Nigeria has never been in short supply of talented beauty queens. There have been a plethora of beautiful ladies who have represented the country in different categories but it was the emergence of Agbani Darego that propelled the country’s beauty pageantry into global renown.
Since Agbani reached the apex of pageantry, she has built a successful professional life as a businesswoman, model, as well as her personal life. Having transitioned a lot in recent years, we look at everything Darego has been up to since her reign as Miss World.
Meet Agbani Darego, The African Record Setter
Agbani was born Ibiagbanidokibubo Asenite Darego on December 22, 1982, in Abonnema, Rivers State, Nigeria. She is the sixth out of eight children born to her parents. Her father was a customs official and her mother, Inaewo, had a rice-trading business and a boutique which necessitated frequent travelling.
As a little girl, Darego developed a penchant for the fashion world. She would spend hours reading through foreign fashion magazines brought by her mother. After completing her secondary education at Federal Government Girls’ College, Abuloma, Agbani proceeded to the University of Port Harcourt, to study Computer Science.
One year into her studies at the University, her slender physique and 1.82 m height propelled her to venture into beauty pageantry. She started with The Face of Africa modelling contest, which took place in Lagos and came out as runner-up. In January 2001, Darego won the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria contest and became eligible for the Miss World pageant later that year.
In November of the same year, at the international contest held in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, she was crowned Miss World. Her victory made her the first indigenous African woman to claim the title. Her win earned her a national honour, MFR, and as part of the tradition, went on several goodwill trips around the globe.
Agbani Darego’s Post-Pageantry Life
When the one-year reign as Miss World is over, it can be a challenge forging a path ahead, that may or may not include the global recognition that comes with holding the crown. Agbani Darego has successfully risen to the challenge and made something of herself, professionally and personally. Professionally, Agbani is an entrepreneur, a model, and a beauty pageant judge.
International Modeling Career
Before winning Miss World, Darego featured in print commercials for the boutique chain Collectibles. But her stint as Miss World opened up more doors in her modelling career. Being the first black woman from Africa to win the Miss World pageant, Darego made her achievement worth it by expanding the breadth of her career.
Agbani Darego relocated to London, where she developed her career as a model. She joined Naomi Campbell as a participant in Frock ‘n’ Roll, a charity fashion show. She signed a modelling contract with Trump Model Management and Next Model Management. Her deal with the latter helped her land a three-year contract with L’Oreal, becoming the second black model of the cosmetics company.
As part of her modelling successes, she walked runways and featured in campaigns for brands like Avon, Christian Dior, Sephora, Target, and Macy’s. In Nigeria, she appeared in campaigns for Gentle Touch and was the face of Arik Air.
She also appeared in several major fashion magazines, like Elle, Marie Claire, Trace, Essence magazine, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, to mention a few. At home, she has featured on the cover of True Love, Complete Fashion, ThisDay Style, and TW Magazine.
Agbani Darego, the Entrepreneur
In 2013, Darego founded AD by Agbani Darego, a retail clothing brand. To follow the trend of business, Darego launched in 2014, an e-commerce platform called AD by agbanidarego.com where online buyers can easily access her branded products. Under her clothing brand, Agbani sells fashion pieces like jeans, dresses, sunglasses, and bags.
Though she does not have an NGO of her own, Agbani Darego has been supportive of some NGOs.
She is a notable supporter of Dr. Kerry’s foundation, an NGO established to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases in Africa.
Beauty Pageant Judge
She has also judged numerous pageants, as well as fashion & modelling competitions, including Miss World 2014, Miss England 2002, Mr. Scotland 2002, and Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 and 2014. As part of her work in curating the next modelling stars, she launched a style and fashion reality show, Stylogenic. The show ran on local television for a few years.
She Completed Her Tertiary Education
It hasn’t all been runways and business endeavours for Agbani Darego since she passed on the Miss World crown. She also went back to school to finish her college education. While based in New York, she enrolled in New York University and studied Psychology and graduated in May 2012. Her modelling work schedule caused her to end her education at the University of Port Harcourt.
Outside of her endeavours, Agbani’s accomplishment has earned her some accolades. The most notable is an honorary chieftaincy title given to her by the Council of Chiefs of Lagos. Following her investiture ceremony, Darego became one of the youngest chiefs in the country.
Agbani Darego Is Married To A Nigerian Elite
Being one of the most recognized women in Nigeria and Africa, Agbani Darego was never short on suitors. While a few made their intentions public, like the ace rapper, MI Abaga, only one man won the prize – Ishaya Danjuma.
Ishaya is most renowned as the son of Nigeria’s former Defence minister and notable businessman, Theophilus Danjuma. We don’t know much about him other than the fact that he is well involved in his father’s business.
The black beauty married her sweetheart, Ishaya Danjuma, on April 8, 2017, in Marrakesh, Morocco. Only 35 people attended their wedding. The rest of the world had to settle for pictures shared from the wedding and honeymoon on Instagram.
Since they got married, the couple has welcomed a child, a son, in September 2018. The child was born in London. Details about the family’s whereabouts remain unknown, thanks to the couple’s notoriety for keeping their private lives away from the public.