Dayana Mendoza

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Dayana Sabrina Mendoza Moncada is most famous for winning the 2008 Miss Universe beauty pageant.

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Her stage name is Dayana Mendoza. Her road to modeling began when a modeling agent saw her at a bus stop when she was only 12. "I never thought of modeling as something that I would want to do or would enjoy but my mom insisted on putting me into some sort of modeling academy." Dayana Mendoza's first modeling job was walking the runway at age 14 ( She later signed with Elite Model Management and modeled in Europe, Mexico and the United States, but described living on your own at 15, 16, and 17 as difficult.

In 2007, Dayana Mendoza beat 27 other candidates to win Miss Venezuela 2007. She later went on to win the Miss Universe pageant.

In 2012, Dayana Mendoza was a contestant on NBC's reality show, "Celebrity Apprentice." Dayana came in sixth place after being eliminated in the 12th episode. She said of her experience, "It was a terrible experience, it was terrible for me, but I'm happy that I did it and I'm happy that it came out the way it came out, because I feel like my values and everything that my mom and my grandma and my dad taught me is reflected in my job and the way I behaved" ( Dayana added, in regards to working with Lisa Lampanelli, "I've never worked with somebody that was so volatile. And you know, she could be mom! Like, I was actually surprised she that she behaved that way" (

Dayana Mendoza's interests include photography, art, design and surfing. She can also speak Spanish, English and Italian. English isn't her first language and "I still have thousands of words and slang I don't know. I'm constantly trying to understand everything I don't."

Dayana's idea of a romantic evening in New Yorking includes "great conversation, maybe a walk around the neighborhood, or just a movie is good enough. Just as long as the person you do all this with is very special, otherwise it won't matter" (


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When Dayan Mendoza was 19, she was once kidnapped in Venezuela, and she said the experience taught her to remain poised under pressure. Because Dayana Mendoza didn't come from a wealthy family, the kidnappers took the $5 in her pocket, dropped her off in the middle of the highway, and then gave her $10 for a cab ride home because the area was dangerous" (

Dayana Mendoza lives in New York City.


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