Oluchi Onweagba-Orlandi (born August 1, 1980) 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.
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. 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.
After moving to New York City, where she still lives, Oluchi 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. Orlandi’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, Onweagba 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.
After her three-year contract with Elite expired, Onweagba 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 Johannesburg 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 was selected as host and head judge of Africa’s Next Top Model
In 2006 Onweagba got married to Italian fashion designer Luca Orlandi. In April 2007 their son Ugochukwu was born.
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