Vanessa Williams is speaking out this week to open up about how she survived being forced to give up her Miss America title back in the 1980s, saying that she got through the scandal because of a rock-hard belief in herself.
It was in 1983 that Williams became the first black woman to be crowned Miss America. Just a few weeks before her reign was set to come to an end, however, she was forced to resign by bosses of the pageant after Penthouse magazine published unauthorized nude photos of her.
This scandal would have broken many people, but not Williams.
“I think I was really centered in knowing I know who I am and I’ll get there, and once the dust settles, you’ll see,” Williams, 58, told Page Six. “And also distancing [myself] from the two opposite symbols of Miss America and a scandalized beauty queen and me being a normal kid in the middle who was a junior in college.”
Instead of quitting the entertainment world, Williams spent years building a hugely successful career as a singer and actress. She has since starred on shows like “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives,” and is known for her signature song “Save The Best For Last.”
Williams went on to say that it was only after she became a mother of three adult daughters that she realized just how much ugliness she had to deal with when she was a young woman barely out of her teens.
“Having kids and seeing my kids at the age of 20 and seeing my kids and realizing not only was I famous but all the stuff I had to manage and accept and fight through,” she said.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Williams was starring on London’s West End in “City of Angels.” Now that things are returning to normal, Williams is eager to make her return to the show.
Until she can do that, Williams is using her fame to help auction off items at the Roundabout Theater’s 2021 gala in Central Park.
We applaud Williams for never giving up, and showing the world that you should never let anyone stop you from achieving your dreams.