Dayana Mendoza: Ready To Take Charge on The Celebrity Apprentice

The boardroom is about to get spicy.

Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza will be competing with the likes of Lisa Lampanelli, Debbie Gibson, Penn Jillette, Clay Aiken and Teresa Guidice for the title of The Celebrity Apprentice on the new season premiering this Sunday.

However, fierce competition is nothing new for this Venezuelan beauty.

After beating out hundreds of beautiful women vying for the role of Miss Venezuela in 2007, Mendoza went on to win the coveted role of Miss Universe in 2008.

Donald Trump, who owns The Miss Universe Organization, handpicked Mendoza for the show.

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“He’s been a mentor for me, he’s been extremely helpful, and he suggested it would be something great for me to do,” Mendoza said regarding Trump.

Fox News Latino talked with the striking beauty about what we can expect in the 12th season of popular reality show.

In this competition, while the prize may not be a crown, it is something that the winner can share with a lot more people-- a $250,000 check to the winner’s charity of choice.

Mendoza says she was ready for this new challenge. "The Miss Universe pageant has definitely taught me how to manage myself when people are trying to kill each other," she joked.

"That’s exactly what happens with the Celebrity Apprentice, we are all fighting for the same goal, although we are all fighting for good," said the former beauty queen.

Mendoza’s charity is the Latino Commission on AIDS. "I’ve been working with them since the Miss Universe Pageant," she said.

She says she feels like she can "relate with the part of being a foreigner working in the United States."

"To hang out with your community, to talk about the same things, in your same language, they made me feel so comfortable, they welcomed me and why wouldn’t I keep working with them when I feel they are my family," Mendoza said of the organization.

For the first time in Celebrity Apprentice history, there are two Latinas competing for the grand prize, Mendoza and Venezuelan actress Patricia Velasquez.

"I was happy to be there with her, I didn’t know her before the show, but I was lucky to be working with somebody that was really genuine, a hard worker," but not someone who would "step on anybody’s toes," Mendoza said.

However someone who was not afraid to step on any toes, amongst other things, was comedian Lisa Lampanelli.

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While Mendoza may have a crown she is no Drama Queen. It was comedian Lampanelli who took that title this season by making her mouth "part of her performance" quipped the Venezuelan.

After the Apprentice, Mendoza hopes to keep hosting, something she fell in love with it after hosting the E! Latino show "Relaxed."

Her advice for anyone looking for success is "appreciating who you really are." Mendoza said "a lot of people want to be like someone else or look like someone else, its appreciating and loving who you really are" that makes someone stand out.

The new season of The Celebrity Apprentice premieres this Sunday at 9PM EST on NBC.

Naibe Reynoso is a freelance reporter in Los Angeles, California.

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