She was former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria and the first black Miss World, the Nigerian model, a beauty queen of repute Agbani Darego is best known as the first native Sub-Saharan African to win Miss World.
An indigene of Abonnema in Rivers State, Agbani Darego was born on 22 December 1982 into a family of eight children. At ten, Darego was sent to a boarding school so she could think less about the worrisome situation of her mother who had breast cancer. Agbani’s mother eventually died two years later.
As a teenager, she desired to be a model despite the conservative nature of her father. After her Secondary education, she proceeded to University of Port Harcourt where she studied Mathematics and Computer Science.
In 2001, Darego was crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. Few months after that, she contested at the Miss Universe pageant, 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.
In November that same year, she became the first native African to claim the Miss World title. Agbani Darego was the winner of the 51st Miss World pageant. She was chosen out of 93 contestants from all over the world. Her victory was widely welcomed in her home country, Nigeria and her one-year tenure included goodwill tours and scheduled appearances and a national honour of MFR. Darego won a total cash prize of $100,000, plus gifts valued at $150,000.
Upon winning the 2001Miss World title in Sun city, South Africa, she was quoted as saying, “Black is Beautiful”.
She was crowned Miss World 2001 by the previous year’s winner and popular Bollywood actress, Priyanka Chopra.
As an indigene of Rivers state, the then governor of the state, Mr. Peter Odili, congratulated her, on her great achievement describing her achievement as “an expression of the natural endowment of the people of Rivers State and noble qualities of Nigerian womanhood”. He went further to say that the historic feat was “symbolic of the spirit of the new Nigerian nation and revitalization of our cultural values”.
Before winning Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Miss Agbani Darego had featured in print commercials for boutique chain Collectables. Other brands she has modeled 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.
In Nigeria, she has appeared 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, Genevieve, True Love, and TW Magazine.
Darego has judged numerous pageants, fashion and modeling competitions including Miss World 2014, Miss England 2002, Mr. Scotland 2002, and Elite Model Look Nigeria in 2012 and 2014.
The Miss World contest was founded by British entrepreneur, Eric Morley in 1951. There have only been three winners from Africa since the inception of the event and two of them were white South Africans, 1958 and 1974. The third was from Arab Egypt in 1954, while Miss Agbani Darego is the first black African woman to win the title.

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