Agbani Darego: The first indigenous African to win Miss World

25 Mar 2020 | Priya Bhardwaj

Miss World 2001, the 51st edition of Miss World, was held on 16th November 2001 at the Super Bowl of Sun City Entertainment Centre in Sun City, South Africa where Miss World 2000 Priyanka Chopra crowned her successor Agbani Darego as Miss World 2001.

Born in 1982, Agbani hails from Abonnema, River State but was raised in Port Harcourt. She is the sixth out of the eight children of her parents and did her schooling from Breton Montessori Nursery and Primary School. She was later sent to a boarding school and soon after two years of her departure, her mother passed away due to breast cancer.



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Darego always aspired to become a model and even after majoring in computer science and mathematics, she had an inclination towards beauty contests. With an exceptional height of 182 cm, she possessed adorable features and a charming personality which gave her invincible confidence to do something phenomenal. Hailing from a conservative family, Agbani’s father dismissed her dream of entering into beauty contests. Nonetheless, the diva at the young age of 19, participated in The Face of Africa where she bagged the position of a runner up and received the title of Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria.

The competition acted as a door for her to enter into the international beauty pageants and she later participated in Miss Universe 2001 where she was placed amongst the top 10 finalists, marking herself as the first Nigerian to reach that level. After trying her luck in Miss Universe 2001, she aimed for the crown of Miss World 2001 and with her astonishing performance, became the first indigenous African to be honored with the highly coveted title of Miss World 2001.



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She was given a warm welcome by the citizens of her country and her victory was celebrated all across Nigeria. In her reigning period of one year, Darego advocated for the awareness of breast cancer and made goodwill trips to different countries.

Her victory in Miss World 2001 awarded her with the honorary chieftaincy by the Council of Chiefs of Lagos, designating her as the youngest chiefs in her country. Darego, in 2013, launched her denim range, AD by Agbani Darego, which includes jeans, dresses, sunglasses and bags. In 2017, the diva got hitched with her longtime partner Ishaya Danjuma.

Agbani witnessed huge ups and downs in her life but amid all the struggles, she did not forget her goal and worked hard to accomplish it in any way. She did not leave any chance to win the crown of Miss World 2001 and her victory marked the victory of her country as well. "I'm not going to be a model for the rest of my life. I want to be a successful businesswoman. I want to be good at everything.", said Darego, speaking of her ambitions. The statement strongly demonstrates her will-power, determination, and self-esteem which made her the winner of every competition of her life.