Agbani Darego is a well-known Nigerian model who rose to prominence after winning the Miss World competition in 2001. She beat off famous Indian actress Priyanka Chopra to win the title, making her the first local African diva to do so. This stunning beauty was born in Lagos and raised in D-line, Nigeria, where she lost her mother at a young age. Agbani, a Computer Science and Mathematics student, wanted to be a model. She won the ‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ category in 2001, paving the path for her to compete in the Miss Universe and Miss World beauty pageants that year. Despite finishing seventh in the Miss Universe competition, she was the first Nigerian woman to reach the top ten semi-finalists. Her crowning achievement came when she was crowned Miss World that same year. Modeling contracts with major brands like as Macy’s, Avon, and Target came as a result of her international reputation and recognition. She landed a three-year contract with L’Oréal and a modeling arrangement with Donald Trump’s management. Her career grew throughout the years, with modeling assignments, appearances in magazines, collaborations with renowned designers and photographers, and judging of beauty pageants and modeling competitions.
Childhood and Adolescence
As the sixth of eight children, Agbani Asenite Darego was born on December 22, 1982, in Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria, to Asenite Sikibo Darego and Inaewo. Her ancestors came from Abonnema in Rivers State. Her father was a decorated customs officer who received the ‘First Class of the Federal Republic Medal’ in 1979 for preventing a jewelry smuggling attempt from Nigeria.
Her mother had a rice-trading business.She grew up in D-line, Port Harcourt’s main business and urban residential neighborhood, where her family relocated when she was two years old. She attended Bereton Montessori Nursery and Primary School, a private co-educational school in Rivers State.
Agbani would frequently join her mother when she went on work trips. During these travels, her mother would buy garments to sell to a boutique, where Agbani would peruse many foreign fashion magazines.
She was moved to a boarding school when she was ten years old to protect her from her mother’s declining health due to breast cancer. Her mother died to the sickness after a few years.In an interview with Julia Llewellyn Smith of the ‘Mail on Sunday,’ Agbani spoke of her mother’s illness and growing up alone, saying, “I learned to be on my own.” It makes you self-sufficient.”
She enrolled at the University of Port Harcourt to study Mathematics and Computer Science after completing her secondary education, but her heart ached for a modeling career. Agbani competed in the M-Net Face of Africa modeling competition against her father’s objections, however she did not make it to the finals.
Career of Agbani Darego
Her first forays into the world of fashion and modeling included competing in various pageants and appearing in print commercials for the boutique chain ‘Collectibles.’ She competed in the ‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ beauty pageant, which was organized by the ‘Silverbird Group’ in 2001. She won the title that led to her competing in two of the world’s most prestigious beauty pageants, Miss Universe and Miss World.
On May 11, 2001, she competed in the 50th Miss Universe pageant, which was held in the Coliseo Rubén Rodrguez in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Seventy-seven women competed that year, and while she finished seventh, she made history by becoming the first Nigerian beauty to reach the pageant’s Top ten finalists.
Following the Miss Universe contest, Naomi Campbell, an English actress and supermodel, encouraged her to participate in the charity fashion show ‘Frock ‘n’ Roll’ in Bercelona. Following that, she signed a modeling contract with Donald Trump’s management.
The Miss World pageant was conducted for the 51st time on November 16, 2001, at the Super Bowl of Sun City Entertainment Centre in Sun City, South Africa. Agbani was one of 93 candidates that participated in the competition. Her home country was ecstatic when she was crowned Miss World for the first time. She took the place of Priyanka Chopra, an Indian beauty.
She also received a $100,000 cash reward and $150,000 in gifts in addition to the title. She became the first native African beauty to be crowned Miss World by earning the title, which was MBGN’s largest achievement to date.
During her year as Miss World, she carried out the duties of the title holder admirably, including appearing on behalf of the contest and participating in various goodwill visits. During this time, he was also awarded the MFR national honor.
After her one-year reign as Miss World, she was represented by the Paris and London departments of global model agency ‘Next Model Management.’ After signing a three-year contract with the renowned French cosmetics firm L’Oréal in 2002, she added another feather to her cap. With this, she became the second Black model to achieve such a feat, following Vanessa Williams. She is currently a spokesperson for L’Oréal, with Vanessa Williams, Beyoncé Knowles, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Laetitia Casta, and Natalie Imbruglia.
For the American fashion and leisure magazine ‘Vogue,’ she posed for American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz. ‘Essence,’ ‘Cosmopolitan,’ ‘Stitch,’ ‘Allure,’ ‘Elle,’ ‘Trace,’ and ‘Marie Claire’ are among the magazines that have featured her.
She’s also appeared for Richard Burbridge and Markus Klinko, two well-known photographers.
She continued to model for a number of well-known companies, including Macy’s, Avon, Target, Christian Dior, and Sephora, as well as notable designers such as Marc Bouwer, Gianfranco Ferre, Oscar de la Renta, and Tommy Hillfiger.
She and model Oluchi appeared in advertising for ‘Natures Gentle Touch,’ a hair care line from ‘Recare,’ in Nigeria. In 2011, she became a brand ambassador for ‘Natures Gentle Touch’ and Arik Air, and she was featured on the covers of various magazines, including ‘True Love,’ ‘Genevieve,’ ‘Mania,’ and ‘Complete Fashion.’
In 2013, she founded the retail apparel business ‘AD by Agbani Darego,’ which sells dresses, pants, bags, and sunglasses, among other items. Mr. Scotland 2002, Miss England 2002, Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 and 2014, and Miss World 2014 were among the beauty pageants and modeling competitions she judged.
She is currently signed to Ford Models, an international modeling agency based in the United States.
Personal History and Legacy
Her busy schedule and work obligations prompted her to drop out of University of Port Harcourt, but she graduated from ‘New York University’ in May 2012 with a degree in Psychology. On April 8, 2017, she married Ishaya Danjuma, her long-time sweetheart. General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, Ishaya’s father, is a billionaire from Marrakesh, Morocco.
Estimated Net Worth
Agbani Darego after winning the Miss World competition started to win endorsement and modelling gigs from big brands all over the world. International models earn quite a decent amount of dollars and are exposed to thousands of business opportunities. Currently her Net worth is $3.7 Million.