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Here you will find content on platforms, interview tips, gown selection, makeup and fitness tips all centered around pageants!

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  • 4 Feb 2021 4:54 PM | Anonymous

    I grew up in an environment where pageantry wasn’t synonymous with positive.

    When I was in the fourth grade, a brochure arrived in the mail from American Coed Pageants (addressed to me!!) and I was over the moon seeing the girls in dresses and crowns, daring to imagine myself in those pictures. I wanted to be on that stage BAD, but my parents swiftly tossed aside the notion. “No way, you’re not that kind of girl.” What did that even mean?

    Fast forward 10 years. I watch my friend compete for Miss Washington County, then at Miss Oregon. I am mesmerized, and hooked. This time, I am old enough to decide for myself, and take my parents along for the ride in the Miss America system. I go on to win four consecutive titles during my college years, and graduate debt-free with the assistance of pageant scholarships. Hat tip to pageantry… and to a mom and dad who got on board.

    When my competition days were over (at least for that period of my life!), I went on to become a director and started the Miss Portland Scholarship Program. This is where my story really gets interesting.

    You see, I fervently believed that my pageant would be for everyone. Size, ability, background, politics, talent choice, wardrobe, whatever. I recruited and mentored any woman ages 18-23 who had the inkling to get on my stage and compete for the top prize I had secured for my two winners – a whole year’s worth of tuition at my alma matter, Portland State University. Those scholarships were certainly more coveted than the actual crown itself.

    The first year of my program, I was blessed to have Katie Harman choose my local as a stepping stone for her second attempt at the Miss Oregon title. This young woman had a plan, worked hard, and was more dedicated and graceful than anyone I had ever met. And she indeed won my local title, then Miss Oregon, and went on to be the very first Miss America from our state. It was surreal.

    Her big win also meant that my program had a bit of a spotlight on it, and I found myself with a plethora of contestants the following year. Some of that would be good, but some would present me with a challenge. One that I was ready to meet head on.

    Among the new registrants were three, let’s say, atypical pageant girls. The state supervisor was leery of their intentions, and suggested they not be accepted into the program. However, I pledged to make my program the most open, welcoming pageant that at least I had ever known, and use that space as a place to mentor and enrich the lives of my contestants.

    Despite some challenges I encountered in working with these particular women, I literally embraced them with open arms and did my best to help them come to understand that pageantry can be a very positive and rewarding journey.

    There were hairy armpits in evening wear, halfhearted attempts to follow the choreography, non-traditional talents of forceful poetry reading, platforms about menses (no kidding), and smirks at the girls who were too conventional for their liking. At this point my entire pageant was feeling quite unconventional, and I embraced it, doing my best to help everyone have a positive experience.

    The night of the competition arrived, and so did my contestants, some in makeup and others with beer smuggled in under a coat. Our precious Katie Harman, Miss America 2002, was there to crown the next Miss Portland, something I was immensely looking forward to. But as the evening progressed and the contestants in question started acting a little squirrely, Katie’s traveling companion insisted that she leave before crowning. I was heartbroken, but understood.

    The show ended with two new title holders, and three women ready to make a political statement. After the crowns were pinned on, a “full moon” appeared from beneath one of the contestant’s gowns, as she bent over and lifted it up in front of the audience. The curtain promptly dropped.

    A few weeks later, an article was published in a Portland alternative newspaper, chronicling one contestant’s experience in my program, peppered with snarky (albeit witty) musings on her “joke” of a pageant experience.

    I had been duped by two political protesters and a journalist. And I’d still do it all over again.

    You see, I believe so strongly in the positive benefits of pageantry that, faced with the same decision, I would not turn those girls away. I started my program on the grounds of a positive experience for everyone, and I am proud that I stuck to my conviction, even if it meant I missed out of seeing my Miss America crown my next Miss Portland. Sigh.

    The afternoon before the pageant, I had taken those girls aside for a heart to heart, asking them to support me in my work as I had supported them. But they had a plan and they still went through with it. I do believe, however, that the effort I put in specifically to welcome them and nurture them was worth it. My dreams of pageantry were dashed as a child, and I had to make it all happen for myself as a young woman. I wanted nothing more than to give that to ALL my contestants.

    I believe these girls may have had a glimmer of desire deep inside them be Miss Portland. Despite the hairy armpits and mockery, there might be a woman who could admire Miss America for her intellect, self-awareness, accomplishments and courage. She just wasn’t mature enough to look beyond the crown to recognize these strengths in other women. I hope she walked away a little closer to being able to do that.

    I consider that a win for positive pageantry.

    Darcy Castro is a speaker, content creator and advocate for children of parents with a brain tumor. She is the founder and leader of Darcy Castro Productions LLC, the Empowerment Academy and the Kindred Heart Foundation. Cultivating Respect with Darcy Castro is an initiative focused on practical ways to create respectful environments in our own little pockets of the world. The articles, podcasts and videos feature honest, thought-provoking ideas that aim to inspire and foster positive, respectful communities. Follow Cultivating Respect at DarcyCastro.com.


  • 3 Dec 2020 8:12 PM | Anonymous

    We recently ran a contest on our Facebook page about describing your platform in a few words or less, so its easily understood by anyone.  Our winner, Skylynn, has a great slogan that mattes perfectly with her platform, You can sit with me.  

    Congratulations Skylynn, great job mom on getting the verbiage down, short, sweet and concise.

    “You Can Sit With Me!”

    Skylynn platform is about bringing awareness to bullying. She wants no one to be alone, she welcomes everyone to join her in being bully free! ❤️

    Want to see how you can get featured on our site?  Join our Platform to Profit program.  

  • 15 Oct 2020 2:16 PM | Anonymous

    We've compiled a list of questions that can help your child (good for ages 8 and below) with interview.  Make sure they are giving answers that are complete, meaning not one word answers.  Be sure to have them write out their answers first, then practice them verbally.

    What s your favorite color?

    What is your favorite animal?

    Do you have any pets?

    Tell us about your favorite book?

    What is your favorite movie?  What did you like most about it?

    What do you like to do after school?

    What are your hobbies?

    Tell me about your best friend

    What is your favorite food?

    Where do you want your family to take you on your next vacation?

    What do you want to be when you grow up?

    What makes you sad/mad/happy/laugh

    What's your favorite subject in school?

    If you were a butterfly for one day, where would you like to go?

    If you found $100 what would you do with it?

    What do you like most about competing in pageants?

    Do you play sports/music/dance?

    If you were a superhero for one day, what would you change to make the world a better place?

    If a new boy or girl started school with you, how would you become their friend?

    Who do you sit with at lunch?

    If your friend was being picked on at school, how would you help her (or him)? How would you make them feel better?


    Looking for additional coaching for your child?  Lets talk.

  • 13 Oct 2020 11:19 AM | Anonymous

    Finding the right pageant system can be a time consuming process and one filled with lots of conflicting opinions.  A decision should be based on your findings and how you are feeling about the pageant, not how others feel.  I have compiled a list of the top 5 things you need to consider during your search.  

    Do you OWN research.  Your own research should include checking out the pageant website, checking reviews, review sponsors and prize packages.  If they are offering something that sounds too good to be true, well, it probably is.  If they only have a fan page, make sure you ask the Director when they will put up a website.  You want to ensure the pageant is vested with time and money into their own system and a website is a good indicator.  Red flags always come up for me when they only have a Facebook fan page, those can be easily created and taken down at no cost within minutes.

    Take others reviews/references with an open mind.  You can tell the difference of someone who has a legitimate complaint about a system and those who are just complaining.  See if the system responded publicly to reviews that were negative, this shows some initiative on their part to correct problems.  You can ask around as well but at the end of the day, you must make your own decision. 

    Talk with the Director.  This step is by far the most important.  I always recommend talking to them in person or on the phone, you get a better view of how they respond and can pick up on body language that may not sit right with you, or resonate with you.  Always have a list of questions that you can ask based on your research.  I see many contestants who don't talk with director until the day of the pageant, by then, its too late if issues arise, so be proactive and chat early.

    Look at your goals for competing, do they match with the pageant mission statement.  If your goals are to raise awareness for a certain cause that may clash with the mission, it might be better to find another pageant to compete in.  You want something that will be a good fit, not an uphill battle.  

    Play your part.  After making a decision, make sure you do your part.  Participate, follow the rules and guidelines and of course have a great time competing!

    Are you looking for a pageant to compete in?  Let us help you get introductions to pageant directors, just fill out our form for help! 


  • 24 Sep 2020 1:25 AM | Anonymous

    When shopping for a gown so many contestants try to find that "winning gown", but the reality is, you are the one that wins, not the dress.  Make sure you choose it to suit you.  One element of this is the color selection of your dress.  Everyone tends to think that certain colors are winning colors, but when you look at the past winners of pageant systems, they all wear different color dresses, yellow, black, red, white, pink, etc.  One thing the winners all have in common, they chose a color that was right for them, not the pageant.

    A few tips about color to keep in mind when shopping for gowns:

    • Fabric holds color differently.  So Blush in Taffeta, and Blush in Acrylic Fiber will vary in shade.  
    • If you can get a color analysis done, do it.  Knowing what colors look best on you and make you stand out is worth the investment.
    • Don't go by what the sales person or your friends say, choose the color that you feel the most confident in, that will show in your confidence on stage and in the interview portion off stage.




  • 12 Aug 2020 8:35 PM | Anonymous

    All Pageant contestants dream of walking on stage and creating instant appeal with the Judges and audience members.  Sometimes, that doesn't happen and its due to one of the following reasons.  We've compiled the top 4 tips that can make or break your walk.

    Practice generates confidence.  Just like interview, you need to dedicate time to practicing your walk.  30 minutes a few times a week is ideal.  Try to set up markers (similar to what you will do on stage) in your garage, living room or other area.  Make sure you are walking at a steady pace and not rushing through your stage time.  

    Weight your arms.  Too many contestants make the mistake of letting their arms wave with the motion of their body, similar to when a bird is flapping its wings getting ready for take off.  Video tape your walk, if you see your arms making more movement then your legs, its an issue.  An easy fix to this is to use hand weights (1 lb) or carry something in each hand that will weight them down and train your arms to be close to your side with very little movement.  

    Use the same shoes for practice on pageant night.  A good tip to follow is to find your shoes first, this way you can practice in them.  If you find another pair of shoes that you just love, either save them for interview or start practicing in the new shoes.  This does two things, wearing the shoes breeds familiarity which helps to calm your nerves and you've broken the shoes in with your practicing so they will feel more comfortable on your feet.  

    Choose a gown that will flow with your body.  Lastly, make sure that your gown is going to flow well down the runway.  If you choose a gown that looks good while standing still but the train gets in your way or the hem isn't weighted down it can be disastrous.  So make sure you do a few practice walks in the store to make sure there are no issues with your new gown.  


    Looking for additional coaching?  We'd love to help!  Fill out our form and our office staff will be in touch.  


  • 15 Apr 2019 2:42 PM | Anonymous

    One mistake I see contestants make is not investing in themselves.  For example, they spend $3K on a gorgeous gown, $500 on accessories, makeup and hair and not investing on what comes out of their mouth or what image they portray.  A beautiful gown, won't win the crown. You need to do the internal work. 

    As a business owner, I invest in programs and business coaching every year.  Why?  We need someone to help guide us to the next level and pageantry is no different.  The interview portion of your pageant is extremely important, if you don't practice and don't work with a coach it will show during the interview.  Judges can see when you are not prepared.  Make the investment in yourself, work with a coach, there are so many great ones out there!  

  • 4 Mar 2019 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    Educate.  One of the first things that you need to do is to keep yourself educated on what is going on in your local and national news. There are several news channels that you can choose to watch. I strongly recommend that everyone subscribed to a local newspaper, as they sometimes cover more details of what's going on in your local and state communities. As a judge, I can tell you that this is where we pull a lot of questions or edit questions on current events. As a judge want to make sure that you are keeping abreast of what's going on in your community, and affecting you locally. If your newspaper comes out daily, it's easiest to peruse through it with a highlighter and highlight the titles of the articles that are relevant. For example, if there's an article about a plant that is going to be built near your city that could bring thousands of jobs into the area, that is something that will affect your area positively and could come up at a local pageant. After you're done highlighting the articles that are relevant, you can go back and read those or cut them out and highlight the parts that you like that you would want to reference in  answer to an interview question.

    Practice.  Once you start formulating your answers to current event questions, you want to make sure that you practice. If you don't have a full length mirror, I suggest you invest in one. This way you can see your body language and how you're answering the questions and what the judges would be seeing when you are in front of them during the interview process. It's better to practice your questions alone, as sometimes other people can get you sidetracked. Ask yourself the question, then pause for a moment and answer it. If you're not comfortable with your answer go back and write it out. Sometimes writing out the answer and reading it will help you to articulate your message better. Practicing is very important on current events as sometimes the outcome changes daily. 

    Relax.  You've been practicing so you've done all you can do. Your next step is to relax.   While you're waiting in line to get interviewed, here are a few relaxation techniques that you can Implement to help alleviate any anxiety. First step is to take five deep breaths, breathe in and hold it for a few seconds, and then breathe out of your mouth when you exhale. Do this slowly, five times this will help relax you. The next thing you want to do is to exercise your hands and feet. Have your hands down by your sides, and then stretch your hands out like stretching your fingers out and move them around.  This helps relax your hands so they don't tremble. For your feet, pull up one of your feet, and just start twirling it around at the ankle in One Direction, then start throwing it around in the other direction. This will help when you sit down so your feet and your legs don't tremble or start to move around as you get nervous. Do these exercises prior to entering the interview room.  Good Luck! 

  • 11 Feb 2019 3:15 PM | Anonymous

    One of the best ways to get interviewed is to create your own topic and message. If you're not sure what you would talk about or want to comment on, think about what interest you the most, about your platform, about pageants, and about your community. Here are a few tips to get you started.

    What do you feel comfortable commenting on? This is an easy one, think about what you're passionate about, what you like to talk about the most. And what do you get questioned on the most. So for example, if your platform is compassion for animals, this is a great topic that is covered periodically in the media. Write down the top 5 things about that topic that you would share with others. Also write down the top five things that you get asked the most about that topic or about that platform. Once you get started this will give you sample questions that you can give the host of a show to ask you during an interview. You also want to get very skilled at answering these questions as well.  So make sure you practice.

    What's going on in your community that is of interest to you? Always make sure you're staying abreast of what's going on in your community, and your state. These are opportunities for you to get interviewed if they have anything to do with your platform, pageant or general interest. Subscribe to your local newspaper, a few magazines, this will also help you in the interview portion of competing in pageants. You must stay abreast of current events. If you see a story in the local newspaper that covers something about your platform for example cancer research, you can always reach out to the person who wrote the article for comment. This could also lead to a separate interview which is great media exposure for you.

  • 25 Nov 2018 10:37 PM | Anonymous

    You got your platform, congrats!  Now lets get some media exposure in your city okay?

    First things first, you need to write a press release, sounds intimidating I know, but its actually very easy.  There are a few steps you need to follow and you can follow the Press Release example below.  

    Press releases need to be straightforward,  and follow any guidelines recommended by your target media outlet.  Press releases should also include the following key components:

    Contact Information.  Once the press staff read your release, they may want to reach out to you for further information. 

    Include "For Immediate Release”.  This indicates to the press that there is no holding period for publication. 

    Headline.  A headline is the opportunity to grab the Journalist's  attention. It should summarize what your news is about and encourage the reader keep reading. 

    Body.  The body is where the news story is written. The first paragraph should summarize the entire story, clearly articulating who, what, when, where, why, and how the story happened (or will happen). Subsequent paragraphs describe those same elements in further detail. 

    Boilerplate.  The boilerplate is a few sentences at the end of your press release that describes your organization, or in your case, your platform. This should be used consistently on press materials and written strategically, to properly reflect your organization.

    ###.  This indicates the end of the press release so that the journalist or editor doesn’t miss any information. If your release is longer than one page, insert “--more--” at the bottom of each page preceding the last.

    Here is a sample template you can use.

     By Kerry Kathleen

    Need some additional help with your platform?  Work with us!  


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