Agbani Darego

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Agbani Darego
Beauty pageant titleholder
Agbani Darego.jpg
Born Agbani Asenite Darego
(1983-12-22) 22 December 1983 (age 32)
Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria[1][2]
Other names A.D, Agbani Darego
Education Bereton Montessori Nursery and Primary School
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)[3]
Hair color Black
Eye color Brown
Title(s) Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2001
Miss World 2001
Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2001
Miss Universe 2001
(Top 10)
Miss World 2001
(Miss World Africa)
Official website

Agbani Darego, MFR[4] (born Agbani Asenite Darego,[5][6][7] 22 December 1982) is a Nigerian model and beauty queen, best known as 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. At age two, she 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. Darego's mother died two years later, and her daughter 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. After finishing her secondary education, she attended University of Port Harcourt where she studied Computer Science and Mathematics.[10]


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 won 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 one to wear a maillot as opposed to a bikini during the swimsuit competition.[11]

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 and soon negotiated a modelling deal with Donald Trump's management to establish links with modelling agencies in America.[12] 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 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 is served as the face of Arik Air.[13] 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 pageants, and fashion and modelling competitions including Miss World 2014, Miss England 2002,[14] Mr. Scotland 2002,[15] and Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 and 2014[16] 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 at New York University where she studied Psychology, graduating in May 2012.


  1. ^ Olamide Jasanya. "Celebrating Agbani Darego". Nigerian Entertainment Today. 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. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Top Model Africa
  8. ^ Agbani Darego graduates from New York University
  9. ^
  10. ^ I Wear What Fits Archived January 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  11. ^ Glamour queens Archived January 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  12. ^ Anne Titilope now Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria
  13. ^ Agbani Darego Becomes Arik’s Brand Ambassador Archived October 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  14. ^ Tomorrow, the world; Brainy Miss England gives lie to the old jokes
  15. ^ Red-hot prize girls
  16. ^ Glitz, glam of Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 Archived December 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
India Priyanka Chopra
Miss World
Succeeded by
Turkey Azra Akin
Preceded by
Matilda Kerry
Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria
Succeeded by
Ann Suinner