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Date Posted: 00:25:49 12/01/19 Sun
NYP Features - Miss USA 2019 - Cheslie Kryst
Kryst's outfit for the National Costume portion of the Miss Universe pageant, happening Friday, nods to Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (the wings), Rosie the Riveter (headband), Statue of Liberty (crown and torch) and Lady Justice (the scales she's holding).
Photo: Stephan Yang; Makeup: Markphong Tram using Lancome
Miss USA Cheslie Kryst reveals national costume for Miss Universe
By Marisa DellattoDecember 1, 2019 | 12:11am
“Oh my God, stop it,” cries Cheslie Kryst. “She’s perfect!”
The reigning Miss USA is in a design studio in the Garment District, and it’s the first time she is seeing the sparkly gold outfit she’ll wear in the Miss Universe Pageant on Dec. 8.
Formerly Miss North Carolina, Cheslie Kryst was crowned Miss USA in May.AP
The look — which draws inspiration from a famous author, the Statue of Liberty and a World War II icon — is for the National Costume Show, which happens a few days before the main event. Although it does not count toward contestants’ final scores, the costume exhibition lets the women show off what their country means to them, usually in the most flamboyant way possible.
Among the wildest looks from recent years have been Miss Thailand dressed as a tuk-tuk rickshaw in 2015, Miss Vietnam wearing a basket of bread in 2018 and Miss Sweden costumed as Pippi Longstocking in 2017, complete with a giant cardboard horse.
The Post can exclusively reveal the get-up Kryst, 28, will wear at the Atlanta competition.
“I wanted to think of a way to combine several iconic American women into one costume,” said the former Miss North Carolina, who helped design her dress with a team at Izquierdo Studio, which has also worked with Madonna, Heidi Klum and Lady Gaga.
The knotted headband and denim gown painted gold are inspired by Rosie the Riveter. “She represents power and empowerment and how women contribute to society,” said Kryst.
The crown and torch — which shoots confetti) are nods to Lady Liberty. “She speaks to freedom,” Miss USA added.
The towering wings reference Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and symbolizes “creativity and authenticity,” Kryst says.
Lastly, the beauty queen will carry the scales of Lady Justice, the moral compass of the judicial system.
Martin Izquierdo designed and built Cheslie Kryst Miss USA 2019’s gown.Stephen Yang
Out of all the women who influenced her outfit, Kryst is probably best acquainted with the latter. Miss USA is also a lawyer and has a degree from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.
Kryst says that pageantry has actually helped her in the courtroom.
“People think [being a lawyer] is all about intellect, but when it comes to clients selecting their attorneys, when it comes to juries, it all comes down to likeability,” she said. “You have to be so cognizant of [that] in pageants, too.
“It’s hard to be nervous in front of a [courtroom] when you’ve been in a two-piece bathing suit in front of thousands — millions — of people on television.”
Being on a stage is in Kryst’s blood. In 2002, her mother, who works in human resources, won the title Mrs. North Carolina. Her father, a general contractor, used to compete as a bodybuilder.
In 2018, Kryst won Miss North Carolina, followed by Miss USA. She has left her civil-litigation job in Charlotte to move to Midtown. In that time she has become a correspondent for “Extra,” worked on her workwear fashion blog, WhiteCollarGlam.com, and advocated for the charity Dress for Success, which provides professional attire and tools to help women find employment.
No matter the outcome of the Miss Universe competition, Kryst, who is single, plans to stay in New York City, although she is unsure when she will return to a court room. “The law will always be there for me,” she said.
Right now she’s focused on the Dec. 6 National Costume Show and making sure her unique dress gets its finishing touches.
“I feel powerful,” Kryst said while trying on the look. “I get to wear a dress, and all of a sudden we’re talking about the history of the Statue of Liberty and Lady Justice.
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