When Cheslie Kryst won the Miss USA crown, it marked more than a personal triumph: It meant that for the first time, three black women are the reigning Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss America, the AP reports. The North Carolina lawyer completed the historic triple Thursday with pageant winners 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin and recently crowned 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris. "The three young women who have focused their energy on demonstrating how standards of black beauty speak for American standards of beauty are to be commended," said Thomas DeFrantz, Duke University professor. "These three standard-bearers prove that black beauty is at the heart of a 21st century American ideal," he added.
Franklin, from New York, won her title in September in Atlantic City, New Jersey, becoming the first woman also to win the Miss America crown without having to don a swimsuit. Garris, from New Haven, Conn., won her crown in April, and hopes to become a trauma nurse. Kryst, a former Division I athlete and attorney at Poyner Spruill LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina, won her crown in Reno, Nevada. She holds an MBA from Wake Forest University. "Mine is the first generation to have that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity, strength, and empowered women. I'm looking forward to continued progress in my generation," said Kryst, after accepting her crown. She now advances to the Miss Universe competition. (What happened to Miss Teen Universe is very sad.)