Lawyer crowned Miss USA reveals she was told to wear a skirt in court because ‘male judges like seeing women argue in them rather than pants’
- North Carolina’s Cheslie Kryst was told by a female judge to wear skirt to work
- Revealed it happened in 2015 while the 27-year-old was training at law school
- During show, Kryst said: ‘Glass ceilings can be broken wearing a skirt or pants’
The prison lawyer who was crowned Miss USA Thursday night has revealed her battles with sexism in the workplace.
North Carolina’s Cheslie Kryst, 27, who represents inmates for free, beat 50 other contestants to capture the coveted title in Reno, Nevada.
During the beauty pageant, she told of how a judge at a law conference ordered her to wear a skirt to work to please men.
Cheslie Kryst, a lawyer from North Carolina who represents prison inmates for free, won the 2019 Miss USA
The 27-year-old (pictured on her first day at her law firm) revealed her struggles with sexism at work
Kryst was referring to an incident in 2015 when she was told to wear a skirt in court because ‘male judges prefer to see women arguing in skirts rather than in pants’.
She said she was even more shocked and angered because the judge who gave her the ‘advice’ was also a black woman.
Kryst added: ‘[She was] a double minority like me, who took it upon herself to accept the standards that the men in the room desired rather than fighting against them.’
She told a story at the pageant about being instructed to wear a skirt to court because ‘male judges prefer seeing women argue in skirts rather than pants’
Incident took place in law school in 2015 while Kryst was arguing imaginary cases for practice
The incident took place in moot court where law school students argue imaginary cases for practice.
Kryst added: ‘What angered me about the judge’s comment was not just that I was criticized for wearing pants, but that the judge did not have A SINGLE PIECE of constructive criticism about the 20 minute argument I had just given.’
The newly-crowned Miss USA said she didn’t blame men, she blamed ‘society as a whole’.
She said her story reflected a much bigger problem, adding: ‘Women receive feedback about our appearance before receiving feedback about our intellect; assertive women are called bossy before they are called powerful; women who talk about the inequality they face are “complaining” rather than whistleblowing.’
Before being crowned Miss USA on Thursday night, Kryst told the audience and judges: ‘Glass ceilings can be broken wearing either a skirt or pants.’
Kryst earned a law degree and an MBA at Wake Forest University before becoming a civil litigation attorney who does pro bono work to reduce sentences for inmates.
Kryst, pictured being crowned by 2018 Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers of Nebraska, took the title on Thursday night at the Grand Sierra hotel-casino in Reno, Nevada
The feminist said during the final round of the competition Thursday that she was glad to be competing in Nevada partly because it’s the first and only state in the nation with female majorities in both houses of the state legislature.
She said her colleagues at her law firm back home in North Carolina were having a watch-party Thursday night to see how she did on television.
The lawyer’s win comes after years of failed state pageant contest attempts.
She said during the final round that she was glad to be competing in Nevada partly because it’s the first and only state in the nation with female majorities in both houses of the state legislature
In a Facebook post in 2017, a day after placing in the top 10 at Miss North Carolina USA, Kryst revealed one of her deepest fears was ‘disappointing my family and friends’.
In the candid post she wrote: ‘The hardest part is looking into the faces of the people I love and seeing unhappiness (not disappointed in me but disappointed for me). What I have learned over time is that I shouldn’t be upset that I have to tell my loved ones that I didn’t bring home a victory.
‘Last night, I was top ten at Miss NC USA and, although I wanted to win, I was genuinely happy for the winner and the rest of my fellow contestants. I haven’t always been able to say that but I’m happy for my own personal growth and the lessons that I’ve learned in losing.’