Monday, July 14, 2008

Miss Venezuela, Crowned Miss Universe 2008

Dayana Mendoza, 22, of Venezuela becomes the newly crowned Miss Universe 2008 held at Crown Convention Center, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam on Sunday, July 13, 2008. Riyo Mori, 2007 Miss Universe conferred the US$120,000 worth tiara to her successor, the elated Miss Venezuela beating out 79 other contestants having a wide range of experiences and aspirations. She is the 5th Venezuelan beauty to capture Miss Universe crown.

The Miss Universe Pageant Show was live telecast on NBC hosted by the famous talk show host Jerry Springer and Melanie Brown of the “Spice Girls.” This prestigious show was broadcasted worldwide to hundreds of million viewers in about 170 countries. Springer wearing a tuxedo has made a grand entrance on a motorbike — the vehicle of choice in Vietnam where the streets are teeming with millions of the speeding two-wheelers.

The nine-member panel of judges was headed by Donald Trump Jr. whose father is the co-owner of the pageant with NBC better known as a real-estate magnate and TV personality. Among the judges are international fashion experts: Roberto Cavalli- renowned fashion designer, Joseph Cinque- The President of The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, Jennifer Hawkins-Miss Universe 2004, Ishaa Koppikar-Bolywood actress, Louis Licari-Celebrity Hairstylist, Nguyen Cong Khe-Editor-in-Chief of Vietnamese Newspaper “Thanh Nien”, Taryn Rose-Footwear Designer, Nadine Velazquez-actress of NBC’s “My Name Is Earl”, and no lesser than Donald Trump Jr.,the eldest son and the executive Vice-President of the Trump Organization.

The five-foot-ten Dayana Mendoza, born on June 1, 1986 in Caracas, is a model having a vital statistics of 85-58-89. Being the 57th Miss Universe, she will be spending her year-long reign traveling the world to lecture on humanitarian issues and promote education especially on HIV/AIDS concerns. Her prize package included - cash, a year contract promoting Miss Universe, world travel, a rent-free, prestigious New York City flat, luxury apartment and a gift bag stuffed with free designer shoes, dresses and beauty products, a US$100,000 stipend for a 2-year course at the New York Film Academy and free access to famous fashion houses and beauty parlors.

On her interview in the past days, Ms. Mendoza related her personal story that she was once kidnapped in her homeland and says the experience taught her to remain poised under pressure. The beaming, Miss Universe, said in a news conference, “… When I go back to Venezuela I will jump on my family and they will jump on me … I want to raise my voice and tell the world that violence is not the answer …” More of the competition’s photos could be launch here and more highlights of the story could be checked here.

It is worth to recall, Irene Sáez who won the Miss Universe in 1991 which was held in New York, pursued a career in politics, started as a mayor of Chacao and later won as a governor. She shocked Venezuela and the whole Latin American countries when she runs for the presidency against Hugo Chavez in May, 1998. At the first stage, she was the frontrunner but unfortunately she lost due to Chávez anti-poverty campaign rhetoric. She now lives in Caracas and no official announcement of any more plans regarding her career as a politician, yet her action has been viewed in Venezuela by many feminists, Miss Universe fans and members of the general public as a woman who has tried to improve the self esteem of all Venezuelan women in general as well as their image.

What about Ms. Dayana Mendoza? Is politics waiting for her in the future?

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