• Corynne Corbett

Cheslie Kryst: Why Beauty Pageants Matter and Normalizing Black Representation

Updated: Jan 14

Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019, won the first pageant she entered as a freshman in her high school. But she also had her share of losses before she was crowned Miss North Carolina USA. But she kept coming back because she knew that she deserved to win. And so she did. By the time she won, however, she was a practicing attorney at a firm and juggled the demands of both until she became Miss USA 2019, which became her full-time job.

Cheslie explains that Black representation in the winner's circle was so sparse that it seemed we were conditioned to expect that if a Black contestant won, that another couldn't for some time. She points out that it is time to normalize Black representation and winners in the pageant world. She also notes how the once PC world of pageants could no longer ignore what was happening in the world, particularly when it came to social justice.

Cheslie became a lawyer because she is nosey, but it is that same curiosity that helped land a position as a correspondent on the television show "Extra". Once again, it is her job to ask lots of questions so she can get to the answer. Cheslie offers her thoughts on how a renewed interest in the Black Lives Matter movement impacts her work at "Extra" as well as the beauty industry.

She shares why she would never want someone to blindly follow in her footsteps. Instead, she feels strongly that everyone should carve their own paths. Plus she shares her hopes for the pageant industry of the future.

Photo: Blue Method Films

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