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Meet Africa’s Top 5 Most Successful Beauty Queens

While it is true that many strive to conform to the mass media’s standard of what is beautiful, there is in fact no ideal definition of physical beauty that is universally acceptable. For this reason, beauty pageants or competitions attempt to rank or judge contestants on a narrow set of attributes that often include physical features, personality, intellect, and natural talent.

In admiration of all things beautiful, we present the following rundown of five of Africa’s most successful beauty queens. All of them have excelled in at least one of the “Big Four” international beauty pageants.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Margaret Gardiner became the first African to win the Miss Universe title in a ceremony held in Acapulco, Mexico. In the 4th round, she came in the top position among five finalists and won the pageant after correctly answering the final question.

Gardiner is a published author of two books on health and beauty, and she also holds a degree in Psychology from the College of Charleston.

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Mpule Kwelagobe was crowned Miss Universe in 1999 at a colorful ceremony in Trinidad and Tobago. With her win, she became the third African woman to win an international beauty pageant. Afterward, Kwelagobe enjoyed a successful career as model, promoting international brands such as Clairol.

In 2000, she was appointed as a UN Goodwill Ambassador with her newfound voice as an international celebrity. In her post, Kwelagobe called global attention to developmental problems in Africa, particularly those affecting women and children.

Despite her packed schedule, Kwelagobe found the time to earn a degree in International Political Economy from the Columbia University in New York, and today, she is married to Indian-American Abhijoy Gandhi and a Mother of one.

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Even though Egyptian national of Greek descent Antigone Costanda won the Miss World competition in 1954, Agbani Darego, a model and beauty queen, became the first Black African to win the competition when she was crowned queen in 2001 in a ceremony in Sun City South Africa.

During her reign, Darego participated in several fashion shows to raise funds for charities. She also appeared in several commercials and even negotiated a modeling contract with Donald Trump’s modeling agency.

She landed a three-year contract with L’Oreal (pictured), becoming the only Black model to accomplish that after American Vanessa Williams.

Darego has a degree in Psychology from New York University.

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TV host, model, and actress Leila Lopes won the 2011 Miss Universe at a ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Before her win, she was at various times Miss Angola UK and Miss Angola.

During her one-year reign as Miss Universe, Lopes visited several African and Caribbean countries, attended the UN conference on sustainable development in Brazil, and was invited to walk the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. She also had several photo sessions, appearing in the Portuguese edition of Maxim magazine.

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Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World 2014 at a ceremony in London. Before becoming Miss World, Strauss, competed in the Miss South Africa 2011 but only placed in the top 5. She then returned three years later to compete and win the Miss South Africa 2014 at a ceremony held at Sun City, Super Bowl.

As Miss World, Strauss visited many countries around the world, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Mexico to raise funds for charities.

Strauss in a medical student at the University of the Free State. She is married to D’Niel Strauss and they have a son.

Image result for Rolene StraussRolene Strauss and D’Niel Strauss

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