On Sunday, Jan. 30th, lawyer, activist, former Miss USA winner Cheslie Kryst died from suicide after jumping from her 60-story apartment building located in Midtown Manhattan. She was 30 years old.
Her mother, April Simpkins, has shared a statement talking about her daughter’s depression.
“Cheslie led both a public and a private life. 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’s mother, April Simpkins, wrote in a statement. See the full passage below.
I have never known a pain as deep as this. I am forever changed.
Today, what our family and friends privately knew was the cause of death of my sweet baby girl, Cheslie, was officially confirmed. While it may be hard to believe, it’s true. Cheslie led both a public and a private life. 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.
While her life on this earth was short, it was filled with many beautiful memories. We miss her laugh, her words of wisdom, her sense of humor and mostly her hugs. We miss all of it – we miss all of her. She was a vital part of our family which makes this loss even more devastating.
Cheslie – to the world, you were a ball of sunshine wrapped in smiles. We talked, FaceTimed or texted one another all day, every day. You were more than a daughter – you were my very best friend. Talking with you was one of the best parts of my day. Your smile and laugh were infectious.
I love you baby girl with all my heart. I miss you desperately. I know one day we’ll be together again. Until then, rest easy and in peace.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Dress for Success, an organization that was dear to her heart. If you or anyone else is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.
Shortly before her death, Kryst posted a final Instagram photo of herself with the caption, “May this day bring you rest and peace.”
Cheslie Kryst was a model, Emmy-nominated correspondent, and attorney who was crowned as Miss USA at the 2019 Miss Universe competition — a historic year for the annual pageant after all five major pageant winners were women of color. She was also dedicated to reforming the American justice system, specifically regarding reducing jail sentences for prisoners unjustly charged from the system. Kryst also was an active fashion blogger who shared style and beauty content on her social media platforms.
Studies show that women are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms compared to men. In a report for Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Erica Martin Richards explained the issues concerning Black women tending to their mental health. “There’s a feeling in a lot of black communities that women have to be strong and stoic […] women are so busy taking care of everyone else — their partners, their elderly parents and their children — they don’t take care of themselves. However, women should be reminded that attending to their own needs, whether physical or emotional, doesn’t make you weak. It makes you better able to care for your loved ones in the long run.”
If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Call 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish crisis support.