Former Miss USA winner Cheslie Kryst said she "nearly worked herself to death" before her tragic and fatal balcony fall.
The 30-year-old plummeted from the ninth floor flat in New York City at 7:13am local time on Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Tributes have since poured in for the pageant star and TV presenter on her Instagram, where she is followed by 344,000 people.
Cheslie made history as the oldest winner of Miss USA at the age of 28 but in an essay published by Allure last year, she admitted being uncomfortable about entering her 30s.
But the beauty queen also touched on the hatred she received online while acknowledging "growing old is a treasure and maturity is a gift not everyone gets to enjoy."
Proving she was far more than a glamorous influencer, Cheslie took on three degrees including one in law degree and an MBA at the same time.
She also won a national championship with her trial team, took the top prize in multiple essay competitions, and earned national executive board positions.
In reflection Cheslie said: "I nearly worked myself to death, literally, until an eight-day stint in a local hospital sparked the development of a new perspective."
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She admitted that after every achievement she felt "emptiness" yet still chased the next goal.
Following her time in hospital, Cheslie asked herself: "Why pursue another plaque or medal or line item on my resume if it’s for vanity’s sake, rather than out of passion?
"Why work so hard to capture the dreams I’ve been taught by society to want when I continue to only find emptiness?
"Some would see this hunger and label it 'competitiveness'; others might call it the unquenchable thirst of insecurity."
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The pressure to race against peers in pursuit of doing as much as possible as soon as possible infuriated Cheslie, as did the idea that a woman is "running out of time" in her 30s.
Cheslie wrote: "A grinning, crinkly-eyed glance at my achievements thus far makes me giddy about laying the groundwork for more, but turning 30 feels like a cold reminder that I’m running out of time to matter in society’s eyes — and it’s infuriating."
But following her 29th birthday last year, the presenter and activist concluded: "I now enter year 30 searching for joy and purpose on my own terms — and that feels like my own sweet victory."
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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