Cheslie Kryst as Our Miss USA 2019

Level21 TV interview: Yamaris Polanco /Article Written by : Lillian Taylor

Cheslie Corrinne Kryst is the winner of the 2019 Miss USA beauty pageant. As Miss USA, she will be representing the United States at the Miss Universe 2019 competition. Previously, before being crowned Miss North Carolina USA 2019 and becoming the third woman from North Carolina to win this title, she had overcome several pageantry losses all while completing her work at Wake Forest University School of Law. Aside from the numerous public titles, we take a closer look into revealing the real Cheslie Kryst, our current Miss U.S.A.

Many describe Cheslie as a blossoming young woman and a person glowing with beautiful confidence. Jailah Pettis who is currently Miss Taste of Charlotte 2019 states, “The most inspiring thing about Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst is that she is unapologetically herself. I love the fact that she embraces her natural hair. She is making a statement that young women can be natural and accomplish many things in life”.

Level21 Magazine had the honor of interviewing Cheslie in order to find out more about Miss U.S.A and how she continues to inspire those around her.

Who was Cheslie Kryst?

Why pageants?

Cheslie’s had gained the love for pageants after seeing her mom take home the Miss North Carolina title in 2002. It left an impression and transformed her mother into both her idol and hero. Pageantry also gave Cheslie many opportunities to make a difference in the world.

“Pageants gave me the power and a voice to make an impact on the people around me. Criminal Justice Reform is very important to me and by becoming Miss USA, it has allowed me to speak up on this topic and make a change.”

How did you balance school and pageants during this exciting journey?

While participating in pageants, Cheslie mentions that her interests would only elevate and that the schedule was super flexible.

“I could enjoy participating without having to sacrifice any of my time outside the competition and continue doing the things I loved!”


Who is Cheslie Kryst?

What was it like coming back after five defeats? How did you cope?

“My hardheadedness and the fear of looking back and saying, ‘what if’? Every loss you have teaches you something and makes you stronger. It prepares you for what comes next.”

Cheslie was able to think back on the time in college when she was faced with the decision to walk for graduation or run in a once in a lifetime track meet. She decided to do both events with little rest and a head full of negative thoughts. This moment of ‘what if’ continues to remind her to keep her head high through each pageant and any difficult obstacle that may stand in her way.

Would you say this title has changed you as a person?

To Cheslie, this title has made her stronger as a young aspiring woman. Her mother on the other hand, mentioned that she has seen several major changes in her daughter.

“Her level of confidence and the presentation of herself has gotten so much better. Pageantry has amplified and enhanced the person she is today, and she is always ready [ for anything thrown her way]”.

What are some unforgettable things that have happened to you since you have been crowned?

Cheslie mentioned that there were too many things on her list! Since being crowned the opportunities she has had have all been unforgettable. Her top three were. . .

  1. Being able to volunteer and take part in Dress for Success.
    1. “Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life”. Cheslie has now become the new Success Impact Ambassador and hopes to “empower woman all over the world and help them achieve financial independence”.
  2. Participating in a new television show!
    1. “I was on a television show that I’m not allowed to talk about yet because it airs on August 24th, but I can say that doing a show for someone I respect highly is super exciting and I’m excited to see that”
  3. Going head to head with Tom Brady in a flag football game!
    1. “We did a fundraiser for Best Buddies which is a nonprofit organization that we partner with at the Miss Universe organization.”


Becoming Miss U.S.A:

During the pageant, how did you manage your nerves and stress during each competition?

Having a mental health ritual is super important especially if you feel yourself becoming overworked and stressed out! For Cheslie, watching movies she has already seen before helped calm those nerves whether it be before a big exam or strutting down the runway.

“Watching a movie you’ve already seen helps with stress or anxiety, because you already know the outcome. My go to movie is Pocahontas or The Devil Wears Parada!”

Who are some people that you were able to meet, that you would say changed your life?

“The pageant lifestyle is one you must experience at least once in your life”, as stated by Danyel Phelps. It allows you to not only meet incredible influencers, but also helps you gain lifelong friends and family. Cheslie calls this group her village.

“I have been able to meet so many wonderful people during this experience and so many have been supportive the entire way through, even after my crowning.”

What was it like gaining fifty other powerful women as pageant competitors/ companions?

Cheslie admits how wonderful it was to have other women who were going through the same thing.

“Many people expect a large group of women to be catty, but everyone was so nice and supportive of each other. It’s really great to have that closeness and collegiality with other likeminded people.”

If you would like to share, what did you whisper to New Mexico during the final decision?

“We were praying together.”

Cheslie commented on how her interaction with first runner up of Miss North Carolina, Laura Little, had prayed with her during such an anxious moment. Her strong belief in faith was a reason that moment continues to stay with her throughout each competition.

“We both would go to Elevation and she was saying a prayer for who ever would win. That was meaningful and impactful for me, so when I was in the same position, I repeated the same prayer. God please guide the footsteps of whoever may become the next Miss U.S.A.”

What would you tell young girls who are too afraid to step out into the spotlight because of their figure or anxiousness?

“Walk with confidence and know you are beautiful”.

Cheslie made sure that all her followers know that you should not be worried about your figure, your weight, or how big your muscles are. The first step to having confidence is knowing and owning it first.


Miss U.S.A Cheslie Kryst continues to leave positive energy wherever she goes. Her upcoming journey to Miss Universe will be difficult, but her village and wonderful supporters will have her back the entire way. She continues to make a difference in our world today and prove that Miss U.S.A is true beauty and grace.

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