TCU graduate to compete for Miss Universe title

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    A TCU alumna, who began her pageant career as a way to finish her homework, is competing for the title of Miss Universe.

    Sharie de’Castro graduated from TCU in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Originally from Tortola, de’Castro will represent the British Virgin Islands as an ambassador in this year’s Miss Universe pageant.

    De’Castro said she competed in her first pageant when TCU professor Mike Sacken challenged her to journey outside of her element.

    “I was given an assignment – a challenge to do something completely outside of my comfort zone,” she said. “For me, that was pageantry, and I competed in my very first pageant at TCU. Since then, my life has never been the same.”

    De’Castro moved on from the Miss Black and Gold Scholarship pageant hosted by TCU’s Eta Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity to Miss Universe rehearsals at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia.

    “I feel like I have traveled the world in just one trip,” she said. “I have developed a new level of tolerance and appreciation for others’ beliefs and practices, and I have felt a refreshing sample of universal peace.”

    De’Castro said it is incredible how a class assignment led to such immense personal growth.

    “Pageants have helped me tremendously to develop as a woman,” she said. “I have [had] an eye-opening revelation to the power and reach of the Miss Universe pageant and will, therefore, walk away with the confidence that I can have a positive impact and make a difference in my country and the world.”

    Students can cast 100 votes per day per email for de’Castro to win the People’s Choice ward, by going to www.missuniverse.com or www.telemundo.com. Voting ends Nov. 8, and the winner of the People’s Choice Award will automatically make the semi-finals.

    To follow de’Castro’s journey, go to facebook.com/missuniversebritishvirginislands.

    The Miss Universe pageant will air live Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.