Cheslie Kryst was crowned Miss USA last week. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Kryst received her undergraduate degree from the University of the South Carolina and her J.D. and MBA from Wake Forest University. When she’s not practicing law, she’s serving the community as Miss North Carolina and Miss USA, and will continue on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. We caught up with Kryst to see what’s next for accomplished beauty queen.
When did you first get involved with pageants?
My mom was Mrs. North Carolina 2002. I remember being a little kid and my mom was doing appearances. I remember thinking, “That’s what I want for myself.” When I was a freshman in high school I competed in and won the Miss Northwestern pageant, and the rest is history.”
What does it mean for you to represent North Carolina?
It was an indescribable feeling of pride to wear my North Carolina sash. During prelims I got to introduce myself and my heart was bursting when I was able to do that.
What are your plans as Miss USA?
I hope to continue my advocacy for Dress for Success. I was very involved with the organization when I lived in Charlotte, through fundraising and volunteering, and I hope to continue to spread that mission. I’ll also be traveling to raise brand awareness and recognition for the Miss USA organization.
Tell us about how your time as Miss USA will affect your work practicing law?
My firm, Poyner Spruill, made this decision very easy for me. I practice civil litigation, and my office will be held open for me when I’m done. They are incredibly supportive—my colleagues gathered with my favorite Insomnia Cookies and wore sashes and crowns to cheer me on!
What do you want to tell younger girls that are looking up to you?
“I want others to know that I became Miss USA after encountering a multitude of failures. Along the road there were many times when I wasn’t sure if this was right for me. But I persisted regardless of the hurdles in front of me.”