Love Island’s Sharon Gaffka sobs as she pays tribute to former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst

Love Island’s Sharon Gaffka has shared how she’s “heartbroken and sobbing” after the death of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst.

The lawyer, model and Miss USA 2019 was found dead at the age of 30 after a suspected suicide in New York in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Sharon, 25, has shared her heartbreak on Instagram, saying that Cheslie was one of her “biggest inspirations” and helped her “find peace” with who she was.

The 2021 Love Island contestant took part in pageants for several years before finding fame on the show, winning the title of Miss International UK in 2018.

Posting a photo of Cheslie to her Instagram story, Sharon wrote: “I can’t believe what I’m reading. I might not do pageants anymore and I don’t expect everyone to understand what they mean to women like me.


“Cheslie Kryst was one of my biggest inspirations. American attorney and TV presenter turned Miss USA. Strong, intelligent and beautiful. It’s because of women like her, I genuinely found peace with who I am.

“Even though I didn’t know Cheslie personally, I am heartbroken and sobbing. I am so sorry that this is how you felt like you could find your peace, and it goes to show that you genuinely don’t know what someone is going through.

“Please tell people you love them and check in on them.”

Cheslie’s family said in a statement: “In devastation and great sorrow, we share the passing of our beloved Cheslie”.

“Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength. She cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined.

“Cheslie embodied love and served others, whether through her work as an attorney fighting for social justice, as Miss USA and as a host on Extra.”

Meanwhile, Extra – the TV show where Cheslie had worked – added: “Our hearts are broken.

“Cheslie was not just a vital part of our show. She was a beloved part of our Extra family and touched the entire staff. Our deepest condolences to all her family and friends.”

Sharon won Miss International UK in 2018 but had been taking part in pageants for more than eight years before appearing on Love Island.

The star previously opened up about what it means to take part in pageants, saying it’s a place “where everyone accepts everyone”.

After the 2019 competition, Sharon told her Instagram followers: “Pageants are not for girls who love themselves. Pageants are for a group of misfits to be misfits together.

“It is literally a place where everyone accepts all kinds of crazy and teaches you to love your ‘flaws’. Girls who often felt like they didn’t have a place to belong, join the pageant community because you can never feel lonely.

“It almost acts like a bit of a double life, apart from wearing pink pyjamas and having ‘pillow fights’, it’s pretty awesome to be one of us!”

Defending her decision to take part in pageants, she continued: “To everyone who uses pageants to insult us, I feel sorry for you. Because you’re missing out on an amazing support system.”

If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.

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