For the first time in American history, three Black women have been crowned as winners of the country’s top beauty pageants.
Cheslie Kryst, 28, won the Miss USA contest, and Kaliegh Garris, 18, won Miss Teen USA. They joined Nia Franklin, 25, who was crowned as the 2019 Miss America in September.
The three wins have become a powerful symbol of how much American views on beauty have evolved from a past marred by racism and gender stereotypes, even as black women leaders are still severely underrepresented in other fields, like corporate America or in Congress.
North Carolina lawyer Cheslie Kryst won the Miss USA title. She is a civil litigation attorney who works on behalf of prison inmates.
During her last question in the final round, she addressed the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. “What #MeToo and #TimesUp are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country, ” she said. “As an attorney, that’s exactly what I want to hear and that’s exactly what I want for this country. I think they’re good movements.”
Kryst is slated to appear in the forthcoming Miss Universe pageant, where only five Black women have ever been crowned winner.
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