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Agbani Asenite Darego is the first Nigerian woman to win the Miss World title. She is best referred to as the first native Sub-Saharan African to win Miss World.
Born to a family of eight, Darego hails from Abonnema, Rivers State. She attended the University of Port Harcourt where she studied Computer Science and Mathematics.
With a desire to be a model, Darego auditioned for the M-Net Face of Africa modelling competition, but she did not win.
In 2001, Agbani was crowned the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria.
A few months later, she was a contestant at Miss Universe, and became the first Nigerian to be placed among the top 10 semi-finalists, finishing seventh overall.
At 18, Agbani became the first native African to claim the Miss World title and this earned her goodwill trips and scheduled appearances on behalf of the pageant, and a national honour of MFR.
Before winning MBGN, Agbani had featured in print commercials for boutique chain Collectables.
She 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.
Shortly after her reign as Miss World, she 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, MarieClaire, Allure, 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, Agbani has appeared in advertising campaigns for hair care brand, Gentle Touch 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.
Agbani has judged numerous pageants, fashion and modelling competitions including Miss World 2014, Miss England 2002, Mr. Scotland 2002, and Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 and 2014.
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.
She also studied Psychology at New York University and graduated in 2012.