Agbani Darego is proof that the black African woman, can reach any height she deems fit. A beacon of hope for you young girls who felt uncomfortable in their dark skin or African heritage, that they too can become beauty queens. Agbani Darego is the Nigerian model and beauty queen, best known as the first native African to win the glorious title of Miss World. Agbani Darego’s biography is an inspiring story for every young girl. Agbani Darego’s family of eight and her new family with her husband, and the headlines that can’t wait to talk about Agbani Darego’s future generation, when the time is right, it’s mind blowing how a little girl from Rivers State, Nigeria became the queen of the world.
Early Life & Education
Agbani Darego MFR was born Idiagbanidokubibo Asenite Darego on December 22nd, 1982 in Lagos State, Nigeria. This dazzling beauty hails from Abonnema, Rivers State, Nigeria. She comes from a humble family of eight children and is the sixth born. At the tender age of two, her family moved to Port-Harcourt and her early years were spent being raised in D-Line. Agbani was born to a Customs Officer father, and her mother, Inaewo, was a businesswoman who owned a rice trading business and boutique. It is said that Agbani Darego developed her love for fashion as a child, gazing through the pages of fashion magazine her mother would bring home. She could spend hours on it.
In Port-Harcourt, Agbani Darego attended Bereton Montessori Nursery and Primary School. At ten, she moved on to Federal Government Girls College (FGCC), Abuloma, to shield her from the after events of her mother’s illness and death. Darego’s mother lost her battle with breast cancer two years later when Agbani was barely a teenager. After her secondary education, she moved on to the University of Por-Harcourt (UNIPORT), where she studied Computer Science and Mathematics. This beauty queen is beauty and brains. Due to the busy schedule and fame that came with Miss World, Agbani Darego had to leave UniPort, when she got signed to Next Model Management in New York. Whilst in New York, she enrolled in the New York University. In 2012, she graduated with a degree in Psychology.
Pageantry & Modelling
As a teenager, Agbani expressed her desires to model and would do it at any cost. Despite her father’s disapproval, the future queen auditioned for the M-Net Face of Africa modelling competition but was not chosen as a finalist. Though crushed, her dreams didn’t stop there. Prior to being crowned the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN), Darego featured in print commercials for popular boutique chain Collectibles. In 2001, She won the pageant that paved the way for a bigger title and was crowned MBGN. 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. 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 Her glory didn’t stopped there, Darego represented Nigeria at the 2001, Miss World pageant held in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and won, making her the first Nigerian and native African woman to ever win the title. Agbani Darego was given a hero’s welcome back in Nigeria, her home country. Her one-year tenure included goodwill trips and scheduled appearances on behalf of the pageant, and a national honour of MFR.
Modelling is a profession where every model has a beauty unique to them, and their ability to harness it and make everything look good. Agbani Darego had no issue tapping into her inner girl next door or mama Africa, this got her so much media attention and opportunities. According to various publications 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 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 for Vogue. Darego has also had the opportunity to work with other brands over the years such as 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 Nigeria, Darego has featured in advertising campaigns for hair care brand Gentle Touch with model Oluchi, and is served as the face of Arik Air. She has also graced the covers of Complete Fashion, Mania, ThisDay Style, Genevieve, True Love, and TW Magazine.
Life After Miss World & Modelling
Winning Miss World made Agbani Darego an unofficial ambassador of women, black women, Nigeria and the African continent. She showed the world the beauty that lies in Africa. It’s not just about starving tummies and balled in eyes. She redefined the concept of beauty by winning that title. 2010 saw the launch of her style and fashion reality show Stylogenic on Nigerian television In 2013 the national hero launched AD by Agbani Darego, a denim range and retail clothing brand consisting of jeans, dresses, sunglasses, and bags. The brand went digital a year later when she launched an e-commerce platform for her brand to make her products more accessible to online buyers. For obvious reasons, Agbani Darego chose to become a patron for breast cancer awareness. Though she does not have an NGO of her own, she supports other NGO’s devoted to the cause. Since her breathtaking win, Agbani Darego has judged other pageants and competitions, they include Miss World 2014, Miss England 2002, Mr. Scotland 2002, and Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 and 2014. On the 8th of April 2017, the queen married a king, her longtime love Ishaya Danjuma, son of Billionaire General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma in Marrakesh, Morocco. The wedding was quiet and beautiful.