CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NBC Charlotte chatted with the Queen City attorney who was crowned Miss USA last week.
Cheslie khryst wowed the nation with her dedication to her career and community.
"I'm excited and thrilled that every day I get to wake up and be Miss USA," she said.
America is waking up as well. For the very first time in the pageant's 60-plus year history, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss America are all women of color.
"I think it's important to have representation. I was a little girl in Charlotte when I remember my mom winning Miss North Carolina in 2002. She was the second black woman to win that title, and I remember even then the importance of her win," Khryst said.
"I think it's important for women to understand that you can break whatever boundaries you think exist, so if you want to be Miss America, or Miss USA, or Miss Teen USA, it's possible for you whether or not you're a woman of color," she added.
A true representation of beauty and brains, Khryst continued to break boundaries as she was applauded for winning the crown in her natural curls.
"When I was younger, I used to get relaxers and chemically straightened my hair, and I thought I needed to do that to fit in, and when I got older, I thought, why am I burning my hair? I need to be my unique self," she said. "It was a moment of pride, to represent."
She's not alone. Kaleigh Garris also chose to proudly rock her natural hair when she was crowned Miss Teen USA in April. Both women set an example for women of all ages.
Khryst said she is excited to bring the Miss USA crown home to the Queen City and plans to continue advocating for Dress for Success, a nonprofit organization designed to empower women to achieve economic independence.