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History of Beauty Pageants in Nigeria: The Good, Ugly and the Untold Sides.

Beauty pageants in Nigeria and how it all started. The birth of Miss Nigeria, MBGN, Miss Earth Nigeria and so on. 

History of Beauty Pageants in Nigeria 

Beauty pageants started operating in Nigeria many years back notably early 1950s. It was Daily Times Newspaper who initiated beauty pageant in Nigeria with Miss Nigeria, thus owned the franchise. 

The first Miss Nigeria contest was won by Grace Atinuke in 1957. Miss Nigeria started as a photo contest in 1957. All Contestants are meant to post their photographs to the Daily Times headquarters in Lagos where finalists were shortlisted.

First Miss Nigeria Finalists 


Nigerian Foremost Beauty Queens

The few Successful candidates were invited to compete in the live finals which as at that time did not include the swimsuit sequent at the Lagos Island Club. UAC employee, Grace Oyehide won the maiden edition of Miss Nigeria, she was succeeded by secretarial student, Helen Anyamaeluna, while former seamstress, Nene Etule remains the only non Nigerian to have won the contest.

First Miss Nigeria,Grace Atinuke


Though she was eligible as Southern Cameroon was still under the Nigerian constitution in 1959. The next year, the contest was briefly renamed miss independence to commensurate the country’s independence from Britain and the winner, Rosemary Anieze was crowned.

The 1960s saw Miss Nigeria competing at international level, Yemi Idowu who won the contest in 1962, was a semi finalist at the Miss United States in 1963. Her successor sales girl Edna Park was the first Nigerian at Miss Universe in 1964. She is best remembered for disrupting the event by collapsing after failing to reach the first 15 spot. After park, no other Miss Nigeria competed in Miss Universe. Rose Balogun became the first official Miss Nigeria at Miss World in 1967.

The birth of Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN)Pageant.

The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, also known as MBGN is a beauty pageant organised by the Silverbird group with the aim of sending representatives to international competition originally known as Miss Universe, Nigeria. It was renamed most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria after Daily Times lost its license to send delegates from rival contests, Miss Nigeria, to Miss World and Miss Universe.


Silverbird boss, Senator Ben Murray Bruce promoted a new pageant known as Miss Universe in 1983, after it changed it’s name to most Beautiful Girl In Nigeria (MBGN) in 1986, its maiden winner was model Lynda Chuba. In 2007 Silverbird announced that the pageant would produce four more representatives besides the winner.


The original titles were Miss MBGN Universe, (to represent Miss Universe), MBGN Tourism (for Miss Tourism International) and MBGN ECOWAS (for Miss ECOWAS pageant). A fifth title MBGN Model which allowed its holder to compete in modeling contests at the international level was dropped, and replaced with MBGN Ambassador, with its winner performing ceremonial functions in the country.

Miss Agbani Derego became the winner of the MBGN crown in 2001 and later went on to win the Miss World pageant in 2001.
She became the first black African to wear the coveted crown.


Official launching of Miss Earth Pageant

  • Miss Earth-Nigeria is an annual beauty pageant in Nigeria to select its representatives to the international Miss Earth pageant with the theme “Beauties for a course” it is organised by AMC productions and began sending representatives to Miss Earth, a year after the international pageant was established in 2001. The National Director for Nigeria to Miss Earth is Ibinabo Fiberesima.

Miss ECOWAS PEACE PAGEANT

The Miss ECOWAS Nigeria pageant is a wholly intellectual pageant that produces two delegates who will move on to represent Nigeria alongside delegates from other ECOWAS member states at the international ECOWAS peace pageant endorsed by the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, among several other pageants.

List of pageants in Nigeria 

 There are arguably over 1000 beauty pageants in Nigeria and they have been keeping lots of Nigerian Youths busy with monetary gains for both the winners and the organizers through the sale of forms, endorsements and sponsorships by corporate organizations.
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