A new Miss USA was crowned at the Grand Sierra Resort and Spa in Reno, Nevada, on Monday night, just as Cheslie Kryst had been three years prior. and Kryst’s legacy was clear during the 2022 pageant as tributes poured in for the former beauty queen, who died by suicide in January. She was 30 years old.
Crystle Stewart, Miss USA 2008 and the current president of the Miss USA organization, previously told E! News that Reno was chosen for this year’s competition in honor of Kryst.
The pageant opened with the message “In honor of Cheslie Kryst,” and later in the evening, FYI correspondent Christian Murphy gave a speech about Kryst’s impact on the pageant world.
Murphy said”If you’re lucky in life, you get the chance to know someone who lights up a room, makes every moment seem better, and makes you feel important with a simple gesture or a word, “That was Cheslie Kryst.”
Murphy went on to say. Now, I had the privilege to work alongside her, and her accomplishments were literally endless,” “Cheslie was crowned Miss USA 2019. And in the words of her family, she 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. Most importantly as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor, and colleague.”
Murphy’s statements were followed by a moment of silence by the live audience at the pageant. Kryst, who represented North Carolina during the 2019 Miss USA, became part of an iconic quartet after taking the crown. Her year marked the first time Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss America were all women of color.
Kryst also made history as the oldest woman to win Miss USA. She would go on to make the top 10 at Miss Universe that year.
Cheslie Kryst was working as a host on Extra at the time of her death. She was also a complex-litigation attorney who worked pro bono with clients serving long sentences for low-level drug offenses. She helped free one client who had been sentenced to life in prison and also spent years raising funds for the nonprofits Dress for Success and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.