RENO, NEVADA — A Charlotte attorney who became Miss North Carolina USA was crowned Miss USA on Thursday night.
Cheslie Kryst earned her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University before becoming a civil litigation attorney who does pro bono work to reduce sentences for inmates.
She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina, where she was a track and field star.
Alejandra Gonzalez of New Mexico was the first-runner up, and Oklahoma's Triana Browne the second-runner up during the competition Thursday night in Reno, Nevada.
Currently, she specializes in complex civil litigation with the Poyner Spruill law firm in the Queen City.
She's also a volunteer for Dress for Success, a nonprofit that provides business attire for low-income women, and runs a fashion blog.
The 28-year-old said during the final round that she was glad to be competing in Nevada because it's the first and only state in the nation with female majorities in both houses of the state legislature.
“I would say that my generation is innovative. I’m standing here in Nevada, in the state that has the first majority female legislature in this entire country. Mine is the first generation to have that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity, and strength and empowered women. I’m looking forward to continued progress with my generation.”
"For the past two years, #MeToo and #TimesUp have dominated our national conversation. However, some believe it has only deepened the divide between men and women. Have these movements gone too far?" Kryst was asked during the competition.
"I don't think these movements have gone too far. What #MeToo and #TimesUp are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country. As an attorney, that's exactly what I want to hear, and that's exactly what I want for this country. I think they're good movements."
According to the Miss Universe organization, Kryst will be relocated to New York where she will meet members of the organization.
The winner will be provided a platform based on her objectives for the year and will also plan how to achieve her goals on the national and global scale.
She will go on to represent the United States at Miss Universe.
Cox Media Group