Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst: 1991-2022
Cheslie Kryst, Charlotte’s attorney with deep ties to the Carolinas who later became the 2019 Miss USA, died by suicide in January 2022.
About 300 people gathered inside the church Cheslie Kryst attended in college and as an adult to honor the legacy and life of the former Miss USA and Charlotte attorney .
Kryst, 30, committed suicide in her New York apartment building in late January.
Family and friends offered kind words about Kryst in front of hundreds at Elevation Blakeney, and thousands watching online, Friday night.
“Throughout her life, Cheslie sowed many seeds through her work, her philanthropy, her advocacy and, most importantly, her sincere concern for others,” Kryst’s mother, April Simpkins, said during the interview. public celebration of life. “I know these seeds will continue to bear fruit for many years to come.”
Kryst was “unapologetically herself” and doubled down on her beliefs whether others liked her or not, Simpkins said.
Kryst believed in empowering women through clothing, helping those wrongfully incarcerated and being a lawyer, according to Simpkins.
“In life we meet ordinary people, but there are rare instances where we meet extraordinary people,” said Edward Watson, a former inmate whom Kryst helped free in 2020. “I needed help, the Lord sent the help I needed.”
Kryst, his stepfather David Simpkins and attorney MiAngel Cody helped reduce Watson’s sentence, allowing him to become a free man after spending 25 years in prison on crack cocaine trafficking and weapons charges.
“Cheslie preached the sermon just about how she presented herself to the world, who she was there for and what she called us to do.” Cody said. “I always found her to be a program for how to be a lawyer, how to be a lawyer, and how to be a human being.”
During the slideshows and videos played throughout the memorial, Kryst always dressed well, which she was proud of as an ambassador for the nonprofit Dress for Success.
“Be like Cheslie, honor Cheslie and share your gifts,” said Kelly Barr O’Conner, Executive Director of Dress for Success Charlotte. “Sweet Cheslie rest in peace and may the perpetual light shine upon you. You have shared your light with all of us and we will take it from here.
A number of honors were bestowed on Kryst after his death, including a scholarship from Wake Forest University that bears his name, which will be awarded annually to a Black, Indigenous, or Carolina law student.
“His impact, his legacy and his impact will live on forever,” said LaToya Evans, spokesperson for the Kryst family.
This story was originally published February 18, 2022 10 p.m.