NEW Miss Universe DAYANA MENDOZA will not lose her crown, despite raunchy pictures from her past being uncovered.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan beauty stripped off for a sexy jewellery ad campaign before signing on as a contestant.
Although the key snap - of Dayana topless with her arms covering her boobs - will not offend British readers, it has caused controversy in more conservative countries.
Mendoza has stated that she enjoys "design, photography, advertising and wave surfing." She was once kidnapped in Venezuela, and stated the trauma taught her to remain poised under pressure.
In 2001, Mendoza signed with Elite Model Management and was a finalist at the Elite Model Look International 2001, in Nice, France. She has worked with the companies Max Mara and Costume Nacional, where she modeled in New York, Italy, Germany, France, Athens and SpainVersace, Roberto Cavalli and other fashion designers. She speaks Spanish, English, and Italian. After Elite, she signed to Trump Model Management, and in Milan, Names Model Agency.
Dayana beat 27 other candidates to win Miss Venezuela 2007 on September 13, 2007, and became only the second woman representing the Amazonas state to win (the first being Carolina Izsak in 1991). She was crowned Miss Universe 2008 at the pageant in the Crown Convention Center, Nha Trang, Vietnam on July 13, 2008. Mendoza became the first winner of the pageant from Venezuela since Miss Universe 1996's winner Alicia Machado, thus making her the first Venezuelan Miss Universe in the 21st century.
Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori crowned her with a tiara worth 120,000 U.S. dollars. Her prize package includes 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 designer shoes, dresses and beauty products, a $100,000 stipend for a 2-year course at the New York Film Academy and free access to famous fashion houses and beauty parlors. Mendoza will spend her year-long reign traveling the world to lecture on humanitarian issues and to promote education regarding HIV/AIDS.
As of June 2009, Mendoza as Miss Universe has traveled to Indonesia, Singapore, Puerto Rico, Italy, Spain, France, Nicaragua, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Bahamas, Russia, El Salvador, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Argentina, Romania and Vietnam, in addition to numerous trips around the USA and her homecoming in Venezuela.
Mendoza was caught in a nude scandal after photos of her modeling naked for a jewelry firm surfaced. Officials from the Miss Universe Organization decided against penalizing her, saying that the candid photos were not pornographic, but instead were "artistic in nature, and they don't have an ounce of pornographic content to them."
Guantanamo Bay visit
On 27 March 2009, Mendoza documented a visit to Guantanamo Bay detention camp on her internet blog. In it, she was quoted as saying "[Guantanamo] was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful". She also stated that when she visited the detainees camps, "...we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting". This led to massive condemnation across the internet, through other blogs ridiculing her comments. In her home country, Venezuela, the issue became the talk of the town, with the president, Hugo Chávez, reconsidering the praise he had previously given her. The Miss Universe Organization has replied that "...[her] comments on her blog were in reference to the hospitality she received while meeting the members of the U.S. military and their families who are stationed in Guantánamo". On 1 April, 2009, the entry vanished from her blog.