Representing Nigeria, Agbani Darego was crowned Miss World on November 16, 2001. She is the first black African to win the title.
Born in 1982, Darego hails from a town called Abonnema in the Rivers State area of southern Nigeria. Her full name is Ibiagbanidokibubo Asenite Darego, and she was the sixth of eight children in her family. Her father was a customs official, while her mother, Inaewo, had a rice-trading business which necessitated frequent travel; on her trips Inaewo bought clothing and sold it in a clothing boutique where Darego spent many hours as a little girl, paging through foreign fashion magazines.
But Darego was sent off to a boarding school when she was ten years old. Two years later, her mother died of breast cancer, and Darego later realized she had been sent away to shield her from her mother's condition. "I wasn't too happy at first, but it prepared me for my life now," she reflected about being away from home in an interview with Julia Llewellyn Smith of the Mail on Sunday. "I learned to be on my own. It makes you independent."