Vanessa Williams Biography
In 1980, she competed in the Miss New York which led to her winning the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. She became the first Miss America who is an African American. At the Miss America pageant, she won the Talent and Swimsuit competition. Her winning the pageant led to controversies and she received many death threats and hate mail, mainly racist. While she was still the reigning Miss America, nude photos of her begun to appear. She claimed that the pictures were private and dates back to 1982.
Playboy magazine was first offered the photos but the magazine refused to publish them in respect of her as an individual and as the first African American Miss America. It was Penthouse which eventually published the pictures at the reported amount of $14 million. The scandal prompted the Miss America officials to resign as the Miss America 1984. Vanessa resigned although she is still recognized as Miss America 1984a.
In 1988, Vanessa released her first recording album The Right Stuff. The single Dreamin was a hit on the R&B charts. She was nominated for three Grammy Awards for the album. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Entitled The Comfort Zone it had several singles which reached the top of the charts. The single Save the Best for Last reached the #1 Billboard Hot 100 and it became thee times platinum in the US.
She also appeared in Broadway, in the Kiss of the Spider Woman. She was also the Witch in Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim, which was nominated in the Tony Awards. She also appeared in One Man Band and Checkmate which were staged at the Kennedy Center.
For films she was seen in Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, in Eraser, in Dance With Me, in My Brother and in And Then Came Love. For television she was seen in The Love Boat, The Fresh Prince of Bell Air, Ally Mc Beal and other shows including miniseries and specials. At present she is in the hit series Ugly Betty where she was nominated in the last Emmy Awards.