Cheslie Kryst is now the longest reigning Miss USA in history, holding the crown for 557 days! The former lawyer’s reign was extended due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, as the Miss USA pageant was moved from June to tonight, Nov. 9th, in Graceland! While you might believe that Cheslie’s time as Miss USA was “ruined” due to the pandemic, the titleholder actually calls it a “whirlwind” that she’s “grateful” for. LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE!
“I got this really extended reign that still allowed me to connect with people, I just had to connect in a different way,” she said in an EXCLUSIVE podcast interview with HollywoodLife. “You know, rather than getting to go and see the women who benefited from Dress for Success in person, for example, I got to talk with them on Zoom about resume review and interview questions. So, it just it changed my reign in an unexpected way.”
Cheslie was nearing the end of her time as Miss USA when the pandemic hit, so she technically only lost a month of in-person opportunities. The Extra TV correspondent took her talents to Instagram where she hosted Instagram Live conversations with fellow influencers and changemakers to talk about what they were doing in quarantine. She also used her extended time as Miss USA to speak out about the Black Lives Matter movement and social justice.
“I don’t know that I ever dreamed of a time when a national titleholder for a huge organization like Miss USA would have advocated for Black Lives Matter… There are tons of pageant organizations that say we have this ‘unwritten rule book’ for pageants, like you don’t say Black Lives Matter, you don’t say that marijuana should be legalized, even recreationally, there are certain things that you just don’t say to judges an interview or on stage” Cheslie explained. “I think that meant a lot to people, especially women who follow pageants, that not only is this black woman talking about Black Lives Matter, but she’s also Miss USA. So if Miss USA can talk about it, I can talk about it too, and hold a pageant title at the same time.”
Tonight, we’ll see the 51 state titleholders take the stage in Memphis to compete for Cheslie’s crown! Tune in on FYI at 8 PM ET to watch!