what you see — I couldn’t get over how she was always there for you. And then it just makes you think, were you there enough for her?”


Tamron Hall, Viola Davis and Danielle Brooks are among those mourning Cheslie Kryst, the former Miss USA and “Extra” correspondent, who died Sunday.

Lindsay and Kryst became “Extra” correspondents around the same time after practicing law and entering the entertainment scene. Like her late colleague, Lindsay made significant strides for representation as the first Black lead of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” before launching a broadcast career.

“She was inspiring to me,” Lindsay continued. “We talked about different struggles, talked about being the strong Black woman, and ... I think about that. Like, should I have pushed? Should I have just asked her a little bit more when it came to that? The sky was the limit for her, and I can’t believe she’s gone.”

Lindsay was among several of Kryst’s friends and co-workers who contributed their memories and thoughts to Monday’s telecast, billed as a reminder to “check on your strong friends.” CBS News anchor Gayle King, who served as a mentor to Kryst, praised her “smart,” “sparkly” and “very kind” spirit.

‘It was an honor just to be able to represent my community,’ said Kataluna Enriquez, the first openly transgender woman to vie for the Miss USA crown.

“She was not just a pretty girl with a microphone,” King said. “We would talk about the business. We would talk about dating. We would talk about work.”

When asked what has been the hardest part to process about Kryst’s death, King said, “The reason why we didn’t pick up on the signs is because there were no friggin’ signs. ... And it hurts. It hurts a lot.”

As a fellow New York correspondent for “Extra,” Nate Burleson worked closely with Kryst and said he loved her “like a sister.” Burleson said Kryst’s death “floored him” because she was “sunshine personified.”

“She was always bright and bubbly, huge smile on her face,” Burleson said. “I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t.”

“Maybe the weight was a little too heavy for her,” he added. “She was a strong woman, so you almost hesitate to ask somebody like that if something’s wrong. I think we can all take that away from this unfortunate tragedy — that those that may seem happy on the surface could be struggling.”

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).