Miss North Carolina Cheslie Kryst, a lawyer who defends prison inmates pro bono, crowned Miss USA
Here she is – Miss North Carolina Cheslie Kryst secured the crown as Miss USA 2019 on Thursday night.
The 28-year-old, the personification of brains and beauty, is a full-time attorney who earned her MBA at Wake Forest University. Kryst has focused her energies on being a civil litigation lawyer who works for free fighting to reduce sentences for prisoners in the state, The NY Post reports.
Kryst noted in the final round of competition that Nevada had some serious girl power since the state stands as the only one in the nation with female majorities in both houses of the state legislature, Kryst said.
Kryst said even as she advanced through the rounds she didn’t get nervous.
“I just kept hearing my name get called,” she told AP. “All I could think was, ‘This is really cool.’
Your #MissUSA 2019 is… NORTH CAROLINA! ?
— Miss USA & Miss Teen USA (@MissUSA) May 3, 2019
The experience she said is life-changing, especially being a kid who grew up unsure of herself.
“It was a time in my life when I didn’t’ know who I was and wasn’t confident in myself,” she explained about her 10-year-old self.
“I was that little weird kid who had a unibrow and didn’t have any friends. My hair was always pulled back. I thought I want to be just like her,” she said.
Kryst then participated in pageants in high school.
“I can’t say pageants make you beautiful. I think they make your more confident in the person that you are,” she said.
“I’m still that same weird kid. I still like reading books. And at the end of the day, I like to sit by myself in my house and just watch movies. But I think pageants taught me all that, and my mom was really the one who introduced me to that and drew me to pageantry.”
In a videotaped message played during the two-hour event at a hotel-casino, she told a story of when a judge at a legal competition told her to wear a skirt instead of pants because judges prefer skirts.
“Glass ceilings can be broken wearing either a skirt or pants,” Kryst said.