Beauty pageant-obsessed Venezuelans celebrated the nation's fifth world victory on Monday. But the mother of the new Miss Universe was not so sure.
Venezuelan Dayana Mendoza beat out 80 the world's most beautiful women competing in Vietnam to win the Miss Universe 2008 pageant.
The 22-year-old's mother, Maria Auxiliadora de Mendoza, said she was praying that success would not go to her daughter's head after winning the coveted crown.
"The only thing I ask God for is that my daughter continue being the humble and dreamy woman that left my house for Vietnam a month ago," she told the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.
Longtime Miss Venezuela pageant president Osmel Sousa said he is proud of Venezuela's fifth Miss Universe.
"She was very sure of herself," Sousa told the Venezuelan television channel Venevision from Vietnam. "She knew how to win over the public her with her sympathy and her simplicity."
Beauty is a national obsession in Venezuela, and its pageant contestants are regularly finalists for Miss Universe. Venezuela last won the pageant in 1996, when Alicia Machado took the crown.
Mendoza told a news conference in the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang that, after a quick stop in New York, she wants to see her family in Venezuela again, enjoy some of her mom's home cooking and hug loved ones.
"I will jump on my family and they will jump on me," said the 5-foot, 10-inch (178-centimeter), green-eyed beauty who beat out runner-up Miss Colombia.