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The Empowerment Academy


Executive Director

Darcy Castro

Darcy created the Empowerment Academy because she deeply understands, first-hand, the significant positive impact pageantry can have on the lives of women of all ages. In 1995, she watched her first pageant and began to see herself in a new light, ready to set goals and strive for experiences she once thought herself not worthy of. She won her first Miss America Scholarship Program local pageant the following year, and the experience transformed her life. It motivated her to pursue other scholarship and academic opportunities, and graduate college with honors, debt-free. 


After four years as a local titleholder, she went on to become a local executive director in the Miss America system. In her program’s inaugural year, her very first local titleholder went on to win Miss America! Being a part of the support team for Katie Harman, Miss America 2002, gave her a unique view of pageantry that has deeply influenced her roles as director, judge, competitor and pageant industry business owner. 


In 2018, Darcy took the vulnerable step to return to the pageant stage as a competitor in her 40s and ascended the ranks to win her first national title in 2019, and has continued to compete, gaining valuable insight that fuels her pageant-industry business. She created the Empowerment Academy to bring her years of experience in all facets of pageantry and her firm grasp of its benefits, along with her impressive professional acumen, to be a leader to women across the spectrum to help them set and achieve their goals.


Darcy Castro Productions LLC is the parent company of the Empowerment Academy. By trade, Darcy is a freelance public relations consultant, journalist and event host. 

Industry Experience

Miss Portland 1996 (MAO)

Miss Washington County 1997 (MAO) – Top 10 Miss Oregon

Miss Metro Area 1998 (MAO) – Top 10 Miss Oregon, Academic Achievement Award

Miss Mt. Hood 1999 (MAO) – Top 10 Miss Oregon, Preliminary Talent Award

Miss Portland Scholarship Program Executive Director 2000 – 2002 (MAO)

Mrs. Oregon America – Judge

Miss El Paso (MAO) – Judge

Miss Wolcott (MAO) – Judge

Miss Spirit of the USA – Judge

Miss Make-A-Wish – Judge

Elite Connecticut American Woman of Service 2019

  • Crown of Service calendar winner

Classic Ms. Queen of New England 2019

  • Overall High Point winner

  • Pairs Modeling runner-up

  • Modeling winner

  • Outfit of Choice Modeling winner

Classic Ms. New England 2019

  • Spirit of Pageantry winner

  • Talent winner

  • Modeling winner

  • Outfit of Choice Modeling winner

  • Comp Card winner

  • Portfolio winner

  • Photogenic winner

Classic Ms. US of America 2019

  • Outfit of Choice Modeling Winner

  • Photogenic Winner

  • Talent first runner-up

  • Modeling first runner-up

  • Comp card winner

National Elite American Woman of Service 2019 

  • Overall interview winner

  • Eric Medeiros Memorial Foundation Award

  • Photogenic winner

  • Personal Platform Presentation winner

  • Americana Theme Wear winner

  • Fitness winner

  • Positive Pageantry Writing winner

  • Director’s Award

  • Presidential Service Award

Lifetime Ambassador American Woman of Service

  • Presidential Service Award

Pageant Platform Elite Local Winner 2020

Pageant Platform Elite State Winner 2020

Pageant Platform Elite National Second Runner-Up 2020

America’s Classic Yankee Ms. 2020

  • Role Model winner

  • Portfolio High-Point winner

  • Comp Card High-Point winner

  • Modeling winner

  • Talent winner

  • Outfit of Choice first runner-up

  • Photogenic winner

Ms. Georgia North America 2021

2nd Runner up Ms. North America 2021

Mrs. Marietta America 2021

Mrs. Georgia America 2021

Semi-Finalist Mrs. America 2021

Mrs. America 2021 Fabulous Face winner

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