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Apr 29, 2009

Miss World 2001: Agbani Darego

Ibiagbanidokibubo 'Agbani' Asenite Darego (born 1983), is a Nigerian model, best known for being the first black African to be crowned Miss World in 2001.Darego hails from Abonnema, Rivers, and was born into a family of eight children. At ten, Darego was sent to boarding school in a bid to shield her from her mother who had breast cancer. Darego's mother died two years later, and her daughter has spoken of how the loss prepared her for the future.

As a teenager, Darego longed to be a model. Although her conservative father was against the idea, she entered the M-Net Face of Africamodelling competition, but failed to make it past the first round. She achieved greater success when she was crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 2001. Contrary to popular belief, Darego did not replace Valerie Peterside after the latter was dethroned - Peterside had won Miss Nigeria. Darego managed to divide her time between her official duties with her education at the University of Port Harcourt where she was studying Computer Science, and she represented Nigeria in the 2001 Miss Universe competition, held in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She placed among the top 10 semi-finalists, finishing seventh. She was the only black semi-finalist that year - and the only finalist to wear a maillot swimsuit

Miss World
In November 2001, Darego traveled to South Africa to compete in the Miss World competition, beating Miss Scotland and Miss Aruba in the final round. Her victory in the pageant, hosted by American talk show host Jerry Springer, was widely welcomed in her home country, and her reign as MBGN was continued by Ann Suinner.Her one year tenure included goodwill trips and scheduled appearances on behalf of the pageant.

In addition, the organizers of the competition began preparations to host Miss World 2002 in Nigeria.One week before the 2002 pageant, erupted in Kaduna and other cities in northern Nigeria after small protests against the competition inflamed simmering religious tension between Muslims and Christians. Several hundred died in the violence that ensued. The 2002 Miss World competition was moved from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, where it was staged in London that December.

Post-pageant career
Darego left the University of Port Harcourt after her reign as Miss World ended in 2002. She is signed to Next Model Management, and is currently pursuing a modelling career in Europe.She has modelled for L'Oreal cosmetics.In 2006, it was reported that Darego had posed topless at a fashion show; her actions caused an outrage in Nigeria