Latino Interest

Read an excerpt from Confidence is Queen by Susie Castillo

MTV VJ, face of Neutrogena, and former Miss USA, Susie Castillo knows first-hand what it takes to get the most out of life— confidence. In Confidence is Queen: The Four Keys to Ultimate Beauty Through Positive Thinking, Susie illustrates how readers can become the most confident, positive, and beautiful version of themselves.

Susie learned the importance of confidence through her greatest victories as well as through her greatest challenges. From detractors who felt she would never amount to anything, to her father who left her and her family when she was only six years old, it was very easy for Susie to feel discouraged and insecure. But her resilient mother taught her the power of positive thinking. It was this optimistic attitude that eventually led to the fulfillment of Susie's biggest dream—winning the Miss USA crown.

Chock-full of Susie's most prized beauty secrets, exercises for positive thinking and techniques for staying cool under pressure, Confidence is Queen is an essential guide for girls coping with today's seemingly endless list of societal pressures.

Read an excerpt from Confidence is Queen


We all have times when it seems like nothing's going our way—when it seems like everything we want is out of reach. Ever have those days when you'd rather stay in bed buried under your covers rather than face the world?

Me, too. Believe me—I've been there.

If you had asked me when I was a kid if I ever thought I'd be a beauty queen, I would have said, “No Way!” In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd enter—and then win!—a beauty pageant. Of course, like most little girls, I watched them on TV, but they seemed more like game shows to me—something to watch, but not actually do.

But I did do it. In 2003 I won the title of Miss USA. And even though I wasn't the most traditionally beautiful contestant, I think what made me stand out—and ultimately win—was my confidence. What made me change my mind about pageants? I realized that it was a great way to bring me closer to my goal of working in the entertainment industry. I always believed a girl like me could win one of those pageants. When I say “a girl like me,” I don't mean I thought I was unattractive. I never felt I was inferior to the other girls in any way. But I knew I was very different from the typical beauty pageant girl. In those days, most girls who won pageants were ultrafeminine Caucasian girlie girls with straight hair, who came from rich families and were really into makeup and clothes.

I am so not any of those things. I'm more of a jock than a girlie girl. My hair is supercurly. I ran track and played volleyball. My family was far from wealthy. And I'm Latina. On top of that, I had no idea how to pick out the right jewelry, put on makeup, or style my hair for a pageant. My usual morning routine involved tying my hair back into a ponytail and throwing on a pair of sweatpants before running out the door for school (hoping to make it to first period on time)!

Winning Miss USA confirmed what I had come to believe long before that point in my life: even though society may value a certain standard of beauty (like those blond-haired, blue-eyed, superthin model types you see on TV and in magazines), that doesn't mean it's the only standard of beauty. Being beautiful and discovering true beauty comes from the inside out. It's about you discovering what's beautiful about you, knowing the right tools to enhance your beauty, and then emanating it.

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Read Susie Castillo's posts on the Penguin Blog »