Our Afronista of the Week is Agbani Darego. On the African continent, she needs no introduction and she is no less popular across the globe. Darego ruled the runway in Nigeria beauty pageantry contests with strides and pose never seen before in the country. Consequently, she won the glamorous Miss World title in 2001, making her the first Black African to ever win the title.
Darego is in very good shape twenty years after her memorable win. Aside from her ever-fashionable look, the rare gem represents a drive for both local and international models. She also continues to promote African fashion and sums it up by maintaining an enviable personal life. What is she up to at the moment? Keep reading to find out.
Who is Agbani Darego?
Ibiagbanidokibubo Asante Darego, popularly referred to as Agbani Darego, is a native of Rivers State, Nigeria. She was born in Lagos State on 22nd December 1982 and is now both a Chief and a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).
Darego is the sixth of eight children. Her father, Asenite Sikibo Darego was a Nigerian customs officer while her mother, Inaewo Darego was a rice trader. When she was two years old, her family relocated to Port Harcourt where she was first enrolled in school.
At age ten, Darego was sent to the Federal Government Girl’s Secondary School, Abuloma. This was to keep her away from the trauma of seeing her mother suffer from breast cancer. The realization did not go down well with the teen. According to her,
“I wasn’t too happy at first, but it prepared me for my life now…I learned to be on my own. It makes you independent.”
Darego’s mother passed away two years into her secondary school education. Before then, however, the industrious mum had already started a local clothing boutique. It was here that Darego came across fashion magazines, developing an interest that will put her on the front cover of even popular magazines.
Bringing Childhood Dream to Reality
Darego’s first activity in the fashion industry was an audition at the MNET Face of Africa, a continent-wide contest organized by a South African channel, Music Network. She did not succeed at it. In fact, she was nowhere close to the runner-ups.
This did not deter the model. The thrill of the experience was all she needed. It was some sort of fuel that increased her passion. Her next step was to expand her search for modeling agencies and pageantries. She got the idea from the pageant manager for the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) during her audition at the MNET competition.
In 1988, she attempted the MNET Face of Africa competition for a second time. The result was quite impressive as she came really close to claiming the top spot. Darego was, however, not ready to accept a near win. She held her head high and went in search of new opportunities.
It took two years before she hit the jackpot. It was at the MBGN contest in 2001. Charming the judges with her eloquent looks and gestures, she won the contest becoming the candidate to represent Nigeria at the Miss World contest later that year. This led to her second and most resounding jackpot; winning the Miss World 2001 title.
The 2001 Miss World contest was held in South Africa. It saw a total of ninety-three contestants compete in a battle of smiles, stance, and poses. Darego once again baffled the judges and her fellow pageants to win the prestigious title. The big win made history. She was just 18-years old, and it was the first time a truly indigenous African was taking the world’s fashion stage.
A Look At Darego’s Unique Styles
Agbani Darego is one of the proud advocates of African designs. Besides modeling them for the runway, she is frequently spotted donning beautiful African pieces. Below are some of her unique styles that caught our attention.
Simple and Classy
This photo taken at a poolside somewhere in Lagos shows Darego hit the simple yet classy button. The fashion queen rocks a deep V-neck white top artfully combined with a high-slit straight-cut purple skirt. On the hair-do, she complements a simple donut bun style with a smile. She also shows off her mini-size grey purse while adding to her stunning pose by having one hand at her side and the other at akimbo.
Here, Darego is seen trending at the Arise Fashion Week 2019 with this design by Odio Mimonet. The purposely oversized gown is held at the center by an extension from each sleeve. It showcases African-style prints on a combination of green, brown, and blue sections. Even though the entire design is unusual, Darego rocked it flawlessly with her hands tucked in.
A Christmas Glow
Agbani Darego expressly celebrates the Christmas season in this flamboyant display. Standing behind is a beautiful Christmas tree and a pair of magical-looking deers, the fashion model appears radiant in a partly transparent gown. The ankle-long gown is laced with golden flower-shaped designs above the waist. The rest of it is then covered in white circles and petal designs. To the side of the dress, there is a bundled cape-like piece.
For her hair, Darego employs a fringe style. This gives her a different look, however, a very attractive one. The model goes further in giving us a taste of her fashion sense by using matching colors for her handbag and shoe.
The UBA CEO Awards 2019 got this fashionista looking chic. She graced the occasion on an impressive white lace gown. As usual, the piece was eye-catching. It featured an off-shoulder, a slit, and an unusually long sleeve design. Darego also made sure she maintained her color matching style.
Sitting pretty has never looked better. The Ex-Miss World winner proves it in this photo taken at the Luxury Connect Africa. She is wearing an elegant deep blue gown designed with a black waistband and no sleeves. Also, her hair is made into tiny braids and packed at the back to offer a good view of her face.
Darego’s stunning all-black look here was in preparation for a holiday dinner. The model showed off her chocolate brown skin by rocking a sleeveless, low décolletage, and beautifully pleated blouse. If this doesn’t catch your attention, her pair of toe-covered pointy shoes definitely would.
Another beautiful feature in this photo is the straight-cut black pants she wore. It brilliantly resonates with the color of the day, with her purse and hair doing the rest of the job.
Rare Ankara appearances
As a global figure, Agbani Darego is using her position to promote African prints. In this one, she rocks a straight-cut gown with parrot prints and pairs it with a coat. Such a flamboyant display on a foreign street is highly commendable.
This form-fitting dress will make you rethink your perception of African prints. The dress is elegant and the intricate folds give it a touch of complexity. Obviously, not every fashion designer can pull this off because it will require patience and a skillful hand.
Here’s what You may not Know about Agbani Darego
Besides her exploit on the runway, Agbani Darego keeps much of her life private. Fans only get a glimpse of her through her social media handle.
#1. Agbani Darego is Married
The 38-year old is a mother and wife alongside her more popular role as a fashion model and contributor. Darego’s husband is the first son of a Nigerian billionaire. His name is Ishaya Danjuma, and according to reports, he was a long-time boyfriend of the beauty queen.
Danjuma and Darego have been married for over four years now. They held their wedding low-key at the Amanjena Luxury Resort in Marrakech, Morocco. Together, they had a son in September 2018.
#2. Darego has Two Clothing Lines
Not every fashion model has an entrepreneurial side—but Darego does. The beauty queen launched her clothing line tagged AD by Agbani Darego after her Miss World title win. According to her,
“Jeans are my loved go-to everyday look and it’s a love I share with a lot of young girls and women for its comfort and simplicity. AD by Agbani Darego is a line that caters to the ease we require of our personal style.”
A few years later in 2018, the industrious woman launched another clothing line. It features a complete set of easy-to-wear dresses that are both trendy and classic. The opening of the online store and the product unveiling for this line took place at The Wheatbaker Lagos.
Agbani Darego won the Miss World title when she was just 18 years. 20 years after, she still stands as a symbol of beauty and courage to the budding models of Africa’s fashion industry. The fashion queen who was the first black African to win the title contributes to African fashion and proudly represents the continent on the global stage. Why do you think Africans don’t win the Miss World title very often? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.