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Miss Venezuela crowned Miss Universe

July 14, 2008 at 9:41 AM

NHA TRANG, Vietnam, July 14 (UPI) -- Miss Venezuela, Dayana Mendoza, was crowned Miss Universe 2008 in a pageant in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam.

Mendoza is a 22-year-old aspiring interior designer who also said she enjoys photography and is interested in advertising.

She was voted Miss Universe by a panel of celebrity judges that included Donald Trump Jr., fashion designer and entrepreneur Roberto Cavalli; Nadine Velazquez, co-star of "My Name Is Earl;" Jennifer Hawkins, television presenter and Miss Universe 2004; Louis Licari, celebrity colorist and "Today Show" ambush makeover expert; Joe Cinque, president of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences; Bollywood film and TV star, dancer, model Eesha Koppikhar; Nguyen Cong Khe, editor-in-chief of Thanh Nien newspaper, and international shoe designer Taryn Rose.

Jerry Springer and Mel B were the hosts of Sunday's NBC telecast of the 57th annual Miss Universe pageant, in which contestants from 80 countries and territories competed in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and personality interview.

First Runner Up was Miss Colombia, Taliana Vargas, while Second Runner Up was Miss Dominican Republic, Marianne Cruz Gonzalez.

Miss Mexico, Elisa Najera and Miss Russia, Vera Krasova rounded out the top five.

Miss USA Crystle Stewart tripped during the evening gown competition -- the second year in a row that has happened.

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