Former Charlotte attorney’s 557-day reign as Miss USA longest ever

Former Charlotte attorney discusses role as Miss USA, has message for hometown

CHARLOTTE — It’s been a little more than two weeks now since former Charlotte attorney Cheslie Kryst passed along the crown as Miss USA.

She reigned longer than any other winner in history -- 557 days -- because of the pandemic.

“Me having this extended reign was important because it gave me extra time to talk to people about issues that are important,” Kryst told Channel 9.

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She spoke with Channel 9 about the protests that followed the death of George Floyd and her role as Miss USA.

“If I had given up my title, I wouldn’t have been there to go to a protest with Miss Universe in New York City,” Kryst said. “I wouldn’t have been there to help host our Universe United Campaign where we talked with one of the co-founders of BLM on our Instagram Live account. I was grateful that I was still reigning during this time. That was really essential.”

Kryst served as a Global Impact Ambassador for Dress for Success, which is an organization that she worked to support in Charlotte before she was Miss North Carolina.

(In the video below, Kryst has a message for her hometown)

Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst thanks her hometown Charlotte, NC

She also helped launch the Universe United Campaign, which helped keep people connected as states started to shut down during the pandemic.

There was another accomplishment she was proud to be a part of.

“I helped to assist people to look at Miss USA in a different way,” Kryst said. “I think a lot of people were surprised I was a practicing attorney and to win the title. When I was going through interviews, they would say, ‘Why are you interviewing for Miss USA? You are an attorney. Shouldn’t you be at work right now?’ I constantly had to explain to people this organization provides a better platform than I had sought out before. It’s not just pretty women who want to be models who compete in Miss USA. It’s women who have substance, and it always has been. But not enough people knew that.”

Kryst will be an entertainment correspondent for the news broadcasting magazine “Extra” and will work at her former law firm as the diversity director.

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