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Confidence is Queen: The Four Keys to Ultimate Beauty Through Positive Thinking Paperback – May 5, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Celebra Trade (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451227069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451227065
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,976,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

One of People en Español's "25 Most Beautiful People," Susie Castillo is an actress of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent. A former Miss USA, Susie models for Neutrogena and is an MTV personality. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


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.

But soon I realized that becoming a model and winning Miss USA took a whole lot more than what I mentioned during the hour-long speeches I was giving. I began to think about what I really wanted to say to these kids and considered how I could go about saying it. I realized the message I had to impart was about how I became a beautiful and successful woman through the power of positive thinking. I looked back over my life and discovered that I had created a prescriptive plan for myself that consisted of four specific parts: cultivating my spirituality, creating healthy relationships, taking charge of my image, and turning my dreams into reality. In fact, at first I didn't even realize I'd been following a set of guidelines, but now I recognize that I've been following them practically my whole life.

I think these guidelines came about through a combination of my mother's strong principles, which she instilled daily in my sisters and me, and my own internal desire to succeed. Looking back over my life, I began to analyze events in my life and characteristics of my personality. I had always done my best to be a good person and treat people with the respect we all deserve. That resulted in a deep caring for others and a true love for myself. I've always had great support from my family and always returned that love. I enjoyed fashion and tried to look my absolute best, even if I was wearing sweatpants! I've also been writing my goals down and posting them on my wall since I was fourteen years old. But like I said, it wasn't until I became Miss USA that I was able to look within myself and recognize that all those years something extraordinary had been guiding me. That's when I decided to write this book and tell my story, which is one of hope, inspiration, and truth.

I decided to call these guidelines “keys” because that's how I see them—as keys that can unlock your true strength and lead you on a path of self-discovery, empowerment, success, beauty, and ultimately, confidence. These keys are what helped me go from being a girl from Methuen, Massachusetts, to becoming Miss USA, an actor, a radio host, an MTV VJ, a spokesperson for Neutrogena, and now a published author. They are my rules to live by and I want to share them with you. I hope they will inspire you to stay true to yourself and find success in what ever it is you choose to pursue.

The Four Keys to Unleashing Your Ultimate Beauty #1 Identify and Effectively Develop Your Spirituality

It's imperative to have a strong sense of self. My first step in the journey toward confidence and true beauty was getting to know who I was and what I was made of. I call this “spirituality.” Without a strong sense of spirituality, I wouldn't have been able to achieve my goals.

I first realized the true importance of spirituality when I was in high school and became a member of our school's Peer Leadership Group. The group had a pretty impressive role in our community—we encouraged local elementary school kids to stay in school, stay off drugs, and be responsible people. As a peer leader, my job was to be an inspirational role model. By performing funny plays about being loyal, loving, dedicated, respectful, and hardworking, our goal was to instill positive character traits in our young audience, who would hopefully, in turn, inspire those around them to make positive improvements in themselves and their community.

I always felt so good about myself on those days when we performed for the kids. On those evenings in particular, while brushing my teeth before bed, I'd catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I truly loved the person I saw staring back at me. I thought, “Here's the face of a person who cares for others, someone who's a leader, someone who isn't perfect, but is happy and confident.” I felt like the most beautiful girl in the world.

What I learned from being part of that program is that having a strong spiritual center gave me more confidence than just about anything. I wasn't looking at my hair or my skin or my cheekbones when I was looking at myself in the mirror—I was looking at ME. The real me, the inner me—the giving, loving, radiant me.

#2 Embrace and Nurture Your Relationships

Everyone needs to develop a support system. Family and community were (and still are!) really important to me. My dad might not have been around, but I was able to create my own cadre of reliable people I could call on.

Talk about a support system—I had twelve aunts and uncles and about fifty cousins on my mom's side—all the family one could ever need or want! Some of them lived close by, within walking distance, so my cousins were my best friends. If someone was ever in need, family was there to give what they could to help out. That's how it always was.

Still, it was my immediate family—my mom and sisters—that I was closest to. Mami always made us feel like we came first—that everything she did was done with us in mind. I think part of the reason I want to succeed in life is because, in a way, it's like paying my mom back for all her sacrifice and hard work. I couldn't have gotten to where I am today without her, and I think she wouldn't have been able to withstand my father leaving her if it hadn't been for us and the need to make sure we were fed, clothed, and loved.

#3 Take Control of Your Health and Body Image

Your body image is a reflection of your self-control and self-love. Winning Miss USA taught me that beauty comes from the inside out. Sure, I learned a lot of tricks along the way for looking good (which I'll share with you here!), but the most important thing I learned is that if I'm beautiful internally, I'm beautiful externally, as well. There's so much more to looking good than wearing the right lip gloss (although M·A·C's Viva Glam is my fave!).

Looking good starts with having a healthy attitude toward nutrition and exercise. When I decided to give modeling a shot, I wanted to appear as physically fit and healthy as I could. I wanted to achieve that from the inside out, so I started by altering my diet. I added more fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet, drank more water and natural juices, and then I began to include strength training in my workout routine. Within just a few weeks, I felt like a new person. I had more energy, a more positive outlook, and on top of that, because I felt so great, I really looked good, too.

That's when I realized that it was me who had the power to change not only my internal self, but also my physical appearance. I learned that I am the one who can make the biggest difference in the image I present to the world. Once I felt healthy on the inside I began to concentrate on my outward appearance. I learned how to wear makeup, do my hair, and choose the right outfit for my body. Altogether these things made a big difference both in how I looked and how I felt about myself. I had all the proof I needed that I was on the right track when, a year later, I signed with a modeling agency.

#4 Believe in Your Dreams and Make Them a Reality

Having long-and short-term goals keeps you positive, focused, and strong. My dreams and aspirations kept me moving forward, rather than letting me become discouraged by the pov...

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda Steele on November 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Susie gives an inspirational account of the four areas that one needs to address in order to build confidence which will lead to unleashing your ultimate beauty.

The four keys are:

* Identify and effectively develop your spirituality - Susie discusses developing your spirituality by finding out what makes you tick, staying positive and developing an attitude of gratitude. The latter two she learned a lot about from her mother, who she calls "Mami" a hard-working, resilient woman. Susie says, "effectively developing your spirituality is the most importing key because knowing who you are empowers you, improves your self-esteem, and imbues you with confidence.

* Discover and embrace your relationships - we learn that developing relationships are important for self-esteem because strong bonds with family, friends, and mentors provide a support system when and where you need them. Throughout the book, Susie describes her relationship with her mom. Even though she may have disagreements with her from time to time, she respected her opinion and told her what her dreams were especially since her mother always gave her positive encouragement. To this day, Susie says she calls her mom to tell her what is happening in her life and uses her as a sounding board.

* Take control of your health and body image - Susie says that taking control of your health and body image will lead to confidence because how you feel in the inside will reflect on the outside. Here she talks about the importance of eating right - not showing up to work starving and not being able to think - and exercising. This section is also great for those who don't have anyone who can tell them about clothes, fashion, hair, make-up and little tips for homemade spa treatments.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Taufiq on November 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Though I believe this book was targeting a younger audience, but in reading it I found some insights that I felt were pertinent to me (and I'm over 30!). I think this book not only speaks to girls but women who still have the little girl inside. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tara Darby on October 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is is both practical and uplifting!

I competed at Miss USA the same year that Susie Castillo was giving up her crown. Susie is still such a role model for me. She embodies grace, poise, intelligence and beauty, and her story is inspirational. In this book, she shares the keys she used to propel herself to a place of success. As a former beauty queen myself, and co-owner of Sashes and Crowns Pageant Coaching ([...]), I will recommend this book for not only my clients, but for any woman who is uncertain how to rise above circumstance to reach her dreams.

Tara Darby
Miss Alabama USA 2004
Miss USA Top Ten Finalist
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Feener on August 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In a time where there is increasing pressure from the "public" to give the government more power over our children's development and future, Suzie inspirationally reminds us all what truly successful individuals already know. There is no substitute for confidence, positivity, taking personal responsibility for one's actions, and the need for a strong parental role model in a child's life. There is no doubt Suzie has overcome great obstacles on her journey. But for any young lady trying to find her way in today's environment, Suzie is an excellent individual to follow. This is a must read for both young women and their parents alike.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J Man on August 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I actually purchased this book for my niece, she was so inspired by the book that I decided to read it myself. Susie speaks from the heart and really illustrates how important confidence and believing in yourself is, AND how east it is to achieve your goals by focusing and developing on your strengths, interests, and that a strong mind builds a strong and successful person!!
I highly recommend this book for everyone, especially young adults!!! great job susie.
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