The family of the late Cheslie Kryst, a beloved Charlotte attorney turned beauty queen, will celebrate what would have been her 31st birthday with a public memorial Thursday, April 28.
How to attend: The vigil and balloon release is open to the public and will take place from 7-8pm on the football stadium at Fort Mill High School. The exact address is 225 Munn Road E. in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Background: Kryst died by suicide at age 30 on Sunday, Jan. 30. “Cheslie led both a public and a private life,” Kryst’s mom April Simpkins said in a statement shortly after her death. “In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone — including me, her closest confidant — until very shortly before her death.”
- Kryst was an influential Charlottean. She worked as a civil litigation attorney before and during her run for Miss USA in 2019. Following her crowning, Kryst moved to New York City and became a correspondent and host for Extra.
What they’re saying: “She was truly the best friend I have ever had,” Simpkins said during Kryst’s memorial in February. She wore a pink pants suit, an outfit she said made her feel close to her daughter. “She is forever my baby girl.”
At the February memorial, Simpkins left the audience with three calls to action to honor Cheslie.
- “Take care of your mental health,” she said, encouraging people to get help before you’re in crisis.
- Add the suicide prevention hotline to your phone contact book today: 1-800-273-8255.
- Lastly, she said, “honor Cheslie by becoming an ally for a community that needs support. … Be selfless like Cheslie.”
Give back: The family has also worked with four organizations to set up funds and scholarships in Kryst’s memory.
- Dress For Success – The Cheslie Kryst Women’s Advancement Fund
- Wake Forest University School of Law – The Cheslie C. Kryst Social Justice Scholarship
- University of South Carolina – The Cheslie C. Kryst Scholarship Fund
- The Dean’s List – The Cheslie C. Kryst Woman In Media Award