For the first time in pageant history, two former Miss USA's have joined forces and are offering their pageant and entertainment industry expertise to aspiring young women with hopes of following in their footsteps!

Susie crowns Shandi as her successor in 2004, live on nbc.

Susie crowns Shandi as her successor in 2004, live on nbc.

After completing her year as Miss USA 2003, Susie Castillo passed on her crown and legacy to Shandi Finnessey, the new Miss USA 2004. Little did they know that this moment would be the start of what would prove to be a life-long friendship and lead to starting their powerhouse company, the one-stop-shop for confidence building techniques in pageantry and life, Pageantology.

Their exciting years as Miss USA found them working as spokespersons for women’s issues and traveling with the USO all over the US and abroad in support of our service men and women. Their reigns took them to countries like South Korea, Cuba, Ecuador, Panama, Thailand, St. Maarten and Germany. Most notably, Susie and Shandi were spokespersons for breast and ovarian cancer research and awareness. Together, they helped raise over $60 million for organizations like the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Susan G. Komen, and Gilda’s Club. They fondly share Miss USA memories like being in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, living in the titleholder apartment in NYC, and of course, representing the U.S. in the Miss Universe Pageant where Susie placed in the Top 15 in 2003 and Shandi finished as 1st runner up in 2004.

Susie Castillo Miss USA, 2003

Susie Castillo
Miss USA, 2003

After their reigns, both went on to successful entertainment careers. Susie landed a hosting gig on MTV as a VJ on TOTAL REQUEST LIVE (TRL) just nine months after crowning Shandi in 2004 and became a spokesperson for Neutrogena for five years. In addition to the various shows she hosted at MTV, Susie has hosted specials and shows on networks like E!, CBS, NBC, and ABC Family. She was also asked to co-host Miss Teen USA 2005, provided color-commentary during the Miss USA 2011 pageant and was a correspondent on E! News, The Insider, Entertainment Tonight and Extra. As an actress, Susie’s been in several films and landed a recurring role on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne where she played “Mercedes Hernandez” in season 5. She has also guest starred on ABC’s hit shows Castle and My Wife and Kids. Susie most recently was Oxygen Network's on-air personality and hosted The Preachers of L.A. Aftershow for the network.

Shortly after Shandi crowned her successor, she landed the co-hosting position on GSN’s highest rated game show, Lingo, alongside Chuck Woolery. She also hosted the LIVE late-night game show Playmania and co-hosted The Ultimate Blackjack Tour on CBS. Her talents also got the attention of the Miss Universe Organization and NBC as they called upon her to color-commentate during the 2006 and 2011 Miss Universe Pageants. Shandi was also on the 4th season of ABC’s hit show Dancing With The Stars as well as NBC's reality dating series, Ready For Love, where she won the bachelor's heart in the end. Most recently, Shandi co-hosted the nationally syndicated entertainment news show, OK! TV.

Both Susie and Shandi understood the value of higher education and were both college graduates prior to their Miss USA wins. In 2001, Susie earned a BS in Interior Architecture and Design from Endicott College in Beverly, MA, and Shandi is a 1999 honors graduate from Lindenwood University where she received a BS in Psychology in only three and a half years.

Shandi Finnessey Miss USA, 2004

Shandi Finnessey
Miss USA, 2004

One of Susie and Shandi’s proudest achievements was when they authored their own books. Dedicated to helping children and people with disabilities, Shandi’s book, “The Furrtails”, promotes the inclusion of individuals with mental challenges. Susie’s book, “Confidence Is Queen: The Four Keys To Ultimate Beauty Through Positive Thinking” was published by Penguin Books in 2007. In it she illustrates how to become the most confident, positive, and beautiful you. 

One evening, while catching up over a vegetarian meal (Susie and Shandi have both adopted a plant-based diet), the two started to talk about their experiences of competing and winning their state titles (Susie, Miss MA USA 2003 and Shandi, Miss MO USA 2004), winning Miss USA, competing at Miss Universe and how they prepared for it all. It was then that they realized the wealth of unique knowledge they both possessed and the pageant-winning secrets they had developed for ultimate success. That was the day The Pageantology Workshop, an empowerment workshop for those ready to take their preparations to the next level, was born.

For more on their individual careers, reels, press, etc., check out Susie and Shandi's personal websites: