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Miss Venezuela, Dayana Mendoza, is crowned Miss Universe 2008

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Dayana Mendoza is Miss Universe 2008

Dayana Mendoza is Miss Universe 2008

Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza is crowned Miss Universe 2008 on stage during the 57th Annual Miss Universe Competition at the Crown Convention Centre on July 14, 2008 in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza is crowned Miss Universe 2008 on stage during the 57th Annual Miss Universe Competition at the Crown Convention Centre on July 14, 2008 in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

Miss Venezuela 2008 Dayana Mendoza is photographed during the filming for the opening of the 2008 Miss Universe Competition at Wonderpark, Tuesday, July 1, 2008, in Nha Trang. She will compete in the 57th annual Miss Universe competition which will take place in Nha Trang, Vietnam at the Crown Convention Center on July 14. (AP Photo/Miss Universe L.P., LLLP, Darren Decker)

Miss Venezuela 2008 Dayana Mendoza is photographed during the filming for the opening of the 2008 Miss Universe Competition at Wonderpark, Tuesday, July 1, 2008, in Nha Trang. She will compete in the 57th annual Miss Universe competition which will take place in Nha Trang, Vietnam at the Crown Convention Center on July 14. (AP Photo/Miss Universe L.P., LLLP, Darren Decker)

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Dayana Mendoza is Miss Universe 2008

Miss Venezuela, Dayana Mendoza, has been crowned Miss Universe 2008.

Brunette Mendoza, 22, was awarded her crown at the Crown Convention Center (Diamond Bay Resort) in Vietnam's city of Nha Trang.

Mendoza is a professional model and an interior designer who claims to love photography.

The pageant finale was watched by nearly a billion television viewers worldwide.

Mendoza's win makes it the fifth victory for Venezuela.

The model was once kidnapped in her homeland and said the experience has taught her to remain calm under pressure.

"This is something that happens in my country and that's why I want to raise my voice and say violence is not the answer," she said when asked about the incident.

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Mendoza was one of four finalists from Latin America, including first runner-up Taliana Vargas, 20, from Colombia.

Others in the top five were from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Russia.


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