Dayana Sabrina Mendoza Moncada (born June 1, 1986 in Caracas, Venezuela) is a model and beauty pageant titleholder who won the titles of Miss Venezuela 2007 and Miss Universe 2008. 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 Spain for Versace, 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. Together with Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz, Mendoza was also used as the goodwill ambassador of Venezuela-based technology firm Smartmatic to thank the Philippines for entrusting the company the success of their 2010 presidential elections.
It was announced in October 2011 that Dayana would appear on the 2012 season of The Celebrity Apprentice alongside other celebrities such as Cheryl Tiegs, George Takei, Clay Aiken and Debbie Gibson. 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."