Agbani Darego

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Agbani Darego
Agbani Asenite Darego

(1982-12-22) 22 December 1982 (age 36)
Lagos, Nigeria[1][2]
Other namesA.D, Agbani Darego
EducationBereton Montessori Nursery and Primary School
Federal Government Girls' College, Abuloma
Height1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)[3]
TitleMost Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2001
Miss World 2001
Beauty pageant titleholder
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorBrown
Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2001
Miss Universe 2001
(Top 10)
Miss World 2001
(Miss World Africa)

Agbani Darego, MFR[4] (born Agbani Asenite Darego,[5][6][7] 22 December 1982) is a Nigerian model and beauty pagaent titleholder who was crowned Miss World 2001. She was the first native African to win Miss World.[8]

Early life[edit]

Darego's family roots are in Abonnema, Rivers State. She was born in Lagos to a family of eight children and she was sixth out of them. At age two, her family relocated to Port Harcourt and was raised in D-line.[9] Darego attended Bereton Montessori Nursery and Primary School. At ten, she was sent to a boarding school in a bid to shield her from her mother who had become very ill with breast cancer. Her mother was known as Inaewo and had a rice trading business and a clothing boutique. Darego's mother died two years later after her departure to boarding school. Darego has spoken of how the loss prepared her for the future. As a teenager, Darego longed to be a model, and despite her conservative father's wishes, she auditioned for the M-Net Face of Africa modelling competition, but was not chosen as a finalist. Darego attended Federal Government Girls' College, Abuloma.[10] After finishing her secondary education, she attended University of Port Harcourt where she studied Computer Science and Mathematics.[11]


In 2001, Darego was crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. Contrary to popular belief, Darego did not replace Valerie Peterside after the latter was dethroned as she had competed in rival pageant Miss Nigeria. A few months later she was a contestant at Miss Universe, and became the first Nigerian to place among the top 10 semi-finalists, finishing seventh overall. She was the only contestant to wear a modest maillot as opposed to a revealing bikini during the swimsuit competition.[12]

In November that year, she became the first native African to claim the Miss World title (Although past winners such as Penelope Coelen and Anneline Kriel are South African, they are of European descent, and Antigone Costanda, who represented Egypt in 1954 is of Greek heritage). Darego's victory was widely welcomed in her home country, and her one-year tenure included goodwill trips and scheduled appearances on behalf of the pageant, and a national honour of MFR.


Prior to winning MBGN, Darego featured in print commercials for boutique chain Collectables, and following her stint at Miss Universe was invited by Naomi Campbell to participate in Frock 'n' Roll - a charity fashion show in Barcelona, soon negotiating a modelling deal with Trump Model Management in America.[13] Shortly after her reign as Miss World she was represented by the London and Paris branches of Next Model Management and landed a three-year contract with L'Oréal, becoming only the second Black model to accomplish this feat after Vanessa Williams, and was photographed by Annie Leibovitz, a big name in Americans portrait photograph sphere[14] for Vogue. Other brands she has modelled for include Avon, Christian Dior, Sephora, Target, and Macy’s. Darego has also appeared in Elle, Marie Claire, Allure, Trace, Stitch, Cosmopolitan, and Essence magazines, working with numerous designers including Oscar de la Renta, Marc Bouwer, Tommy Hillfiger, Ralph Lauren, and Gianfranco Ferre.

In her homeland Darego has appeared in advertising campaigns for hair care brand Gentle Touch with model Oluchi, and served as the face of Arik Air.[15] She has also graced the covers of Complete Fashion, Mania, ThisDay Style, Genevieve, True Love, and TW Magazine.

Other work[edit]

Darego has judged numerous pageant, fashion and modelling competitions including Miss World 2014, Miss England 2002,[16] Mr. Scotland 2002,[17] and Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 and 2014.[18] In 2010, she launched a style and fashion reality show Stylogenic on Nigerian television, and three years later announced her denim range, AD by Agbani Darego, which includes jeans, dresses, sunglasses and bags.

Personal life[edit]

Due to her busy work schedule, Darego left the University of Port Harcourt, but after moving to New York where she was signed to Next Model Management and Ford Models, she enrolled with New York University where she studied Psychology, graduating in May 2012. In April 2017, Darego married her longtime love Ishaya Danjuma, son of Billionaire General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma in a ceremony held in Marrakesh and together they have a baby boy which was delivered in September 2018.


  1. ^ Olamide Jasanya. "Celebrating Agbani Darego". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Archived from the original on January 24, 2016. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "National Geographic Magazine". 202. National Geographic Society. 2002: 91.
  3. ^ Garner, Lesley. "Agbani's rise to the top". Mail Online. London, UK. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  4. ^ Ogunbayo, Modupe (7 August 2011). "Newsliners". Newswatch. Lagos, Nigeria. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  5. ^ Alonge, Osagie (16 May 2012). "Agbani Darego graduates from New York University". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Lagos, Nigeria. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Agbani Darego to marry Timi Alaibe". Daily Times. Lagos, Nigeria. 18 June 2012. Archived from the original on 20 June 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  7. ^ "B2MODELS". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  8. ^ "Agbani Darego graduates from New York University - Nigerian Entertainment Today - Nigeria's Top Website for News, Gossip, Comedy, Videos, Blogs, Events, Weddings, Nollywood, Celebs, Scoop and Games". Nigerian Entertainment Today - Nigeria's Top Website for News, Gossip, Comedy, Videos, Blogs, Events, Weddings, Nollywood, Celebs, Scoop and Games. 2012-05-16. Archived from the original on 2017-08-29. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  9. ^ "BusinessDay Online, TV, and Podcast". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  10. ^ "FGGC Abuloma celebrates one of their own – Miss World 2001/Model Agbani Darego receives an award from her alma mater". Bella Naija. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  11. ^ I Wear What Fits Archived January 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Glamour queens Archived January 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Anne Titilope now Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria
  14. ^ "Agbani Darego Married, Husband, Children, Net Worth, Interesting Facts". BuzzNigeria - Famous People, Celebrity Bios, Updates and Trendy News. 2015-10-21. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  15. ^ Agbani Darego Becomes Arik’s Brand Ambassador Archived October 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Tomorrow, the world; Brainy Miss England gives lie to the old jokes. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  17. ^ "Red-hot prize girls. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  18. ^ Glitz, glam of Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 Archived December 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Matilda Kerry
Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria
Succeeded by
Ann Suinner