Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst’s Legacy Lives On Through Posthumous Memoir Shared by Her Mom

by Gee NY
April Simpkins, left, is opening up about her journey toward healing after the death of her daughter, Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst. (Courtesy of April Simpkins)

In a moving tribute to the enduring spirit of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, her mother, April Simpkins, unveils the deeply personal memoir, By the Time You Read This: The Space Between Cheslie’s Smile and Mental Illness, shedding light on Kryst’s journey and struggles with mental health.

The memoir, published more than two years after Kryst’s tragic passing, offers an intimate glimpse into the life of the accomplished correspondent and pageant winner, who battled silently with depression while achieving remarkable success in her career.

Simpkins, reflecting on her daughter’s untimely death, expresses both sorrow and pride in sharing Kryst’s story with the world.

“It’s bittersweet,” Simpkins tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I wish she was here doing this instead, but she’s not able to do that. So I’m proud to do this on her behalf.”

Kryst’s narrative intertwines with her mother’s reflections on grief and self-discovery, chronicling the highs and lows of her reign as Miss USA 2019 and the inner turmoil she grappled with behind the scenes.

Despite outward appearances of confidence and achievement, Kryst struggled with persistent depressive disorder and feelings of inadequacy, revealing the hidden challenges beneath her radiant smile.

Through the pages of her memoir, Kryst confronts themes of impostor syndrome and societal expectations, offering a raw and unfiltered account of her battle with mental illness. Simpkins, touched by her daughter’s honesty and vulnerability, finds solace in Kryst’s words, which offer closure and understanding.

Beyond her personal struggles, Kryst’s legacy is one of resilience and compassion. As a prominent figure in the entertainment industry, she used her platform to challenge stereotypes and celebrate diversity, advocating for authenticity and inclusivity.

Simpkins fondly recalls Kryst’s unwavering dedication to mentoring young girls and supporting mental health initiatives, a legacy that lives on through the Cheslie C. Kryst Foundation.

Founded by Simpkins in 2023, the foundation honors Kryst’s memory by providing resources and grants to organizations that promote mental health and wellness for teens and young adults.

Through her daughter’s memoir and ongoing philanthropic efforts, Simpkins aims to amplify Kryst’s message of connection and resilience, ensuring that her story continues to inspire and uplift others.

Kryst’s memoir serves as a testament to her enduring legacy, offering hope and healing to those grappling with their own mental health journeys.

Simpkins hopes that by sharing Kryst’s story, others will find solace and support in their struggles, forging connections and fostering understanding in the face of adversity.

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