Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst Details Mental Health Struggles in Posthumous Memoir

A posthumous memoir by Cheslie Kryst, By the Time You Read This focuses on the Miss USA winner's mental health difficulties before she died by suicide at age 30.

By Sabba Rahbar Apr 23, 2024 12:18 AMTags
Watch: Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst's Cause of Death Revealed

Cheslie Kryst's memory lives on.

Two years after the pageant star died by suicide at the age of 30, her family is releasing her posthumous memoir, By the Time You Read This: The Space Between Cheslie's Smile and Mental Illness, to help shed light on the difficulties she faced, even after winning Miss USA in 2019.

"Just hours after my win, I had to delete vomit-face emojis that a few accounts had plastered all over the comments on my Instagram page," she wrote in an excerpt published by People on April 22. "More than one person messaged me telling me to kill myself."

Cheslie explained that the hateful comments overshadowed her victory and worsened her mental health.

"All of this only added to my long-standing insecurities—the feeling that everyone around me knew more than I did, that everyone else was better at my job, and that I didn't deserve this title," she continued. "People would soon find out I was a fraud. I felt like an imposter, but not just in pageants."

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Being in the spotlight ultimately made her feel like a failure, as she was "meticulously picked apart" in her interviews.

"Winning Miss USA hadn't made my imposter syndrome go away," she said. "Instead, I was waiting for people to realize I didn't have a clue about what I was doing."

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And while she tried to "focus my thoughts on positive statements of power," Cheslie explained that the positivity "only lasted for so long."

By the Time You Read This is set to debut on April 23, with proceeds from the book going to the Cheslie C. Kryst Foundation, which offers mental health supports for youth and young adults. The book is a collaboration between Cheslie and her mother April Simpkins, who, prior to Cheslie's passing, received a note from her daughter asking that she ensure the memoir be published.

April has been open about Cheslie's mental health struggles and raising awareness ever since the beauty queen died by suicide in January 2022 in New York.

"Cheslie led both a public and a private life," she told E! News later that year. "In her private life, she was dealing with high-functioning depression which she hid from everyone—including me, her closest confidant—until very shortly before her death."  

"I have never known a pain as deep as this," she added. "I am forever changed."

If you or someone you know needs help, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.