personal advice ● crowning concepts
By Susie Castillo and
TM By creating their own scientiﬁc
study of the world of pageantry, former
Miss USAs Susie Castillo and Shandi
Finnessey are offering young ladies
the competition advice of a lifetime
F or the ﬁrst time in pageant history, two former
Miss USAs have joined forces and are offering
their pageant and entertainment industry expert-
ise to aspiring women with hopes of following in
their footsteps. Susie Castillo and Shandi
Finnessey—Miss USAs 2003 and 2004, respectively—have
created “The Pageantology TM Workshop” as a means of of-
fering world class, proven winning advice to girls who are
ready to take their competitive instincts to the next level.
Both young women have established themselves as suc-
cessful entertainers with careers in the television industry
and beyond. Now they have put together an in-depth look
at what it takes to win any competition at any level.
This great quote from Malcolm S. Forbes is the inspira-
tion for our ﬁrst Pageantology TM article: “Diamonds are
nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.”
Preparing for a pageant is like working a fun job. Win-
ning Miss USA was not our ﬁrst attempt at a national title.
Susie competed in Miss Teen USA 1998 as Miss Massa-
chusetts Teen USA and Shandi competed in Miss Ameri-
ca 2002 as Miss Missouri. We had desires of winning the
national titles. We had dreams of being Miss Teen USA
and Miss America, but were both sadly disappointed to not
even make the semiﬁnals during the live telecast. What felt
like a tremendous letdown soon proved to be exactly what
we needed to motivate each of us to go after the title of
Miss USA. We knew what it felt like to miss out on our
dreams. So while going after the crown of Miss USA, we
each decided to not let that dream slip away again.
We believe the girl who wins the crown is most often the
one who wants it the most. Not just the girl who has
dreams and desires, but the one who really sets her mind to
it and goes after it. You see, the more you want it, the hard-
er you’ll work to get there. And if you’re working hard that
means you’ll be better prepared.
Does this sound like you? If so, you need to prove it to
yourself by making that commitment to yourself today.
WHY DO I WANT TO WIN?
When answering this question, be as authentic as possi-
ble. No girl really decides to compete in a pageant in order