Cheslie Kryst ‘Changed My Life’: First openly bisexual contestant Rachel Slawson reflects on Miss USA’s support
[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Miss America Cheslie Kryst has made an impact on so many people and now one of her fellow pageant queens is paying homage to her.
Talking to Everyone about her dear friend, Miss Utah Rachel Slawson opened up about the enormous loss she was just beginning to grapple with. As Perezcious readers know, the winner of Miss USA 2019 miserably die by suicide on Sunday in New York City. She just turned 30 years old. Slawson reflects:
“Cheslie changed my life.”
We can’t imagine how sad it would be to lose a mentor so suddenly.
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Speaking on behalf of her other competitors and friends, the 26-year-old continued:
“Our whole class was completely devastated. I think everyone was shocked.”
Cheslie and Rachel became friends for the first time in June 2020 when they hooked up in a Live on Instagram talk about pride and mental health. At the time, Slawson, the contest’s first openly bisexual contestant, was Miss Utah while Kryst was Miss USA.
Reflecting back on that live stream, Slawson was struck by Cheslie’s passion for “helping to amplify” the importance of mental health issues, which are often not “talked about in pageants.” . As a teenager, Rachel survived two suicides. She wanted to use her contest platform to become an advocate for LGBTQ youth who face similar challenges, and Kryst was always there to cheer her up, she recalls:
“I was very nervous in the months leading up to the Miss America pageant. I was struggling with really bad depression at the time, and I was really in my head. I just kept thinking, ‘The Miss America Organization would never want someone like me who is struggling with mental illness.’
To help calm Rachel down, the lawyer and social justice advocate was candid with her friend:
“She said to me, ‘Rachel, I’ve struggled too’.
Kryst went on to applaud Slawson for sharing her story with the world because it “made an impact.” This isn’t the only way Kryst goes above and beyond to support the younger woman on her journey to pageants – she encourages her to be the first woman to wear pants at the Miss America pageant. , Rachel notes:
“She just reminded me that I had nothing to fear.”
At the event, More the reporter remained by her side and supported her decision to speak publicly about her strange identity, the writer explained:
“She took me aside to chat a little bit about that before the final coronation night. I didn’t win in the end, but it’s still really comforting to know that she was there. ”
The last time the duo spoke was about three months ago when they texted in hopes of meeting in NYC. It’s not clear if they’ll have a chance to be caught in person.
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Open up more about her Grieving processRachel added on Instagram:
“Cheslie is a role model for every young woman competing for the title of Miss America. We all aspire to be like her, and each of us has a unique connection to her, some from afar and some up close. We all have the right to mourn that disconnect in our own way.”
We send love to everyone who is mourning the loss of Kryst! What an inspirational woman she is! REST IN PEACE
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), texting “STRENGTH” to the Line. Crisis text at 741-741 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
[Image via Cheslie Kryst/Rachel Slawson/Instagram]