Monday, 1 September 2014

Unforgettable Models Series - Agbani Darego - A History Maker That Is Inspiring And Would Continue To Inspire Generations Within And Out Of The Shores Of Her Field.

     PEOPLE OF COLOUR HAVE BEEN THOUGHT OF AS BACKWATERS OF THE SOCIETY!. That they - or should i say - we are only followers of proposed solutions and not solution providers. From the times of the lucrative business of SLAVE TRADE to the era of RACISM towards the descendants of the founding fathers of hypenated citizenship for people of colour in foreign countries, the first sentence of this article would not be thought of as a tongue-lash by a coloured pessimist but as a fact that these people of colour - in modern times- have come to terms with! But unfortunately for that very first sentence, AWEDATHECOMPLEXMAN and others - who have taken time to step out of the crowd to watch and compare the past, the present and the almost palpable but lingering virtual future in between these times- stand to heavily disagree with a sweet smile on our faces and a lot of proof to undermine the power of that berating statement !

     In every ramification of life, a person of colour is present and now mostly at the top of the hierachy. This is not a post to show a racial war that is being won but just one to point out the very way that things should be looked at. If not in the eyes of others, everyone is equal in mine. Just as Neil Amstrong was the first man to land on the moon or that Albert Einstein was the only man to use 30% of his Brain are unforgettable feats in history, so is Barrack Hussein Obama being the First Black American President or - to the main point of this article- Agbani Darego being the First Black African to wear the most coveted Miss World Crown ! Therefore, there is no need, dear reader, to ask why i have tagged her as an unforgettable face in the world of Models.
Agbani Darego.
     Ibiagbanidokibubo Asenite Darego was born in 1982 to the Darego family which hails from Abonnema in Rivers State,Nigeria. Of course, no one would have ever thought that out of the substantial number of infants born into the world on the same day Agbani Darego was also born on African soil, that she would in the succeeding years become a history maker, not just in her homeland Nigeria, but in the world at large!
Agbani, who always wanted to be a model as a teenager did not seem to want to let her dream slip from her tight hopeful grip. In the period when Agbani was a teenager, no African father would willingly let his daughter go into modeling mostly for conservative reasons and equally as an African man, Agbani’s father was no exception. Yet, she went on to audition for the M-Net face Of Africa Modelling Competition – the same platform on which supermodel Oluchi Onweagba was discovered- but was not chosen as a finalist. Being the dream chaser that she was, she did not give up hope and therefore this down-point was just a preparation for the great things that even she might not have expected.

     In later years- shortly after the down turn of events at the Face of Africa auditions- Agbani contested for the Most Beautiful Girl In Nigeria 2001(MBGN 2001) Title and won! From there, she proceeded to contest at the Miss Universe 2001 Beauty Pageant and became the first Nigerian to be among the Top 10 Finalists of the competition – a history making milestone in her just beginning career that needed an upgrade… which in due time, came up-. In that same year, she contested with the world beauties on the 51st Miss World 2001 stage in Sun City, South Africa- which aired in Nigeria on NTA 2 Channel 5 and 5 year old Aweda happened to be glued to his tv set to witness the seat gripping event that unfolded on the screens at midday-. 
Agbani Darego in a Maillot Swimsuit At The Miss World 2001 Beauty Pageant.

     Being the only one to put on a maillot instead of a bikini which owned the stage on that very day, surely intimidation wasn’t one of Agbani’s buddies and she graced the stage with her astonishing beauty and the poise of a professional- which she already was-. On getting to the Top 3, she was asked ; paraphrasing “ What Are The 3 Things You Would Take On A Journey?” and her response if I remember correctly “ I’d Take With Me A Blanket, The Holy Bible And Water”. These were the intelligent words of an 18 Year Old  Nigerian Beauty Queen on that stage which I can bet had tension looming over it like ghosts in Nollywood Movies! These words, her beauty and her graceful presence made it convinving enough for her to be crowned as the First Black Woman to wear the coveted Miss World crown – though 3 other Africans of European descents from South Africa and Egypt had won the competition in the past-.

Agbani Darego Crowned Miss World 2001

L-R - 1st Runner Up, Miss Aruba, Miss Nigeria,Winner, Miss World 2001 and 2nd Runner Up, Miss Scotland.

     Being Miss World meant being the most beautiful girl at the time. But being a Black Miss World meant placing your name in the book of histories, never to be erased. After this feat, Agbani who was a student of Computer Science at the University Of Port-Harcourt in her state of origin, had to leave school to optimize the oppurtunities her title presented her. She landed herself a 3-Year contract with L’oreal and again made history but this time, as second to Vanessa Williams who had been the first woman of colour to land that same contract!
Agbani Darego L'oreal Paris Campaign.
     Also working with top brands like Avon, Dior, Sephora, Target,and Macy’s, gracing the covers of equally top magazines like Elle, Marie Claire,Stitch, Cosmopolitan and Essence, Agbani Darego’s star status did not leave the stage which it was meant to be, I mean, THE WORLD STAGE. Designers not left out, she also worked with the likes of Oscar De La Renta, Marc Bouwer, Tommy Hilfiger, Gianfranco Ferre, Ralph Lauren just to mention a little out of the lot she’s worked with she proved herself worthy of the title which she held and also proved that she could do better even after her reign! In Nigeria, she, alongside Oluchi Onweagaba became the face of the Hair Product “GENTLE TOUCH”. She also took to the skies by being the current face of ARIK AIR in Nigeria !
Agbani Darego For Gentle Touch.
Agbani Darego As Brand Ambassador For Arik Air Nigeria.

     A few years back she began the AD By Agbani Darego Denim Line of bags, jeans and dresses. She has judged various modeling shows in Nigeria like the Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012 and internationally on the Miss England And Mr. Scotland Pageants In 2002, sharing her professional insights behind the judges table that would definitely be as treasured gold to those who had the privilege of being part of that experience at the time. Agbani later went back to school to get a degree in Psychology in New York State University and graduated in 2012. She has proven herself to be a goal getter with a strong mind and firm hold on what she wants whether she has them or not.
Agbani Darego At The Elite Model Look Nigeria Competition 2012

Agbani Darego Looking Stylish And Elegant At The Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards.

Agbani Darego At He Graduation From New York University With Supermodel Oluchi

     Like I said earlier, this is not a post to about racism or the breakthroughs people of colour have come to see but to appreciate someone who by the grace of the powers unknown to us in conjunction with her zeal and passion to be great, made the impossible become possible and without any doubt, giving hope to young people with dreams of becoming something great in future out there whether black, white, asian or latino. I am someone who has been inspired not just by her achievements but by her drive towards getting there. She like anyone else faced disappointments but did not use them as an excuse not to move forward. She paved the way for a lot of people out there and still is.

     Agbani Darego, A History Maker With A Story Full Of Inspiration Thereby Making A Name For Herself That Is Highly Indispensable In Any Place That The Names Of Great Men And Women Of The World Of Fashion Subjects Are Mentioned.

P.S- This series is in no particular order and the previous or latter models featured on this series are not higher or lower in ranking than the other according to the chronology in which their articles may occur.