Former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst’s bright future was dimmed due to tragically dying by suicide on January 30, 2022, at 30 years old. Kryst was crowned Miss USA in May 2019. She was also licensed to practice law in both North Carolina and South Carolina and became a correspondent for Extra in October 2019, earning two Daytime Emmy Award nominations.
Although she was an accomplished model, correspondent, and licensed lawyer, one of her lifelong dreams was to become a published author. Thanks to her mother, April Simpkins, her dream is now fulfilled. Kryst will be a published author when her book, “By the Time You Read This: The Space Between Cheslie’s Smile and Mental Illness,” is released on April 23 by Forefront Books.
Simpkins is honoring one of her final wishes by having their book published. Telling Extra, “She left me her final wishes in the text message that she sent me the morning that she passed… that I see to it that her book gets published, and it has been quite a journey doing that.” In her book, Cheslie shares her story of striving and accomplishing so much, but the second half is written by her mother, who tells her story starting on the morning Kryst dies.
Simpkins shared with the outlet, “These are her own words… Cheslie for most people who saw her on TV or saw her at events, she was smiling and she was bubbly and she was happy, and that was her true self… but there was still a lot of pain that she felt and I do feel like the book stands right between that place of what people saw in her smile and her private battle with depression and that is why we use that phrase ‘the space between her smile and mental illness.’”
Her mother also revealed a never-before-seen video with Extra from their trip to Israel for the Miss Universe pageant in December 2021. Cheslie recorded a video announcing she had written a book. Kryst smiles, saying, “It’s so wild. Like, I wrote a book!”
Simpkins said, “We don’t know what’s going on in the lives of many people, but what we can extend is kindness, a listening ear, and a safe space. and I hope that when people read this book that they promise themselves to seek help when they need it, that they work to create a safe space so that their friends can share, and that they learn how to really listen.”
She continued, “For most people who saw her on TV or saw her at events, [Kryst] was smiling and she was bubbly and she was happy, and that was her true self. But there was still a lot of pain that she felt,” she continued, “and I do feel like the book stands right between that place of what people saw in her smile and her private battle with depression.”
The net proceeds from the book will go to the Cheslie C. Kryst Foundation. The book is available for pre-order at https://www.bythetimeyoureadthisbook.com/
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.