Oluchi Onweagba

Born: 01/08/1980 (43 yo)
Birth place: Lagos (Nigeria)

Citizenship : Nigeria

Occupation : Fashion Model
Active Years: 1997 to 2008


Oluchi Onweagba is a Nigerian model


Onweagba grew up in the suburbs of Lagos, Nigeria with her two brothers and sisters. She is the daughter of a civil servant father and mother who was a nurse. When Onweagba was 17 years old, she won the "Face Of Africa" contest.


She was urged by a family friend to enter into the M-Net "Face of Africa" preliminary screening at the M-Net office in Victoria Island, Lagos. The agency groomed her to be one of Nigeria's entrants for the 1998 competition (now called the Nokia Face of Africa). This despite the fact that, growing up, she had maintained a relative ignorance towards fashion and modeling. With the support of her family and friends, she decided to compete in the inaugural edition of the Face of Africa in 1998. This was the first-ever continent-wide model competition, organized by the South African channel M-Net in collaboration with Elite Model Management. She won the competition. She was just seventeen years old. Elite Model Management awarded Onweagba a three-year modeling contract.


After moving to New York City, where she still lives, Onweagba graced the covers of Italian Vogue, i-D, Pop, ELLE, Untold, and Surface; she also was featured in Nylon, Marie Claire, Allure, and other national editions of Vogue around the world. She became the face of campaigns for Gianfranco Ferré, Gap, Express, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor, as well as working for Victoria's Secret in print walking for seven consecutive years in the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Onweagba's runway experience has been with John Galliano, Christian Dior, Costume National, Chanel, and Giorgio Armani, amongst others, in London, Milan, Tokyo and Paris. She has worked with such notable photographers as Steven Meisel, Nick Knight, David LaChapelle, and Patrick Demarchelier.

Beyond modeling, she tries to serve as a role model for other aspiring talents in Nigeria, especially young girls. She volunteers her time and her image for such NGOs as LEAP Africa (an entrepreneurship incubator) and NIPRO. She also is continuing her higher education, having studied for an associate's degree in the New York City educational system.

After her three-year contract with Elite expired, she signed with DNA Model Management. A highlight of her career so far was when she was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue four times, from 2005 to 2008.

In 2008, she launched a modeling agency in South Africa, OModel Africa, with offices in Johanesburg and recently in Cape Town. The 2008 winner of M-Net Face of Africa, Kate Tachie-Menson, was awarded a US $50,000 modeling contract by OModel Africa. She is currently the host and head judge of Africa's Next Top Model.

Personal life

Onweagba is married to Italian fashion designer Luca Orlandi. They have a 3-year-old son. Onweagba's first name comes from the Igbo language and means "God's Work".

Websites & Social Networks


Modeling Career:

  • 1998    Wins the M-NET (an African television station) Face of Africa competition and a $150,000 contract with Elite Model Management
  • 1998    Debuts on the runway for Marc Bouwer
  • 1998    Selected as the new face of Nars Cosmetics by Francoise Nars
  • 1998    Returns to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the second season of M-NET's Face of Africa
  • 1998    Featured on the cover of Italian Vogue, photographed by Steven Meisel
  • 1998    Walks the runways for Chanel, Christian Dior, Gucci, and Tommy Hilfiger in Paris, Milan, and New York
  • 1999    Lands a contract with Gap, appearing in print ads and billboards
  • 1999    Steven Meisel photographs Onweagba for a Vogue spread
  • 2000    Appears on the fall cover of British Surface
  • 2001    Walks the fall Christian Dior couture show in Paris
  • 2001    Celebrates her 21st birthday at New York’s Bungalow 8 with model friends including Carmen Kass and Frederique van der Waal
  • 2002    Walks in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
  • 2003    Returns to South Africa to walk in Cape Town’s first official Fashion Week


  • 2004    Signs cosmetics contract with CoverGirl
  • 2004    Walks the fall John Galliano show in Paris
  • 2004    Models for Bergdorf Goodman catalog
  • 2004    Models for Victoria’s Secret catalog
  • 2004    Walks the fall Kenneth Cole and Tommy Hilfiger shows in New York
  • 2004    Appears in print ads for Lancôme
  • 2004    Plays the girlfriend of a thug in the film After the Sunset
  • 2005    Marries designer Luca Orlandi (of Luca Luca) in St. Barts
  • 2006    Featured in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue
  • 2006    Stars as the lead model in GM’s 2007 Cadillac Escalade fashion show, in which she models “Chrome Couture” outfits for the show
  • 2007    Travels to Nigeria for a benefit concert, with the Black Eyed Peas
  • 2008    Featured in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue
  • 2008    Sebastian Faena photographs Onweagba for the fall cover of POP
  • 2008    Appears in two editorials for Vogue