Last Updated (Monday, 16 February 2009 14:31)
Susie Castillo landed the title of Miss USA in 2003 and since then has quickly gained success as an MTV Host, the face of Neutrogena, actress and now author. Susie gave YBI an exclusive interview on how pageant life has changed her, why she wrote her book and what she looks for in a makeup artist & hair stylist...
YBI: How did your experience in the Miss USA pageant influence you, as a person and in your career?
SC: My year as Miss USA was incredible! It was, essentially, what launched me into the world I'd been trying to get into for years...the entertainment industry. And it's extremely difficult to break into, so this pageant was my shot. So I worked my butt off, studied footage of past pageants, noticed trends with past winners, practiced my meanest cat walk ;) and tried to do my best to be prepared to win when my time came. And it paid off.
Now, thanks to all the hard work, I've been a host on MTV, one of just a few spokespersons for Neutrogena and an actor...with many more roles to come! So the way it influenced me the most was to prove, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that if you want something bad enough, personally or professionally, and are willing to do what it takes, any goal is attainable. I carry that knowledge with me in every aspect of my life and it helps me to continue to succeed.
YBI: Do you feel like you're a role model for Latina women?
SC: I hope that I am, and that young women look to me and find inspiration and hope...Latin women especially. I was very fortunate to have a wonderful role model in both my mother and grandmother. Their guidance and support is what brought me to where I am today. But many young women today have no one to look to for that sort guidance. So in everything I do, I try my best to think about what kind of repercussions my actions will have, positive or negative...something important many celebs apparently disregard. If there was only one young woman out there who found inspiration in something I've said or done or from my new book, "Confidence Is Queen", I'm proud of that. And hopefully by writing my book, I'll become a role model to far more young women out there who will see that through hard work, dedication and perseverance, our dreams are attainable.
YBI: Why did you decide to write your book Confidence is Queen? (What do you hope readers will take away from it?)
SC: Going back to the last question, I really want to be a positive role model for our youth. When I was Miss USA, I traveled the country telling my story: the story of a girl who had many odds stacked against her but was able to overcome with the help of her single mother. However, far too many stories start the same way, but end much differently. I want to try to change that for our youth. If I can help any one out there realize that there is hope and great things can be achieved through hard work, then writing this book served a purpose. When I read books that inspire me, it's an amazing feeling. Hopefully people who read my book will feel something similar.
Over the past 5 years, the top questions I always get from my fans are, "How did you become Miss USA?" and "How did you become an actor and television host?" So, I also decided to write, "Confidence Is Queen" to share all of my secrets to success...because they shouldn't be secrets! I want to share what has worked in my life as I continue to live my dream in hopes that the reader will apply my 4 Keys to Success to their life and live out THEIR dreams.
YBI: What qualities do you look for in your beauty support staff (i.e. Hair Stylists, Makeup Artists)
SC: The qualities I look for in a hair stylist, make-up artist, etc. are talent, honesty, and kindness. I like to work with people who will tell me the truth...not what they THINK I want to hear. Too many times in the entertainment industry, people are afraid to tell celebrities that they don't look good, whether it's because their hair looks bad or their outfit doesn't match or whatever. If my outfit doesn't look good, tell me! And of course talent is a must...I always need to look great when I'm in the public eye and I depend on my team to help me. Oh, and Kindness is a must!!! I only work with good people.
YBI: What’s next for Susie Castillo?
SC: I'm happy to say that I just shot a small part in an Indie film called, "The Heart Breaker", which will be released early in 2009. I'm also continuing to audition for Film and TV roles. In the near future, I plan to write a second book about competing in the Miss USA Pageant...it'll be a how-to guide to kicking butt at Miss USA. I remember when I decided to enter the Miss MA USA Pageant (the preliminary pageant to Miss USA), I was doing research on the pageant and found only one book! And it didn't even concentrate on the specific pageant that I was competing in! It's was like a watered-down pageant guide for any pageant. But each pageant is different and needs its own strategy...YES, there is a lot of strategy involved in pageantry if you want to win! My book will specifically focus on the Miss USA pageant. There are a lot of things that I found out along the way that would be extremely helpful for pageant contestants to know beforehand. So why not share it with the young women who aspire to be Miss USA and more? I've been there and have all the good info!