Miss USA is more committed than ever to providing mental health support for its contestants and winners, especially after the tragic and untimely suicide of 2019 winner Cheslie Kryst earlier this year.
Its president Crystle Stewart recently shared the organization will offer competing contestants access to mental health workshops and “mindset preparation” via her project, the Crystle Stewart Foundation.
The initiatives’ goals are to help pageant participants feel more mentally suited to tackle public and press engagements and provide them with coping mechanisms for when their mental health isn’t at its best.
As outlined by Stewart, Miss America 2008, pageant contestants and winners may feel anxious, overwhelmed or depressed throughout various levels of competing and in the aftermath.
“A lot of people don’t know that pageants are like a sport. These young ladies train for months, even years, for that one shot,” Stewart recently told TMZ. “After that one shot, if they don’t win, that’s it. They can’t come back and compete again.”
Regarding participants’ mental health, she added, “Some of them go through depression after the pageant or leading up the pageant. Sometimes they’re anxious.”
“[Losing] the pageant isn’t the end of the world,” Stewart emphasized. “It’s not the end-all-be-all. It’s a great asset [and] it’s great to have that crown, but there are things in life that you can still achieve and be successful at even if you don’t win.”
Miss USA’s president further spoke on how impactful Kryst’s death was on so many people, even those outside of the pageant community.
Stewart said she was working on getting more accessible mental health resources to Miss USA participants even before Kryst’s untimely passing, but losing the latter was even more reason to move things forward as soon as possible.
“Cheslie was such a pillar in the community. She was such a pillar of strength, of beauty, of excellence,” Stewart said of the beloved titleholder. “To see her with this tragedy — we really wanted to give positive energy to title holders and get someone professional to speak to them immediately.”