Local Sets Sights On Crown

ST. MARYS — Carolina Castillo has never competed in a pageant before and will be challenging herself in her first experience as she competes for the title of Miss Ohio Teen.

The Memorial High School senior said she chose to pursue the opportunity after receiving a letter in the mail noting she had been recommended. She traveled to the Lima Convention Center, where she went through a lengthy tryout.

“We first had to get our picture taken,” Castillo said. “We had about eight pictures taken in our photo shoot. After that, they spoke with us about the pageant — what you do and how to get involved. After that, we had an interview and they asked us questions like, ‘What are your hobbies and activities?’”

She also learned how to walk and talk properly.

“We had a lesson on how to stand up straight and postures and how to have your feet counterclockwise,” Castillo said. “We had to walk in our heels, we had to talk and learn how to hold a microphone properly. They take all those into consideration when the competition comes.”

Castillo got the call a week later notifying her that she had been selected as a finalist for the National American Miss Ohio Pageant, one of five National American Miss Pageants in Ohio.

“I was really excited because I’ve never competed in anything and this was my first time,” she said. “I was really excited to compete and see what happens.”

Since being selected as a finalist, Castillo has been preparing herself for the pageant.

“I don’t really like wearing heels because I’m really tall, but, I’ve been wearing heels when I go out to eat with my family to practice a little bit,” she said. “We also have to practice interview questions, and we got a sheet with a list of questions that the judges might ask us. I have to practice how to talk and things like that.”

She also has prepared a 20-second introduction about herself — that includes her name, hometown and activities — that she needs to memorize for the pageant.

“The introduction is difficult because I can’t talk well in front of people,” she said of the most challenging portion of her preparation. “I get stage fright, so that’s going to be tough ... It takes practice.”

According to a news release, the winner of the National American Miss Ohio Pageant will receive a $1,000 cash award, the official crown and banner, a bouquet of roses and air transportation to compete in the national pageant at Disneyland in California.

“The National American Miss Pageants are dedicated to celebrating America’s greatness and encouraging its future leaders,” the news release notes. “Each year, the pageant awards thousands of dollars in scholarships and prizes to recognize and assist in the development of young women nationwide.”

Castillo plays volleyball on the varsity team and works at Buffalo Wild Wings in St. Marys. She enjoys bike riding, swimming and scrapbooking with her mother. In the future, she is hoping to study at Kettering Medical Center to become a radiologist or ultrasound technician.

She thanked all her sponsors that made her experience possible, including Bud’s Chevrolet Buick, C & C Loft, Dr. Ranga Inc., Keith’s Service Center, the St. Marys Fire Department, Xcaret and the Stone Garden.

Castillo will travel to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus to compete in the pageant, which will be held on July 29 and 30. She said she is looking forward to the experience.

“I’m going to Columbus for two days and meeting other girls,” she said. “I’ll be meeting people from other towns — they’re from all over Ohio. It’s a learning experience and it helps me speak in pubic, so I hope that will help me in the future.”

For more information on the National American Miss Pageants, visit NAMiss.com.