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A conversation with Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst

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A conversation with Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst (AP Photo/Jason Bean)

Cheslie Kryst, a 28-year-old attorney from Charlotte, North Carolina, says she was in prayer in the suspenseful seconds just before she was declared Miss USA during the final competition in Reno, Nevada earlier this month.

“When I was standing there with runner-up Alejandra Gonzalez of New Mexico, I said a prayer that God would watch over both of us and that he would watch over whomever became Miss USA,” Kryst told me during an interview. “When I was crowned Miss North Carolina USA, my first runner up said the same prayer and it meant a lot to me in that moment to find peace in our faith together.”

A decorated athlete, Kryst specializes in complex civil litigation and provides free legal services for prison inmates. To celebrate Kryst’s participation in the Miss USA pageant, her fellow attorneys held a pageant party at their law firm and forwarded photos of the soiree to Kryst’s phone.

“It was hilarious. I love the people I work with,” Kryst said, laughing. “They all wore sashes and crowns and they ordered in Insomnia Cookies (a bakery chain that delivers warm cookies to your door) because they know I’m big on dessert and those cookies are my favorite. Plus they deliver until 3:00 a.m. I wish I could be an ambassador for the brand because I love them so much and I talk about them all the time.”

As Miss North Carolina USA, Kryst’s pre-pageant workout regimen was punishing. One of the worst parts about it was temporarily doing without her Insomnia Cookies, she says.

“I abstained from desserts, fried food and pasta,” she said. “My diet was pretty strict, but I felt like I was in the best shape of my life when I got to Miss USA and that was my goal.”

Kryst prepped for Miss USA early each morning at the Charlotte YMCA, where she did a daily 90-minute cardio workout, plus time on the bike and elliptical machines. Her exercise regimen also included two weekly cycle classes, two weekly yoga classes and a class that focuses on the abdominal muscles. Kryst is honest when I asked how tricky it was to maintain such an intense workout schedule.

“I hated it,” she responded with a chuckle. “I like staying fit and I like working out but three or four times a week is pretty good. It was pretty overwhelming to try to keep that schedule up.”

Kryst is an active volunteer for the Charlotte chapter of Dress for Success and plans to continue to advocate for the global non-profit as Miss USA.

“They help provide economic independence for women,” said Kryst. “They provide professional clothing for women who can’t afford it that are going on job interviews. If the woman does secure the job, the Charlotte location will provide a full wardrobe for that woman.”

According to Kryst, she’s barely had time to enjoy one of her favorite cookies since she was declared Miss USA for 2019. She will next compete for the Miss Universe title later this year.

“The support from the people of Charlotte has been incredible,” she said. “My phone has been blowing up since I was crowned last week. I still have over 150 texts to return. It’s been a little overwhelming but I’m so appreciative.”


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