Agbani Darego, a Nigerian model and beauty queen named Miss World in 2001, has been dubbed the ugliest Miss World ever. A lady known as @MsTariah brought this to the attention of Nigerians by sharing a screenshot of a Google search that portrayed Agbani Darego as the ugliest Miss World ever.
It was also confirmed in the search results, which surprised many Nigerians on social media. Take a look at how Nigerians are reacting to this. @OluwafemiMaduka: I wouldn’t have read much into this because individuals express racism and colourism in various ways. Even large institutions that should be more open-minded in these hills are complicit.
This week, however, marked the 20th anniversary of Nigerian Agbani Darego being crowned Miss World. Since then, Nigerians’ perceptions of beauty have altered dramatically.
Agbani Darego of Nigeria was named Miss World in South Africa in 2001. Agbani Darego was overcome with delight and surprise as she sat regally in front of a live crowd that had just exploded. She appeared dazzling, even transcendent, her eyes catching camera flashes as she walked ceremoniously as the new queen. People were overjoyed at home. The news was filled with a lengthy, jubilant chorus: Nigeria had triumphed for the first time. It was also a watershed moment for Africa since it produced its first indigenous champion.
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Nigeria has not received such extensive attention since hosting FIFA’s U-20 World Cup in 1999. The transition from military control created the appearance of democracy in the country. The new century was enticing, and the internet seemed poised to take over. Fashion was adopting sartorial inspiration from the digital bubble, with tiny sunglasses, vivid hues, and other goofy items pumped with future enthusiasm.
Agbani Darego, then 19, was studying computer science at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria at the time of the beauty pageant. Agbani Darego’s sheath evening gown was olive green with a train in the back, adhering to pageant formality; the V-neckline was embellished with tiny Swarovski stones.
Bobby Eke of Bobby’s Signature was responsible for her hairdo, a bun updo. Many Nigerian women and girls were motivated to imitate their appearance as a cultural souvenir.
The 16th of November marked the 20th anniversary of Agbani Darego’s historic victory. Two decades are worth reflecting on because they evoke nostalgia and a long-lost patriotism. I don’t think we’ll have that moment again for a long time, said Frank Oshodi, the dress designer, laughing. His fashion company, House of Bunor, is still in business, and I spoke with him at his Surulere, Lagos, studio.
He had been drawing a dress before I stepped in. It’s a remarkable occasion that I’ll never forget, especially given my background in fashion. I’m accustomed to seeing my name in Nigeria, but it was on the international stage once she won. It’s become iconic after twenty years!