This week we’re looking for hope in moments of hopelessness and discussing the impact that the tragic death of Cheslie Kryst has had on the pageant world, and on me personally.
This week we’re looking for hope in moments of hopelessness and discussing the impact that the tragic death of Cheslie Kryst has had on the pageant world, and on me personally.
The suicide of former Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst, was a shock and a wake up call. This week we’re discussing hope and bringing awareness to the mental health issues that your friends, colleagues, and loved ones may be silently grappling with.
I see an epidemic of hopelessness around me right now, and I’m here to share a simple, powerful message: THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE.
Cheslie seemingly had it all: beauty, brains, and a platform to share her message with the world. But mental health and wellness issues can happen to anyone, even someone who seems to have it all. Cheslie’s death is a tragic reminder that no one is immune to mental health struggles, and that we need to talk about them openly, honestly and without judgement or stigma.
In this episode, Zac and I discuss the stresses that our fast paced, modern lives puts on all of us. I share my own personal ups and downs to demonstrate that there is always light at the end of the tunnel in times of hopelessness. I promise you that everything happens for the good, and if you’re feeling hopeless right now, it will get better.
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Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Resources:
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*This transcript was auto-generated*
Zac Miller: [00:00:00] Hey everyone. It's Zac here. I just wanted to let you know that this episode may not be for every listener because we discussed the death of Cheslie Kryst who tragically took her own life recently. If you're in the U.S. and you're struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please get help and consider calling the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1 800 273 8255.
News Anchor: Cheslie Kryst's cause of death has officially been ruled a suicide. This according to the New York city office of chief medical examiner, who confirmed the news to people one day after an autopsy on Monday, the former miss USA died Sunday, January 30th at the age of 30 Kryst's family is remembering her as a great light that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength.
They added in a statement on Sunday, she cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined.[00:01:00]
Kim Gravel: Heavy, heavy, heavy, heartbreaking Zac to listen to this. When I found out about this, everybody in the pageant community was blowing my phone up. You know, Kim, have you heard, have you heard, have you heard?
And I think it's so shocking because of course they were reaching out to me because I'm in the pageant world and have been in the pageant world for decades. And as a former queen, you know, all of my Ms. Georgia, former Queens were reaching out all of my students passed girls that I've trained, you know, her being a miss USA, 2019, it was shocking to the world because she seemingly had it all right.
Zac Miller: Right. From the outside, she looked like she had the perfect life.
Kim Gravel: This should be a red flag to everybody to say, you know, you never know where someone's coming from, just because it looks shiny and amazing on the outside. You never know what someone has going on in someone's [00:02:00] head and home and in their environment, but it was a shocker.
And I think it is a big alarm sounding to all of us when it's concerning mental health don't use act.
Zac Miller: Yeah, definitely. So many people are having mental health issues.
Kim Gravel: And so many young people. She was so young. I mean, her accomplishments, she was a journalist, an entrepreneur, an attorney, a social activists, the accomplishments at such a young age with so many ahead of her, you know, I guess, including her family, I just send absolute condolences and prayers and all good things to this family because no one has got to be heartbreaking, but I don't think that this happened in vain.
I think this is a wake-up call.
Zac Miller: Yeah. What do you mean by that?
Kim Gravel: A lot of people listening and including myself, [00:03:00] Zac. I have had moments of hopelessness. I think it's an epidemic. I mean, even more so than the pandemic. I think now people are, they feel hopeless. Their hope has been deferred and there's this famous scripture.
I love it. It's in the Bible and it says, hope deferred makes the heart grow sick. And that is so true. A person without hope. I can only imagine what. You know, Cheslie was feeling at that moment, but was she hopeless that she felt like there was nothing in the future and did it make her heart heavy in grow sick, but I'm wondering like if everybody listening, you know, um, my very best friend, Amy, her father committed suicide and she said, looking back.
She could see the signs or [00:04:00] see that desperation or hopelessness. But in it, she did not recognize that, but I mean, there's even a lot of us that feel hopelessness that, that don't take it to the final destination or suicide, but maybe, you know, we are giving up something in our lives. Maybe we are giving them.
You know, chasing our dreams or giving up our families or, you know, it's a laying down of something because you feel like there is no hope. I'm here to tell you that there is hope. There's always hope in. What it seems like is that everything is working against you. Seeing that there is hope, but there is, and I'm not a clinical psychologist.
I can't tell you the psychology behind it. I can only tell you what I've experienced personally. Every time I get to a place where. A tinge of depression. And I don't throw that word around lightly because I think there's levels of that, but sure of [00:05:00] anxiety I think is at an all time high. I don't know the statistics on any of that, but I can see it around me.
Zac Miller: Let's do a little bit of research knowing that we were going to talk about this today. So I have a CNBC article here that says 51% of young Americans say they feel down depressed or hopeless. 51%. This is from May 2021.
Kim Gravel: Geez. Read that again, Zac.
Zac Miller: 51% of young Americans say they feel down depressed or hopeless.
Kim Gravel: Yeah. It's the hopeless part we got to lean into here. And I want to, I really want to talk from my heart here on this podcast. And please know that again, I am no expert on this, except for what I have lived in my short 50 years. But being down and feeling disappointed and feeling de-motivated and feeling a tinge of, you know, [00:06:00] depression, I think is something, everybody experiences.
It's that word hopelessness that is something, you've got to recognize within yourself and put a definite definitive answer to that because don't ignore that. So what I'm trying to say, and in that hope, you know, by definition means a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Many times I just know in my personal success and failures, the expectation.
Of something happening within my life has been the best part of like a lot of things I've been expecting for Zac and I've gotten it when I get it. I'm like, huh. It was the expectation of it coming. It's almost like, um, I say this a lot of times, the, the lead up in the passionate love affair or, you know, that [00:07:00] dating experience is so much better than the actual, you know, sexual experience.
It's that expectation it is. And, and, and the journey and experiencing these amazing. You know, God given experiences that we get, but hope is that feeling of expectation that something is coming, a certain thing is going to happen. It's also a feeling of trust that, you know, it's unseen. You can't see it.
It's it's hope is faith to be able to know there's something coming that's going to happen. It's that expectation. I think that's where maybe Cheslie didn't have. She didn't have. Hope of something coming that's better. And there's always something coming that's better. Always.[00:08:00]
Zac Miller: Kim, I have a question for you. You were Miss Georgia. You know the pageant world, you know the kind of pressure that these young people are under. So Cheslie won Miss USA, and I can understand how that might feel like it's all downhill from here. Right? I mean, can you speak to that a little bit?
Like what kind of pressure do you feel when you win such a big thing as a pageant that.
Kim Gravel: Well, keep in mind, you know, pageants are like the Super Bowl for women, you know, it's that, you know, the big game and the Super Bowl where you're having that ultimate moment, you know, for women and you work so hard with a single-minded focus of preparation to be.
That representative of every young little girl in this country. And, you know, quite frankly in the universe, that's where she went and competed ultimately. And I think [00:09:00] once you stepped down from that, it's a high, like no other. Yeah. So you get to that pinnacle on that level at a young age and then you step down and you're like, well, what's next?
Right. What else do I have to be hopeful and working towards? So it's important for young people. I'm not going to just say young women, but young people and old people too. I'm not trying to, you know, if you're not dead six feet over, you're not done. So he's still got something for you. But I think it's, it's important to remember that our purpose in our passions do not die or end after an event. I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt quote that says" small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and great minds [00:10:00] discuss ideas." I'm going to put a spin on it and say, great minds always have hoped for what's next. So sometimes when you, after an event, You know, you can't your whole life can't be revolved around just people.
Your whole life can't be revolved around just an event. It has to be this greater purpose. So the miss USA, the miss America, or the whatever is your thing is the vehicle and the platform to get you to another level, to your purpose. But you, you can't hang on to things. That are past. So what would you say, Kim?
What are you trying to say? That always be looking ahead and appreciating the present. Yeah. Just always know there's something bigger and better. I use my mom as an example all the time because she's 74 and she is. You know, my [00:11:00] model might one of my brand models for Belle by Kim Gravel and Belle Beauty, and she's on TV.
You know, living her best life. She was a model when she was younger and in pageants and all that, that she would say to me, well, I'm old and I'm done. And then bam, look at this, it's a renewal. So what I'm saying to you, you're only done. If you say you're done, right. There's always something out there for you.
Zac Miller: Well, it's like to put so much of who you are in so much effort into one goal and then to achieve that goal. I can imagine feeling like, okay, now what?
Kim Gravel: Well, and also she was involved in so many things in it and I don't know the specifics around Cheslie. All I know is she was an extraordinary young woman.
And still is like, we're talking about Cheslie in a way of appreciation and celebration because her life was well lived in, we don't know the circumstances. [00:12:00] Why it ended, but we do know that when she was here, she was doing good. I mean, she was very aware of her mental health.
I mean, she often wrote about it and spoke about it. That was one of her social activism platforms was that, so we know she was well aware of it and very, you know, open about it and authentic about it, which makes me even love her more. But, you know, life can be magical. It can be a brick, but you've got to shift your perspective because y'all, we have so much hope.
I know it doesn't seem like it. And I don't know where you are in your life and what you're going through, but know that you got Zac and I here, as you're listening, knowing that I love you. And I know God has something amazing for your life. I know. I don't even know who's sitting on the other side of this, listening to this, but you've got to know, I know it from personal experience.
Y'all I'm not just pulling right, Zac. I'm [00:13:00] not just pulling pie out of the sky here. I'm not just blowing sunshine up your crack. I'm not, I'm telling you, you have something amazing ahead of you, but you have to be hopeful about it. Get your expectation back. Do you know what I'm saying there?
Zac Miller: Well, it's all about those expectations.
I think that you saying that to me, something clicked, right? The silliest thing could go, like if I expect to be able to have two hours to myself on Saturday and I don't get that because you know, my kid throws up or whatever. Right. Real talk, real talk here. It hurts. And it's like, well, what am I, what, why?
Because I had that expectation.
Kim Gravel: But this is what I want to say. You have that expectation, whether it's good or bad.
Zac Miller: So what are the bad expectations?
Kim Gravel: People don't just float through life, feeling nothing. The problem is our perspective. The problem is [00:14:00] what we're focusing on and what we're focusing on in what we're expecting.
I struggle with this with my oldest Beau and he is from a personality standpoint, if you were taking one of those personality tests, he'd be considered a five or a melancholy. You know, he's one of those, the glass is half empty. He's a critical thinker. He's an analytical person. He can read the room.
He has intuitive analytical skills off the charts. I mean, total 1000%. Way ahead of his time in that totally gifted. Yep. Jumps in. But at the same time, he doesn't, he's having a hard time managing. It becomes it's coming across negative. And I tell him, I said is because what you're focusing on, what your expectation is.
And honestly, Zac, when Beau comes home and I say, how was so-and-so? And he'll say [00:15:00] so-and-so is, I don't know. I'm like, oh God, no, please go. Cause he's never. Okay. Like, he always can nail people in an instant, like he can always read people and I'm just like, Lord, please. You know? Cause it's hard to drag him back from that.
And that been focused on what is really great about this person or what is really the experience he's going to have with this person. So what I'm saying is it's what you're focusing on in that expectation. I hope I'm not being confusing here when I'm saying this, but cause I don't want to be trite. I don't want to negate.
You know, the crappy things that happen in our lives because they're real.
Zac Miller: And your feelings are real too. Whatever you're feeling right now is real. No one's saying it's not. And it matters. Right? What I think that's the other thing that can be hard is so many people who pretend to know don't allow for you to just own those feelings and just your feelings are real.
Kim Gravel: [00:16:00] And people want to be validated, their feelings want to be validated, but if I'm just speaking to people individually on how to renew their hope in their lives and the world in their careers and in their children in their own personal pursuits, I would say, start expecting good.
Zac Miller: Say that again, Kim.
Kim Gravel: Everybody out there listening. Start looking at your circumstances differently. That's the first thing I would say. And I'm preaching to the choir here. I've had to do this just last week. I've had to say, I mean, I have these emotional feelings, but I have to click into this mental choice to say, this is not that ban. This is here to teach me something.
I'm going to expect something good is coming from this. You know, there's also a scripture that says, God works all things together for the good, [00:17:00] for those who love him, but he works all things together by all. That means financial ruin death. Jail drug addiction, depression, anxiety, birth of a baby of a brand new love.
Your kid gets an a on the science test when he thought he was going to fail it. I mean, fill in the blank. He works all things together for the good, there's your hope. There's your expectation that even though it might be in the gutter right now, whatever you're going through in your life expect. Better expect more because it's there.
You gotta put that in front of this. It's coming, right. It's coming hope is a verb
Zac Miller: ANd nothing stays still.
Kim Gravel: No. Please. After what we've been through with this pandemic. [00:18:00] Perfect example. I was going to QVC three days a week, so I would fly out and spend two or three nights away from my children away from my husband. Now, granted, I would love to do that at least once every two months now, full disclosure. I need a little space.
Zac Miller: That sounds pretty nice.
Kim Gravel: Right? Exactly. I mean, I had my own apartment. It was fantastic. I was watching all of my favorite shows and it was a great little Mexican restaurant right there. Just walk to. It was so fantastic. I was having a lot of anxiety and a lot of, you know, houses come work out house. I mean, I can't tell you how many times I would call Amy on the, on the way to the airport to fly there or fly home and just cry and say, I can't keep this up, but I know the business is massive and I've been working my whole life for this opportunity.
And yet I can't keep [00:19:00] this up.
Zac Miller: Well, let's pause for a second. Can you define the feelings that you were feeling? Cause I could say something, but I don't want to speak for your feelings.
Kim Gravel: Hopeless.
I thought I'm going to have to give up one of them. I felt like I don't see any hope in this situation. How can I grow this business? Okay. So here I am, I was hopeless in, I know, you know, for whatever reason I was feeling mom guilt and everything else. I would have these shoots. I kept, I don't know what we're going do.
I mean, we would have these open conversations about this.
Zac Miller: Well, because you knew that it was unsustainable.
You want to live your life in a certain way and you want to be there for your family, you know, obviously you've got to be. Look, before I had kids, I was on the road 250 days a year making TV.
And as soon as I had kids, I was like, I can't do that. I can't do that. [00:20:00]
Kim Gravel: It's all of that, but then how does it work out? And so I had to really trust it, you know, I, I didn't give it up and then the pandemic hit and then I thought, oh, I get a break. I get a break of not traveling.
This is nice. I thought, wow. You know, maybe, and we kept growing and growing and long story short, it doesn't look like we're ever going to be traveling back to QVC. I have studios in my home, you know, I have opportunities here to film and be able to grow the business. But what if I had let that hopelessness causeme to quit one or the other during that process?
What if I had not trusted and had hopeful expectation that it was going to work out. What a shame, right?What a shame that would have been if I had to quit QVC. [00:21:00] So that's what I'm saying. It's going to work out. It's all working together for the good, for your good, it's hard to see in the hardest part is waiting, but waiting with expectation and hope.
I believe it's the key.
Zac Miller: How do you find those opportunities? Like within the hope you know, you're hoping for these things, how do you shift that waiting and that feeling hopeless and if you're able to do that mindset shift and get to a place where you feel like there's hope and you see the light at the end of the tunnel, how do you then take advantage of the opportunity when it comes?
Or how do you see it when it comes? Is it obvious?
Kim Gravel: Well, the beautiful thing about age Zac is that you realize nothing matters. Really we're here. We procreate. We [00:22:00] leave. We hopefully find out what we're supposed to do in this life. Do a little bit of it, and then we die. So I know that sounds kind of morbid and crazy, but it's true.
You know, this too shall pass. I mean, there's so many things that I used to get, so worked up about the hard me up ascended, mad, depressing. How's this ever going to check? It just hit me one day. I was like this, none of this matters. And also do this, I say to myself, if it's not going to matter in five years, don't don't stress it.
Zac Miller: Wow. I've never thought of that.
Kim Gravel: If it doesn't matter in five years, I mean, there's things I was worried about and it probably took five years off my life and I thought, I don't even know what it is. I can't even tell you what it is right now. And that comes with age. But you said something, what is for you will come to you.
It will, if you were and wait. That's the key. Wait for it [00:23:00] and wait well for it. Don't wait in panic, depression, anxiety, weight in passion and purpose in, um, excitement. And that's easier said than done.
Zac Miller: But it's an active waiting, like, so you're saying wait. Waiting to me, makes it sound like, okay, well I'm on the couch and I'm watching Netflix and I'm, you know my thing will come to me.
That's not what you're saying. Right. You're saying that like, it's still, you're working toward this.
Kim Gravel: It sounds easy, but you know, easier said than done, but you know, leave a little room for magic and look for the serendipity, for the unexpected, have a plan, work the plan, but be flexible.
You know, a lot of people have no hope because they have nothing to look forward to, I mean, that is the definition of hope, but you've got to plan in any place in your life, but don't get too attached to it. [00:24:00] Like life is magical. I mean, I can't tell you, I mean, last night I was supposed to do this segment on this news outlet in, they sent a crew to my house.
They set up downstairs, it took them an hour and a half. And I had put all my pushup bra and you know, fixed my hair and got my lip gloss and did my contouring put my skinny girdle on the whole nine yards, you know, to get ready for this. And I sat down with Mike, I had my inner ear, my IBF, and I'm sitting there and it was canceled 30 seconds before it was to go live.
And I thought, crap, I could have gone to bed early. I mean, I started going through the little whiny complaining stuff and an hour and a half later the camera man and I were still in my basement talking about this theory thing. And he said, you know what, Kim? I don't believe me coming here was to do that on air [00:25:00] interview.
I said, oh no, leave room for serendipity. Wow.
Zac Miller: That's the amazing thing about you, Kim, you will talk to the camera man until so an hour and a half later. So it's 11:30 at night.
Kim Gravel: 11:30. We're in our basement. You know, this miraculous thing that just happened to him, he was in a car wreck. He cried and I cried and I was just sitting there thinking to myself and we're totally opposite.
Couldn't be further in, you know from the spectrum, he was a younger guy. I'm older, you know, just everything about it. And I just thought to myself, you know what? I learned something from him, it was magical. It was really magical. And we think it's the experience or events. It's the moments.
It really is. It's not, it's not an event. It's not a, it's not actually the actual person. It was that [00:26:00] magical thing that happened between two people that gave me hope because he was a younger man. I thought, you know, there is hope for these young people. I see it. I see the passion. I see it all.
I think back to how we started this podcast about Cheslie and I think to myself, wonder what she thought was in her future, or wasn't wonder what she was hoping for in, or was she hopeless? You know, we'll never know, but to everybody listening. And again, I am no expert. I know nothing. I say this all the time.
I'm the wisest person I know. And I've said that to several like huge audiences and I hear a gasp like, oh my gosh, she's so cocky. And I followed that up by saying, [00:27:00] I'm the wisest person I know, because I know, I don't know anything. And you don't have to know it all. Or quite frankly, anything cause none of us really do.
And you don't have to have your life planned out and you don't have to have the perfect marriage or the perfect job, the perfect body, or even a really good body. You ain't got to heavy. The one, you don't have to be the smartest in the room. You don't have to be, you know, the prettiest, the most talented, but what people are looking for now is hope.
If you can be a hopeful individual. To encourage people on social media or the people you meet. It could be the camera guy in your basement on a random, you know, Wednesday night. That is what makes the magic in your life because it renews your sense of we're all the same, just in different [00:28:00] ways. But can I just tell you people like, yeah, yeah, yeah community. I mean, I get it. That's what people do. I mean, you know, you hear it at nauseum because what's in it for me, what's in it for you is that you are fearfully and wonderfully my made and you have big things in your life, whether you believe it or not check what you're expecting and get some hope back in it because he's not done with you yet.
Zac Miller: And you matter, right.
Kim Gravel: You matter.
Zac, I'm telling you this is what's wrong with a lot of people is they don't see any future, but you know what? I challenge you to have some hope because if you, if you wait and wait well and do a little bit of work along the way, you'll see, you'll have your moment.
It will work out. I promise you it will work out. Don't [00:29:00] fight it, lean into it. It will work out. And I say this all the time, too. This is another thing I got from my grandma. She was, if you don't like what you're getting, change what you're giving, you know, if you don't like what's going on now?
Change what you put your focus on. If you don't like what you've got in your life, check out what you're giving in your life. I mean, it's, it's just, it's it sounds simple. I know is hard. But it works. And like I said, I don't know much of nothing. I ain't no psychologist. I can't tell you all the ins and outs by them.
I can't tell you all the statistics behind all that mess. I just know for me it works and it has worked over and over and over again.
Zac Miller: Right. You, Kim, are one of the most open and vulnerable people.
Kim Gravel: But I'm terrible, Zac. I have been yelling at. I am so pre-menopausal, my hormones are so out of whack that my friends called me and said, girl, you need to get on [00:30:00] these watermelon peach CBD things.
They're a little gummy bear. True story. My sister and her best friend, Jody. She works with us. You have Jody out. And they sat me down at Belle Manor last week. And I was just, I was on fire. My nose my ears my hairs were singed. I mean, everything I did, that was me and Alison my sister, just, so this is a true, and I'm not laughing about it.
Y'all if anybody can relate to me, please email me. I'm pre-menopausal my hormones. One day I could kill you the next day. I love you. I'm sitting there and my sister goes. She said, I just want to have a little bit of an intervention with you Kim. She says, we believe that you need to get on some CBD gummies to level out your hormones.
True story. [00:31:00]
It is a true story. And I thought, what are they? Let me know. But I'm just telling you no matter what you're going through. We all go through. I'm terrible. I'm an awful person at heart, but it's not, but for the grace of God, that I'm a decent kind person. So quit trying to be perfect. You're not, I'm not, we're all not, but what we can be it's hopeful.
I do believe that. I believe there's hope in everybody.
Zac Miller: Can we just take a step back? Did you try the CBD gummies? Are they good?
Kim Gravel: No, but I'm praying about it. I really am. They're Expensive. I went online to see, you know. Alison and Jody would know the exact kind. No judgment. I'm just saying they're expensive.
I'm thinking about it. It's worth a try. You know, I probably need to get a little bit more sleep and quit eating sugar. I think I'm going to [00:32:00] try that because they say the sugar is the devil and that makes you angry and depressed. That's a whole nother podcast. We actually need to have that time to do that podcast where you talk about how food affects your mood, you know, But I've tried to cut out a little bit of sugar, like half of my sugar intake, and I do feel more energetic and happy. So more to come on that. But, um, no, I haven't tried it yet, but I'm not counting anything out mean.
But all the moms sitting there listening to it can relate.
Zac Miller: Well, no one's perfect. But I think that is so worth just saying and saying again, and having these conversations and checking in with ourselves and the people we love.
Kim Gravel: Yes. I want to take this, this as we close this podcast out, I want to, I want to take a moment to speak to the family of Cheslie Kryst and just say what an amazing woman. Let's celebrate her life.
What she [00:33:00] taught us, what she's shown us in her life and in her death that you know what an amazing young woman, beautiful, smart, intelligent. We can't forget that because she made such a difference in this world and she's making a difference still, you know, reaching out to her family. Just to tell you guys, we love you, we're praying for you, but, all things work together for the good of those who love him in and she will be missed, but yet at least on LOL with Kim Gravel, we're going to celebrate our Miss USA 2019.
She'll always be our Miss USA. And so Cheslie Kryst, we love you. Thank you for all of your amazing accomplishments that you've given to us. And, we'll never forget you. My love, you will always be wearing a crown in our heart. We love you so much. And everybody that's listening to this take time to be grateful for something .
[00:34:00] Just say in your mind to yourself, one or two things that you're hopeful for in your future, because you've got a bright future and always remember to believe in your own beauty and know that you're fearfully and wonderfully made. Until next time, this is, Kim and Zac saying always live out loud, love out loud, laugh out loud, and I'm just going to throw it out there.
We're going to hope out loud. All right. We love you,.
If you love the show, make sure to follow LOL with Kim Gravel in your favorite podcast app. New episodes come out every Thursday. LOL with Kim Gravel is produced and edited by Zac Miller at Uncommon Audio. Theme music by Taco Pella. Head to lolkim.com for more information, and to join our mailing list.
Thanks for listening.