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Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, who tragically jumped to her death from a Midtown high-rise Sunday morning, penned a heart-rending essay last year about the challenges of growing old, nearly working herself to death and being sent “vomit emojis” by online trolls.
Kryst, a 30-year-old lawyer who won the 2019 pageant, jumped from her luxury 60-story Orion building at 350 W. 42nd St. around 7:15 a.m. and was found dead in the street below, law enforcement sources told The Post.
The ex-Miss North Carolina left behind a note saying she wanted to leave everything to her mother, a former pageant competitor herself who was crowned Mrs. North Carolina in 2002, according to sources, who said it didn’t include a motive.
Shortly before she jumped, Kryst posted a cryptic message on her Instagram page, writing, “May this day bring you rest and peace.”
But in March 2021, she provided insight into her mindset in a lengthy essay in Allure.
“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,” Kryst wrote.
“Society has never been kind to those growing old, especially women. (Occasional exceptions are made for some of the rich and a few of the famous.),” she continued.
Kryst noted that when she was crowned Miss USA at age 28, she was the oldest woman in history to win the title, “a designation even the sparkling $200,000 pearl and diamond Mikimoto crown could barely brighten for some diehard pageant fans who immediately began to petition for the age limit 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,” she wrote.
The beauty queen went on to describe that “after a year like 2020, you would think we’d learned that growing old is a treasure and maturity is a gift not everyone gets to enjoy.
“Far too many of us allow ourselves to be measured by a standard that some sternly refuse to challenge and others simply acquiesce to because fitting in and going with the flow is easier than rowing against the current,” Kryst continued.
“I fought this fight before and it’s the battle I’m currently fighting with 30,” she wrote. “How do I shake society’s unwavering norms when I’m facing the relentless tick of time? It’s the age-old question: What happens when ‘immovable’ meets ‘unstoppable?’”
She then cited her impressive academic achievements — notably earning a law degree and an MBA at the same time at Wake Forest University.
“I joined a trial team at school and won a national championship. I competed in moot court; won essay competitions; and earned local, regional, and national executive board positions,” Kryst wrote.
“I nearly worked myself to death, literally, until an eight-day stint in a local hospital sparked the development of a new perspective,” she wrote.
“I discovered that the world’s most important question, especially when asked repeatedly and answered frankly, is: why? Why earn more achievements just to collect another win? Why pursue another plaque or medal or line item on my resume if it’s for vanity’s sake, rather than out of passion? Why work so hard to capture the dreams I’ve been taught by society to want when I continue to only find emptiness?” the ExtraTV reporter continued.
She also noted that she won her title with a “five-foot-six frame with six-pack abs” and a “head of natural curls” while “pageant girls are supposed to be model-tall and slender, don bouffant hair, and have a killer walk.”
“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.
“And that was just my looks. My opinions, on the other hand, were enough to make a traditional pageant fan clutch their pearls,” Kryst added.
“Women who compete in pageants are supposed to have a middle-of-the-road opinion — if any — so as not to offend,” she wrote. “I talked candidly about my views on the legalization of marijuana, the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, anti-abortion laws, the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and the successes and failures of criminal justice reform.”
Kryst ended her contemplative essay by saying she marked her milestone birthday in her apartment, “parading around in a black silk top, matching shorts, and a floor-length robe while scarfing down banana pudding and screening birthday calls.
“I even wore my crown around the apartment for most of the day knowing I’d have to give it back at the end of my reign as Miss USA. I did what I wanted rather than the expected,” she wrote.
“Now, I now enter year 30 searching for joy and purpose on my own terms — and that feels like my own sweet victory,” Kryst said.