Another Life Lost to Suicide 


Photographer- Jason Bean The Reno Gazette-Journal

Cheslie Kryst on the night she was crowned Miss U.S.A. in 2019.

Chinel Okoye

   Cheslie Kryst, 30, who was the winner of the Miss USA pageant in 2019, jumped to her death from the 29th floor of her condo building on Sunday morning, Jan 30 according to the New York Police Department (NYPD) & Fox News. At 7:05 a.m., police were called to the 70-story high rise building, on a report that a woman had jumped from a terrace.  

   Kryst lived alone in her ninth floor apartment, and was last seen on the 29th floor terrace according to the New York Post. Sources reported that Kryst left a note to her mother, claiming that she wanted to leave everything to her. Her mom also was a former pageant competitor who was also crowned Miss North Carolina in 2002. Though she left a note, she didn’t include a motive for her actions, sources confirmed. 

   Kryst was born on April 28, 1991 in Jackson, Mich. She was a lawyer, a beauty pageant titleholder, model and television correspondent. For winning Miss USA in 2019, Kryst represented the USA in Miss Universe, advancing to the top 10. Nia Imani Franklin (Miss America), Kaliegh Garris (Miss Teen USA),  Zozibini Tunzi (Miss Universe) and Kryst as Miss USA, became the first group of Black women to hold all of those titles in a single year. The four history-making titleholders went on Good Morning America in December 2019 to talk about making history in pageants and reflected on an article in People about a  time when they “literally could not win.”

   As a lawyer, Kryst worked alongside other attorneys to help low-level drug offenders. The Extra correspondent’s family wrote a statement following Kryst’s death on Sunday. In their statement, they stated how their hearts were 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,” the statement read. 

   Mental health is a serious and meaningful topic that needs to be discussed everywhere. Whether it’s in schools, clinics or simply just talking about it within your family, those tough conversations are needed. According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death reported in the United States. In 2019, alone, there have been over 40,000 deaths at the hands of suicide in the U.S according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), which is why it’s such a crippling condition that needs to be discussed, along with mental health as a whole.

   Since 1999, suicide rates in the U.S. have increased steadily. There was a slight decline in 2019, but the rate is still slowly increasing each year. There are several misconceptions surrounding suicide, like certain age groups being less likely to die by suicide, solely based on their age. This is a myth that can lead to underlying issues to people’s mental health. Suicide is a risk within all age groups, so it’s extremely critical to discuss the issue regardless of age. If anyone, regardless of age is showing signs of crippling mental health issues or signs of depression or suicide, it should never be ignored. That is why it’s necessary to be open-minded about mental health early on, so that issues don’t carry on later through people’s lives. 

   If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).