How Agbani Darego became the first African to win the Miss World crown

How Agbani Darego became the first African to win the Miss World crown

Talk about a real black barbie and the name Agbani Darego comes to mind. Lights, smiles and loud cheers all made the precious moment the beauty was crowned Miss World in the first year of the millennium, 2001.

It was more than electrifying when the the tall, black, gorgeous lady in green strolled on the stage of Sun City Entertainment Centre in Sun City, South Africa that faithful day to change the course of history.

93 gorgeous women from different counties, ethnic back grounds all competed for a chance to be crowned Miss World. Asides exploring South Africa and all the beauty it had to offer, all 93 ladies showed up with the hope to be the queen, bearing in mind that only one of them could go home with the sapphire, turquoise, and diamonds ridden crown worth a whooping N262.5 million.

Worthy is the head that wears the crown

How Agbani Darego became the first African to win the 'Miss World' crown
Miss world crown Source: Thesha

The Miss World pageant is one of the longest-serving international beauty pageants in the world. It was created in United Kingdom by Eric Morley in 1951. Since inception, the pageant has raised billions in aid of charitable causes. Although the competition boarders around beauty, it's major goal is to merge beauty with purpose, which is the underlying theme of the world's oldest running international beauty pageant.

Every woman desirous of becoming queen had the objective of serving rather than parading in an expensive crown. It is with such heart they go on to help disabled and underprivileged children, basically being a strong, support system for the voiceless in the society.

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How fate decided Agbani Darego's win

The journey started when Agbani was crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, ultimately qualifying her to be the country's representative in the biggest pageant competitions: Miss Universe and Miss world.

First in the order of things was the Miss Universe competition held at Bayamon, Puerto Rico in 2001. Surprisingly Darego emerged as the one of the top 10 finalists and made her mark when she showed up for the swimsuit competition wearing a maillot as opposed to a two-piece swimsuit like the rest of the contestants.

How Agbani Darego became the first African to win the 'Miss World' crown
Agbani Darego in maillot at Miss Universe in 2001 Source: Facebook, Agbani Darego

That move solidified her place in the top 10 but most likely shielded her from qualifying for top 5. Having gotten that far in the competition, Agbani went with lessons into the Miss World pageant. As all contestants displayed their best selves, the audience already started noting their favourites and she, without effort made the list.

As she grew on the audience, she also captured the attention of the judges.

The final question:

Having battled with 92 other ladies and joining four others namely; Miss Aruba - Zizi Lee, Miss Scotland -Juliet-Jane Horne Miss china PR - Bing Li and Miss Nicaragua - Ligia Cristina Argüello, the ebony queen took her rightful position in the top 5 slot.

Each of the ladies were asked questions that was to determine their fate in the competition and help the judges make a final decision on who truly deserved the crown that evening in Sun City Entertainment centre.

Agbani was asked: “In these men’s world, what do you think you can change which men cannot?” She replied,“First of all I entered Miss World competition because I know it is a very charitable organization. In these men’s world If there’s anything I can do and be is to help the less privileged in the society because I really really want to give them as much help I can give. I love helping the needy at whole times and have a great love for humanity that has helped me and promised me to be the best I can be and to help everyone in need.”

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Watch the top 5 ladies battle it out in the final question round below:

After sharing her passion on the Miss World stage, Agbani's place in the royal chair was sealed. As many watched from several areas of the world, the moment which they had been waiting for finally came.

The results came in thus: second runner-up ; Miss Scotland - Juliet-Jane Horne, first runner-up ; Miss Aruba -Zizi Lee and winner Miss Nigeria - Agbani Darego. This meant she was the first native African to emerge winner of the prestigious beauty pageant, dictating history and putting her country Nigeria on the map for good.

How Agbani Darego became the first African to win the 'Miss World' crown
Miss World 2001Agbani Darego Source: Facebook, Agbani Darego

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