Agbani Darego: Over a decade in the limelight

Posted: January 31, 2013 in art/entertainment

agbani darego jpgWatching Agbani Darego on the night of November 16 as she strut the stage of the Super Bowl, in Sun City Entertainment Centre, Sun City, South Africa on the occasion of the Miss World 2001 pageant, and then seeing the former beauty queen as she once again strode to the mini centre-stage at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt, on the night of Monday, December 10, last year, nearly 11 years later, and the impression anyone gets is; she has not really changed.

Darego was that night the cynosure of all eyes, and centre of attraction almost stealing the night from a rich line up of music stars that included Shaggy and Patra, from Jamaica, homeboys Duncan Mighty, Burna Boy, and many more, who headlined the 2012 edition of the Rivers State Cultural Festival, otherwise called Carniriv, which officially kicked off to a jam-packed crowd at the famous stadium in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State.

Darego, having bagged the title of being the first black African to win the Miss World crown at its 51st edition in 2001, to her credit, is still held in respect and honour in her home state, for having also brought glory to the Rivers people over the rare feat.

This therefore explains her obvious choice when the organizing agency, the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA), under its Director-General, himself a former Nollywood top figure, Dr. Sam Dede, went shopping for a celebrity to open the Carniriv 2012 in the midst of other equally notable stars that abound in the state.

That spectacular opening ceremony at the jam-packed Liberation Stadium with performances by Darego, who performed a solo rendition of a poetry work alongside some masquerade troupes, as well as the Dance of the Fireflies musical, served to give the festival high marks.

On that occasion Agbani Darego had performed the poetry piece before a crowd that also included Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Tele Ikuru, who had all unusually listened with rapt attention to the recitation.

Over a decade after her pageant feat, Agbani Darego has remained at one with the spotlight while maintaining a low key or profile which in no way takes nothing away from her skill on the runway, performance stage or even the celebrity spotlight all the years after hugging the limelight, which speaks well for character and personae and bodes well also with career.

It was a rare feat winning the Miss World for the first time for a black woman; however, it is also equally a rare feat remaining in the limelight for the right reasons over a decade after hitting it, as many in her shoes are wont to pursue other careers and ventures.

Recall that after the Miss World feat, Darego launched a successful modelling career, signing to Next Model Management, she then moved to Ford Models in New York.  In May last year Darego graduated with a degree in psychology from New York University. Her degree came a decade after she abandoned her studies in Computer Science and Mathematics at Port Harcourt after winning Miss World.

Born in Lagos but raised in Port Harcourt, along with her seven siblings, Darego developed an early interest in fashion through her mother a rice trader who stocked her second business – a boutique – on frequent trading trips. Her mother passed away from breast cancer when Darego was only 10 and she went to boarding school.

Following the competition she moved to London where she spent two years. Thereafter she moved to New York. While in New York she appeared in several top titles including Vogue, Essence, Elle, Marie Claire, Allure, Cosmopolitan, and Trace.  In 2011 she was named the face of Arik Air, she has also been the face of several other high profile brands including L’Oreal.

She turned 30 at the end of 2012 and announced her plans for the future in January 2013. In a recent This Day Style article she revealed that she will launch her denim line AD by AGBANI DAREGO this year.


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