Cheslie Kryst, the Extra correspondent and former Miss USA, who died on Sunday, Jan. 30 after jumping from a New York City skyscraper, wrote an essay last year detailing the pressure society places on women as they get older.
She also mentioned in her personal essay about almost working herself “to death” and dealing with online trolls. The beauty pageant winner penned the essay for Allure magazine in March 2021 about what it was like to turn 30.
“Each time I say, ‘I’m turning 30,’ I cringe a little. Sometimes I can successfully mask this uncomfortable response with excitement; other times, my enthusiasm feels hollow, like bad acting,” she wrote at the start of the essay.
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Kryst continued by talking about how she had the uneasy distinction of being the oldest Miss USA winner at the time when she was crowned at age 28 in 2019 and how her win unnerved some fans who wanted the age limit for the pageant to be lowered.
“A grinning, crinkly-eyed glance at my achievements thus far makes me giddy about laying the groundwork for more, but turning 30 feels like a cold reminder that I’m running out of time to matter in society’s eyes — and it’s infuriating,” Kryst wrote.
She asked the question, “How do I shake society’s unwavering norms when I’m facing the relentless tick of time?” She then criticized society for glamourizing ’20 under 20′ and ’30 under 30′ lists.
She wrote about working to obtain multiple degrees as a law and MBA student at the same time and having “a lonely craving for the next award.”
“Some would see this hunger and label it ‘competitiveness’; others might call it the unquenchable thirst of insecurity,” Kryst said.
She shared that once she won Miss USA, she felt a purpose and “a heightened desire to commit myself to passion, intent, and authenticity.”
However, her quest for being a role model was met with opposition. “My challenge of the status quo certainly caught the attention of the trolls, and I can’t tell you how many times I have deleted comments on my social media pages that had vomit emojis and insults telling me I wasn’t pretty enough to be Miss USA or that my muscular build was actually a ‘man body,’” she wrote.
Kryst continued about her stance on social justice issues she championed during her reign.
She ended the essay by writing, “Now, I enter year 30 searching for joy and purpose on my own terms — and that feels like my own sweet victory.”
Kryst’s 30th birthday was on April 28 last year.