Cheslie Kryst’s death by suicide not her first attempt, mother says

The former Miss North Carolina was crowned Miss USA in May 2019

The mother of Cheslie Kryst will join Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris at the red table on Wednesday to talk about her daughter’s Jan. 30 suicide.

As reported by PEOPLE, in the May 4 episode of Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk series on Facebook, April Simpkins opens up about the events leading up to that tragic day. She also reveals that Kryst’s suicide at age 30 was not her first attempt at taking her own life. 

Cheslie Kryst visits the BUILD Series to discuss Winning “Miss USA” at Build Studio on May 7, 2019, in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

“Did you see any preliminary signs?” co-host Willow Smith asked Simpkins.

“I did,” she replied. “I knew Cheslie was suffering from depression — I didn’t know the severity of it.”

The former Miss North Carolina, who was crowned Miss USA in May 2019, was reportedly alone in the ninth-floor unit of her NYC apartment building when she jumped from the balcony to her death, theGrio reported.

The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner ruled Kryst’s death a suicide, PEOPLE reports. Kryst suffered multiple blunt impact injuries, per CNN.

According to Simpkins, Kryst had “attempted suicide before.”

“It was after that first attempt that she and I grew very close, and I wanted her to feel comfortable calling me: ‘If ever you’re in crisis, call me,’ ” she told Willow, Pinkett Smith, and co-host Adrienne Banfield-Norris. 

Simpkins said after the first suicide attempt, her daughter sought mental health treatment. 

“She began seeing a counselor. She was getting good sleep at night. She knew all the things to do,” she shared. 

“I think what shocked so many people is when you see her on television, when you see her on Instagram, TikTok, she’s smiling, she’s bubbly, and that was Cheslie,” Simpkins said. “But Cheslie was also battling depression, which she hid.”

Following Kryst’s death in January, her family said in a statement that the beauty queen’s “great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined.”

They added, “Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as a host on Extra. But most importantly, as a daughter, sister, friend, mentor, and colleague — we know her impact will live on.”

April Simpkins’ Red Table Talk episode airs Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.

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