Miss USA Org Opens L.A. Mental Health-Focused MISS Academy in Response to Cheslie Kryst’s Death

“The passing of Cheslie Kryst was definitely a catalyst to make these workshops,” Miss USA President told LAMag.

President of the Miss USA Organization, Crystle Stewart, is opening her second MISS Academy location in Los Angeles with an emphasis on mental health after the passing of former titleholder, Cheslie Kryst. 

“We wanted to explore this across both locations as we are aware of the mental health crisis that’s affecting young women these days from body dysmorphia to eating disorders to the pressures applied from social media, all compounded by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Stewart told Los Angeles magazine. “We knew the importance of mental health when we first opened in Houston and so these recent events have simply emphasized the need and prompted a focused response on our end. Also, we heard from various current students how much of a need they too felt this was, and so we simply responded.”

“The passing of Cheslie Kryst was definitely a catalyst to make these workshops,” she added. “We were already in talks with various mental health professionals when the news of Cheslie’s passing came. And so this just helped us expedite the process along to get the workshops up and running. It also prompted a greater response from mental health professionals, which positioned us to have a greater pool of resources from which to offer these services.”

MISS Academy will be offering group workshops in-person and virtual that focus on managing stress, anxiety, depression and suicide prevention, while providing coping skills for day to day life complications. They will also provide resources and tools for these young women to find their own mental health professional to connect with. And if young women ages 13-27 can’t afford the program, Stewart has their back.

“I founded The Crystle Stewart Foundation for this very reason,” she said. “I did not want young women to not be able to access these resources due to financial reasons. As such, The Crystle Stewart Foundation can offset the costs for young women who are at a financial disadvantage.” 

Stewart opened her first MISS Academy location in Houston, Texas when she saw a demand for young women looking to learn life skills in areas such as makeup artistry, runway technique, interview, social media etiquette, hair styling, wardrobe styling, as well as nutrition and fitness. Now that the Stewart is ready to expand her business, Los Angeles was the only city that naturally made sense. 

“Why not the entertainment capital of the world,” Stewart said. “Los Angeles was my home for many years before I moved back to Houston to open the first MISS Academy and so naturally when it came time to expand our locations and LA was at the top of the list! Not only is there a huge market for pageants in LA, but there is an even larger market for girls who want these life skills to apply to their various niches in the entertainment industry, and so I knew it was the right next step.” 

MISS Academy opens to the public in the Los Angeles area on May 23, 2022. You can enroll in the program at MissAcademy.com.

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