Jada Pinkett Smith breaks down when interviewing mother of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst

The beauty queen took her own life in January, at the age of 30

Jada Pinkett Smith interviewed Cheslie Kryst's mother on her show 'Red Table Talk'. Reuters
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Jada Pinkett Smith was emotional on her show Red Table Talk as she interviewed the mother of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, who took her own life in January.

Ahead of April Simpkins joining the table, Pinkett Smith, along with her daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, watched a montage of Kryst’s life, including her winning pageant moment and red carpet interviews with celebrities.

“What many didn’t know is that underneath it all, Cheslie was reeling from debilitating depression,” Pinkett Smith said in a voice-over.

When the montage was finished and the camera cut back to the trio, Pinkett Smith was visibly upset and being comforted by Willow.

During the episode, Simpkins opened up about her grief after Kryst’s death, as well as talking about her daughter’s “high-functioning” depression.

“Depression is not always marked by people laying in bed,” Simpkins said. “There are people who are high functioning and getting through the day. Cheslie wore the face.”

She also spoke about the day Kryst died, including the final text she received from her daughter. “I would read some sentences and then I would just collapse,” she said.

Kryst died on January 30. Her body was discovered at the foot of the 60-storey Orion building in Manhattan at about 7.15am.

Shortly before, Kryst posted on her Instagram, writing: “May this day bring you rest and peace.”

Kryst, who was a lawyer, won the competition in 2019 and also worked as a presenter on the entertainment news programme Extra in the US.

Kryst followed in the footsteps of Simpkins, a former Mrs North Carolina, in pursuing pageantry. As a teenager, she won several local titles, before competing for the crown of Miss North Carolina. On her second attempt in 2017, she placed as first runner up, but when winner Caelynn Miller-Keyes was unable to take part in Miss USA owing to the filming of the reality television show The Bachelor, Kryst was called up, and eventually went on to win the title as Miss USA 2019.

The same year, she represented the US in the Miss Universe competition, where she placed in the top 10.

Cheslie Kryst's pageant journey in pictures:

Updated: May 05, 2022, 11:54 AM