By Greggy Vera Cruz (People Asia) Updated February 02, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - The phrase “beauty with a purpose” fittingly describes this Miss Universe titlist who refuses to be “boxed” into a fixed structure.
In no particular order, may we call in Maritza Sayalero Fernandez, Irene Saez Conde, Barbara Palacios Teyde, Alicia Machado Fajardo and Stefania Fernandez.
Just what do these lovely ladies possess? What qualities are they endowed with? Beauty pageant aficionados, this writer included, are one in saying that all these ladies are products of the Miss Venezuela contest, the national beauty pageant of that famous South American country. Needless to say, they have also brought honor and prestige to their nation by emerging as Miss Universe winners during their respective years.
Not to be omitted, however, is Dayana Sabrina Mendoza who won the coveted crown and title in 2008. Held in glittering ceremonies at the Crown Convention Center in Nha Trang, Vietnam, the pageant eventually also bestowed on her the unofficial title of being the first Venezuelan Miss Universe of the 21st century!
For a Good Cause
Dayana was in town recently for a brief stint as an Ambassador of Goodwill for Smartmatic. The Venezuela-based technology firm has chosen her “in order to show its gratitude to the Filipino people, after their successful display of democratic will, having massively participated in the first nationwide automated elections.”
During this exclusive pictorial at The Peninsula Manila, the Latina beauty’s energy was on full throttle, as she gamely posed and cavorted to the delight of the camera’s lenses. With her statuesque frame at 5’9 ½” and 33 ½-23-35 whistle-bait figure, she has also graced magazine covers and lay-outs, dozens of fashion pictorials and fashion catwalks as well.
Come interview proper, Dayana was naturally at ease in answering my queries. Her distinct Venezuelan accent made her more endearing to this admirer of hot Latina femmes.
“I’m always up to social causes. Based from last May’s elections, it is great to see the improvement that the Filipino people have. I am always here to support your good works and I congratulate you guys for producing such good results,” she exclaims.
Dayana was also enthusiastic to see President Noynoy Aquino during her brief stint in Manila. Due to time constraints, however, both personalities were not able to meet up. Despite that however, Miss Universe 2008 is optimistic that the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines will do a great job during his six-year term.
Reign and Shine
Prior to her competing in the most prestigious beauty pageant of the world, Dayana initially made waves on the catwalk by being a finalist at the Elite Model Look International 2001 held in Nice, France.
“I have also worked with Max Mara and Costume Nacional. I also did modeling stints in New York, Italy, Germany, France, Athens and Spain for Versace, Roberto Cavalli and other fashion designers,” she hastens to add.
Born June 1, 1986 in Caracas, Venezuela, Dayana admits her reign was filled with happy moments and wonderful memories. Sad ones, even, as she has grown attached to the pageant staff whom she has treated like family.
“When you’ve worked with great, amazing people who have helped you in every little way during your term, it would be so hard to leave them. Sure, you could get in touch with one another but that’s a totally different thing. But I’m very grateful to the people behind Miss Universe for everything that had happened.
“I’m now working with Trump Models in New York; I’m also in acting school at the New York Film Academy in Manhattan and it’s something that I’m loving a lot,” Dayana reveals.
Coming from a country known to be a quality producer of beauty queens and going down in the annals of the Miss Universe pageant history as the 2008 titlist, what advice would Dayana give to our budding beauty queens?
“You already have two Miss Universe titlists (Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran, 1969 and 1973 respectively) so Filipinas should continue to keep on working and striving to be up there. With hard work and training, something is bound to happen. The crown is just waiting for you,” she concludes with that glint from her expressive green eyes.