World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Rachel Castle 2020 National Captivating Ambassador Queen.
Full name: Rachel Castle
Title/Year: 2020 National Captivating Ambassador Queen
Pageant System: Captivating Pageants
Zodiac sign: Sagittarius
Hobbies: Figure-Skating, Reading, Interior Design
Platform: Promoting positive community connections
Years competed: 1984;1993-2003; 2016-2019
Countries visited: Jamaica
Likes: Visiting my family farm and spending time with family; being outdoors; singing and playing the piano; making people laugh
Dislikes: Horror Movies
Status: Married for 20 years this year
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about yourself.
I grew up on a multi-generation family farm, and lived in the house where my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother all lived at some point in their lives. This type of upbringing taught me many things, and my most valued lessons are to respect the earth, live simply, work hard, stay close to family, and try to connect with every person I meet; all people are valuable. Music has always been a huge part of my life, and I began singing onstage in my church at 3 years old. I started taking piano lessons at age 8. My grandmother and I would sit on her piano bench and she would play and I would sing. She really instilled in me a deep love for music - not just to perform, but as the paintbrush where I could create my own world. I have both of her pianos now, as well as the violin she used to play. These are very cherished items in my home. I always say the best gifts my parents gave me were growing up on a farm, and piano lessons.
The leadership and creative thinking that I learned as a community volunteer and a musician soon began to be evident as I worked my way through college and into my career. I taught music for several years. Eventually, I found my life's calling working in the national defense industry for the United States of America. I began my career in Public Affairs as a federal civil servant for the U.S. Air Force, eventually working my way up to business operations. After that, I was recruited to work for our 14-county Dayton region directing defense programs for economic development. Today I work for a private company as a senior manager running one of our major defense contracts and overseeing teams in three states. Two of my proudest moments were being awarded two Air Force Civilian Achievement Medals by the United States Air Force, in recognition of my work in workforce development and building military-community partnerships. The most fun project I managed was the "Ghost Hunters Wright-Patterson" SyFy television episode, where we filmed for 9 days, and our show aired nationally. We also held a meet and greet with the shows stars and our military members and families. It was not only fun, but a chance to learn the craft of media relations from an entirely unique and realistic perspective. I am very proud that our episode broke several viewership records, and we were able to showcase our amazing military members to a world-wide audience. We even made the cover of "Stars and Stripes European'!
I was so blessed to marry my husband, Shaun, twenty years ago. He is a US Navy and Army National Guard Veteran, and today he continues to serve our country in Civil Service working for the Army. He is my best friend, and we both love our cats, our home, travelling, and driving our Camaro!
World Class Beauty Queens: What does women Empowerment means to you?
Women's empowerment means that we, as women, have choices about what we want to do with our lives, where we want to contribute to make a difference, and even our lifestyle day to day - how we want to live. I think we are fortunate in the US that women have many freedoms and choices. This is not the case in every area of the world. Sometimes, unfortunately, this isn't the case in every community, or every board room in any country. We have come a long way, but we still have work to do! I believe it is absolutely vital that women support one another, encourage one another, and help one another. There is enough room at the table for every single one of us, and there is no place for tearing people down or fighting. We must be united to create a better world for ourselves and for the generations following after us.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your pageant history.
I did one little pageant when I was 6. I was terrified! I did not compete again until I was 15, when I won a sharp-shooting competition "Miss Annie Oakley," and spent a year travelling and representing the Miss Annie Oakley Festival and Committee. My mom says that I told her when I was very little that I was going to be Miss Annie Oakley one day. I don't remember that, but I love that she reminded me. It just goes to show that dreams can be planted very early in our hearts. I am still the only woman in Darke County, OH to win both Miss Annie Oakley and also to become the Darke County Jr. Fair Queen, which is a very big deal in my hometown. From there, I began competing in the Miss Ohio (America) Scholarship Program, placing Top Ten my first year, becoming the Ohio State Scholar, and winning the Teresa Ann Wagner Commitment to Excellence Award, chosen by the family of the late Teresa Ann Wagner.
After marrying, I competed in the International Cinderella Woman Program, taking home an international "Best Non-Finalist Talent" award for my piano solo. It was a total thrill to play the piano on the stage in Las Vegas! I represented Ohio that year as the 2003 Ohio Cinderella Woman. After that, I judged, but did not compete. In 2016, I decided to come back to competing because I missed so many things about pageants - the friendships, the friendly competition, being on-stage, and of course, the fashion! I won the title of Ms. Ohio American Royal Beauties, then went back again as Ms. Midwest ARB, winning National Top Model and placing 1st Runner-Up for the National Ms. ARB title.
I started competing in Captivating Pageants in 2018, winning Best Fashion Wear and National Photogenic for Mrs., Ms. and Miss. I had such a great experience at Captivating, that I decided to give it my all for the entire preceding competition year, representing Captivating as Mrs. Ohio, where my dream came true of winning a national title, becoming the 2020 National Captivating Ambassador Queen!
World Class Beauty Queens: What inspired you to do your first pageant?
Honestly, I was only 6, and my mom entered me into the Little Miss Milkmaid Pageant, so I didn't really make the decision myself. I remember helping her make a poster promoting the dairy industry, and she made me the cutest white ruffled pinafore and dress to wear. The day of the pageant, I was terrified to speak in front of the crowd, but I was mesmerized by the crown. I believe that although I was scared, that moment is when I decided I would compete again, and next time, I wouldn't be scared and I would win!
World Class Beauty Queens: Why did you choose to compete for your current title? Captivating Pageants is a very unique system, and there are so many attributes I love about the program. As a plus-size model and competitor, unfortunately, I am not welcome in all pageant systems, due to my body shape. That is not the case with Captivating. We welcome all women....and we mean ALL women. Captivating's motto is "Be you, be different, be Captivating." Our passion is recognizing and celebrating everyone for who they are, and we encourage all women to express that by being their best and most unique selves throughout our phases of competition: Personal Interview, Fitness Wear, Fashion Wear, Evening Wear and On-Stage Question. We truly want to see the real essence of each individual person throughout the pageant weekend, and in their social media promotions. I felt at home at Captivating, had a great time, and made many new friends.
World Class Beauty Queens: To those unfamiliar with your pageant system please tell us what is it about?
Aside from embracing every woman's unique identity, we are also about fun, family, friendships, and definitely fashion. Our system is very glamorous, and we get to compete in an extremely professional stage production. The lighting, staging, and music are top notch, modern, and showcase every person in their best light. The upbeat show is capped off with a huge V-shaped runway that juts right out into the audience. It is the best combination of fashion show, pageant, and stage show I have ever seen. I love every minute of being on that stage. It's a huge rush, and the photos that you get when you compete are phenomenal.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are you being judged on during the competition?
The judges are looking for women who are authentic, fashionable, well-spoken and natural leaders. As a growing system, we want to crown winners who will work hard to continue promoting Captivating. The word "captivating" perfectly captures what the judges look for during competition. Who stands out - who is being themselves - who do they want to see on stage again and again. That is the essence of "Captivating."
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your experience during the competition.
The entire weekend is full of fun events including a gift exchange, and a glamorous Red-Carpet Party and Captivator Awards, and this is all before competition even starts! There is ample time to truly make friends and enjoy getting to know all of the women competing. The show itself is an other-wordly experience. We perform a professionally choreographed opening number, and compete in fitness wear, fashion wear and evening wear. The entire production it first class. I love the stage, the lights, the music. Being out there is so empowering. As a plus-size model and competitor, my hardest division is fitness wear. I remember the first walk I did in fitness and I went backstage and just fist-pumped the air because I was so proud of myself for doing that walk without any inhibitions. I literally told myself, "Rachel, you just did something you thought you could never do again! This means you can do anything!" That is empowerment that cannot be manufactured - it can only be experienced first-hand!
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your platform or what cause do you volunteer for.
I have been involved in serving my community since I was very young. Currently, I promote and talk about the military, veterans issues, and also general community issues. I especially enjoy meeting and talking with veterans, wounded warriors and Gold Star Families (those who have lost a loved one in active combat). These people are some of the most kind, selfless, humble people I have ever met. I remember going to one of my first events with "Blue Skies for the Good Guys and Gals Warrior Weekend to Remember," and driving home with tears streaming down my face. The sacrifice of our US military service members is unfathomable. Many have given their lives, some have given their limbs, their quality of life, their mental clarity - all to do the hardest, most dangerous, and most important job in the world - defending our freedoms and preserving our great nation. Many of them come home, and do what they can to live as normal of a life as possible. They never ask for honor or gratitude or special favors. If you ask them they will tell you they "were just doing their job." We put so many super stars on a pedestal, but these folks are MY super stars and my heroes. There is never enough that we can do to thank these heroes and to honor them!
World Class Beauty Queens: What appearances have you done with your title?
I have been very busy! I've traveled throughout Ohio, and also to West Virginia, Indiana and New York so far. I have judged and assisted with numerous pageants; Cut out patterns to make more than 100 animal slings at an Australia Wildfires sewing event, Lain a wreath to honor a fallen veteran during Wreaths Across America, Handed out awards during the "Mutt Strut" fundraiser for Guardian Angel Service Dogs, attended many competitions to cheer on fellow queens, and I walked in New York Fashion Week for Beauty It's Everywhere, just to name a few.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are some of your achievements?
I have had the honor of winning many pageant awards and title over the years, which is always exciting, and I am always grateful to be recognized. However, in my stage of life, I find that my most satisfying achievements really come from helping others. I take my 7 year old niece to dance classes every Tuesday; I have attended almost every single basketball game my 2 nieces and nephews have played in every season; I brought my two nieces with me to experience New York Fashion Week. I work hard to advocate for the folks who work for me, and to serve their needs as their leader in the workplace. Giving is what makes me most happy, and being able to make a difference in another person's life is what truly matters to me.
World Class Beauty Queens: What makes you stand out from all those other beautiful girls?
My cheerful communication style, my bold fashion sense, and the fire in my soul that comes through in photographs and on the runway, is what makes me stand out.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about the moment your name was called out as the winner.
I wish I could say this was epic, but I was actually standing there, holding hands with the other two finalists, and thinking, "Okay Rachel, don't be disappointed if you don't win. You did your best, but you probably didn't win, so don't worry about it. You can just go home after this and clean your house. You can rest....." then they called my name! I was totally floored. I don't really remember much about it except that I hugged both of the other girls, and took my walk waving to the crowd like a smiling maniac. My crown wouldn't stick in my updo, so I was holding my flowers, walking in a huge dress with a 5 ft. train in 6 inch heels, holding my crown on my head with my other hand.....trying to wave and smile....it was kind of crazy, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. It might have been a crazy moment - but it was my moment, and it was something I worked hard to earn!
World Class Beauty Queens: What does it mean to you to be a Beauty Queen?
The beauty of being a queen is that it can mean many things to many people. For me, it means being the best person I can be in every aspect - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Pageants always push me past barriers I didn't think I could cross. Being a beauty queen also means using your gifts to help others.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did competing in pageants helped your life?
Competing has helped me to build confidence, improve my look and brand, opened doors to amazing learning experiences, introduced me to many, many people, and it has given me a platform from which to speak and be heard in a unique way.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did pageants helped your self-esteem and body image?
I believe that if I can talk to judges in an interview room, walk into a community event where I know few people, and get up on stage in front of the world, there is really nothing I can't accomplish. These are very, very hard things to do and most people are not willing to do the work, and gather the courage, it takes to do this. Pageant queens do this all the time, and it makes us very strong people.
World Class Beauty Queens: You are an inspiration to all the girls out there. How does it feel?
It never ceases to surprise me actually. I work hard to be authentic and approachable, and yet, I know there's a certain magic to being a queen in a crown, especially when we are in 100% glam mode. It's like a fairy tale, and we all need a little of that in our lives. At some community events that I attend it is like people are meeting a celebrity, they are so excited. I always love how excited they are, but I'm always thinking, "I'm just a normal person," yet at the same time, I want to be that person that inspires girls to be strong, chase the dreams that are in their heart, and to break through barriers. If seeing me in a crown helps them to do that, I will do this for as long as I am able.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is your on stage strategy to win the judges over?
It is always to bring my energy and to let it out. I tend to be somewhat restrained sometimes, as I'm a deep thinker. I have to remember the judges can't see that. They need to see energy, and feel enthusiasm. They need to see passion and emotion. It's all in there, but I have to tell myself to open up and let that come out when I'm on stage.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did you prepare for your competition?
I worked for a solid year on every skill possible - interview, walking, wardrobe, appearances, creating social media - everything!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for learning better pageant walk?
Hire a coach, watch videos of yourself, control your body.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for choosing right pageant dress?
Wear something that not only looks great, but more importantly, makes you FEEL amazing.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for winning interview?
Control your nerves, be as prepared as possible, bring your personality and let it shine, be as authentic as possible
World Class Beauty Queens: What is one mistake that you've done during competing you wish you could redo and fix it?
I fell one time in Fashion Wear. While it was empowering to get up, walk like it never happened, and actually WIN national Fashion Wear that year; I can't say I wouldn't want to re-do that time on stage if I had the chance.
World Class Beauty Queens: What other mistakes are made by girls during the contest?
The mistakes I see when I judge are girls that try to do too much or be overly different from others in their walks; not understanding the difference between runway modeling and pageant modeling, and wearing evening gowns that don't fit or are too short. The biggest mistake though is when girls come only to win and they do not make friends or enjoy themselves.
World Class Beauty Queens: Any modeling or acting experience?
I modeled with an agency in my 20's and did some acting lessons then. Recently, I started doing runway again after winning this title.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your plans for 2020 as a Queen?
My year is winding down to a close, and the current COVID-19 situation has limited many of the plans for appearances that I had scheduled; however, my sister queens and I are still very active on social media, and I can't wait until we can all be together again to attend events, volunteer and do photo shoots. Of course we are looking forward to our National finals Sept. 4-6, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio!
World Class Beauty Queens: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
I want to leave a legacy of serving and inspiring others, making my corner of the world a better place, and competing on my own terms. I want to be remembered as a queen who is intelligent, smart, kind, fashionable and hard-working.
International Director: Rick Martinez
National Director: Rick Martinez
Your Local Director: Rick Martinez
Pageant website: www.captivatingpageants.com
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you for this amazing interview.
Rachel Castle 2020 National Captivating Ambassador Queen, World Class Beauty Queens Magazine, Photos: Rick Martinez, Studio RM Photography H/M: Team Flawless Wardrobe: Henri's Pageant, Stefanie Somers, Marc DeFang
Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment Ambassador to International Foundation for Orphans iffocares.org
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