On Wednesday’s episode of “Red Table Talk,” the mother and stepfather of Cheslie Kryst opened up about the sudden death of their daughter. Kryst, who was crowned Miss USA in 2019, died by suicide in January. In addition to earning a law degree and an MBA from Wake Forest University, she also worked as a correspondent for Extra which garnered her two Emmy nominations.
Last year, she wrote an essay for Allure describing the societal pressures Black women face. On “Red Table Talk,” Simpkins said that Kryst struggled with depression but did her best to combat it. “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. But Cheslie was also battling depression, which she hid.”
Simpkins also shared the last text messages she received from her daughter before died:
“First, I’m sorry, by the time you get this, I won’t be alive anymore. And it makes me even more sad to write this because I know it will hurt you the most,” Kryst wrote. ““I love you mom, and you are my best friend, and the person I’ve lived for for years. I wish I could stay with you, but I cannot bear the crushing weight of persistent sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness any longer.”
Simpkins teared up while reading her daughter’s words. “I’ve never told you these feelings, because I never wanted you to worry, and because I hoped they would eventually change, but I know they never will. They follow me through every accomplishment, success, family gathering, friendly dinner.”
“Depression is not always marked by people laying in bed,” Simpkins explained. “There are people who are high functioning and getting through the day. Cheslie wore the face.” Her family held a vigil in honor of Kryst’s 31st birthday last month.