In 2001 Sun City, South Africa, Miss World crowned its first black African queen, Agbani Darego, an 18-year-old stunning sensation from Nigeria.
Miss Agbani Darego hails from Rivers State in Nigeria. At the age of 18 as an undergraduate student of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Port Harcourt, she decided to pursue her passion for modeling, despite the conservative nature of her father. She contested and won the Most Beautiful Girl pageant in Nigeria. In 2001, she finished 7th place at the Miss Universe pageant however, that same year, she competed in the Miss World pageant and from a pool of 93 contestants from around the world; Miss Agbani Darego emerged as the winner, becoming the first black African woman to win the title.
Agbani’s victory is one to be recognized because since the inception of the pageant in 1951, there were only three winners from Africa; two were white South Africans (1958 and 1974, respectively) and the third was from Arab Egypt (1954).
Agbani’s one-year pageant tenure included goodwill trips and scheduled appearances. After her tenure, she judged numerous pageants, fashion and modeling competitions including Miss England 2002, Mr. Scotland 2002 and Elite Model Look Nigeria, 2012. In 2010, she launched a style and fashion reality show, Stylogenic on Nigerian television and in the summer of 2013, she launched her denim line, AD by Agbani Darego, which features a luxurious and affordable retail brand that caters to a range of body types and silhouettes www.adbyagbanidarego.com.
Before Agbani’s victory in the Miss World Pageant, pageantry was not encouraged in Nigerian society. However, her victory in the pageant became widely welcomed in Nigeria with more Nigerians gaining more exposure to international pageantry.