Oluchi Onweagba

Oluchi Onweagba-Orlandi (born 1 August 1980) is a Nigerian model based in New York City.[1][2] Growing up in the suburbs of Lagos, she won "The Face of Africa" contest at the age of 16.[5]

Oluchi Onweagba
Born (1980-08-01) 1 August 1980 (age 41)[1][2]
Luca Orlandi
(m. 2006)
Modeling information
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[3]
Hair colorBlack[2]
Eye colorBrown[2]

Early lifeEdit

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.[2]


At seventeen, Onweagba 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.[6] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] She won the competition.[7]


After moving to New York City, where she still lives, she began appearing in editorials for American and Italian Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Allure, Nylon and W.[citation needed] Oluchi has appeared on the covers of Italian Vogue, Elle, i-D, Pop, Untold, and Surface.

She has walked the runways for Gucci, Carolina Herrera, John Galliano, Missoni, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Christian Dior, Alessandro Dell'Acqua, Jeremy Scott, Helmut Lang, Fendi, Anna Sui, Givenchy, Kenzo, Giorgio Armani, Céline, Nina Ricci, and Diane Von Furstenberg.

She has appeared in advertising campaigns for Gianfranco Ferré, Lancôme, Ann Taylor, Clinique, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Macy's, Banana Republic, Gap, Express, L'Oreal, Coca-Cola, as well as working for Victoria's Secret in print walking for six years in the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.[8][citation needed]

She has worked with such photographers as Steven Meisel, Nick Knight, David LaChapelle, and Patrick Demarchelier.[citation needed]

Beyond modeling, Onweagba tries to serve as a role model for other aspiring talents in Nigeria, especially young girls.[citation needed] 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 degree in the New York City educational system.[citation needed]

After her three-year contract with Elite expired, Onweagba signed with DNA Model Management.[citation needed] She has appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three times.[9]

In 2008, she launched a modeling agency in South Africa, OModel Africa, with offices in Johannesburg and recently in Cape Town.[citation needed] The 2008 winner of M-Net Face of Africa, Kate Tachie-Menson, was awarded a US$50,000 modeling contract by OModel Africa.[citation needed] She was the host and head judge of Africa's Next Top Model in 2013.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Onweagba's first name comes from the Igbo language and means "God's Work".[2][11]

In 2006, Onweagba married Italian fashion designer Luca Orlandi.[1] They were friends for a very long time before they got married.[5] They have two sons and reside in New York. Their son Ugo Ugochukwu is signed to McLaren Racing[12] and was the 2020 FIA European junior karting champion.


  1. ^ a b c Sewing, Joy (25 March 2010). "Supermodel Oluchi Onweagba takes on the world". Houston Chronicle. Downtown Houston, Texas, USA. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Fashion Model Directory: Oluchi Onweagba". Fashion Model Directory. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ https://models.com/models/Oluchi-Onweagba
  5. ^ a b "20 most influential Nigerians". Vanguard News. 9 October 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Facing Off". Times LIVE. Johannesburg, South Africa: Tim. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Model Bio: Oluchi". New York Magazine.
  8. ^ Marsh, Lisa (11 February 2004). "Show Buzz". New York Post. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Throwback Thursday: Oluchi Onweagba". SI.com. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  10. ^ http://antmafrica.com/the-judges/
  11. ^ "2007 Sports illustrated Swimsuit Bio -Oluchi Onweagba". CNN/Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on 24 April 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  12. ^ "McLaren Racing signs agreement with rising karting star Ugo Ugochukwu". McLaren. Retrieved 15 August 2021.

External linksEdit