Home Forums African Models and their Ideologies AFRICAN MODELS: AGBANI DAREGO.

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    Jennifer Festus




    Agbani Darego, born on the 22nd of December 1982 is a Nigerian model and beauty queen who was crowned Miss World in 2001.



    She was born in Lagos and her family later relocated to Port Harcourt when she was two years. She lost her mother to breast cancer and she has once attributed her preparation for tough challenges to the hurt from this loss. Her dream of becoming a model was inspired during her teenage days, she auditioned for the M-Net Face of Africa modeling competition despite her conservative father’s wishes; she was not chosen as a finalist but she forged ahead.




    She attended secondary school at Federal Government Girls’ College, Abuloma, and upon completion, she attended the University of Port Harcourt where she studied Computer Science and Mathematics.



    Darego featured in print commercials for boutique chain collectables




    In 2001, she was crowned the most beautiful girl in Nigeria, a few months after that, she contested at Miss Universe and became the first Nigerian to make it to the top 10 semi-finalists, and finished seventh overall. She is remembered as the only top 10 contestants to wear a modest outfit as opposed to a revealing bikini during the swimsuit competition.



    In the November of that year, she became the first indigenous African to claim the Miss World title. Her victory was a thing of joy and celebration in her home country. Her one-year tenure included goodwill trips and scheduled appearances on behalf of the pageant and an MFR.




    After Miss Universe, she was invited to participate in Frock ‘n’ Roll, a charity fashion show in Barcelona by Naomi Campbell, and shortly after, negotiated a modeling deal with Trump Model Management in America. Shortly after her reign as Miss World she was represented by 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 for Vogue. 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, working with numerous designers including Oscar de la Renta, Marc Bouwer, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and Gianfranco Ferre.




    In her homeland, Darego has appeared in advertising campaigns for the hair care brand Gentle Touch with model Oluchi and 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




    In the aftermath of her win in 2001, Darego was awarded an honorary chieftaincy by the Council of Chiefs of Lagos. At the time of her investiture, she was one of the youngest chiefs in the country.




    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, Ford Models, and Trump Models, she enrolled with New York University to study Psychology, graduating in May 2012.




    In April 2017, Darego married her longtime partner Ishaya Danjuma, son of billionaire General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, in a ceremony held in Marrakesh. Together they have a son who was born in September 2018 and welcomed another child in December 2020.




    In the Nigerian household, she is considered the synonym of beautiful, they will often say, “you look like Agbani Darego” when trying to express how pleasing a girl looks. She is the epitome of all things beautiful.

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