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An Evening With Vanessa Williams

Source: Jeff Golden / Getty

Vanessa Williams is making a return to the Miss America Pageant this weekend after the organization snatched her crown 31 years ago. But she never really needed that thing anyway.

In 1983, Vanessa was the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America. Shortly after she won the title scandal struck as naked pictures of her were released. These days that’s really no big deal in the celebrity life cycle, but back then it was huge! As a result, Vanessa apologized for her actions before having to give up her crown.

After being shunned by the Miss America organization, it was a surprise when reports surfaced that they were ready to patch things up with Vanessa. Supposedly, she’s set to appear at the beginning of tomorrow’s pageant, when she will received an apology from the organization and be given a brand new crown. According to, though, there’s been a little friction between pageant officials and Vanessa‘s camp because they expected her to apologize (again) on Sunday.

Whatever misunderstanding may have occurred between Vanessa and the pageant this go round, however, it’s evident that she was always meant to come out on top! In the years since her falling out with Miss America, Vanessa‘s career has just been win after win after win. And it all happened without the crown!

Just in case you forgot how awesome her career has been since 1983, here are some receipts.


After Miss America, Vanessa re-emerged as a singer with her 1988 album The Right Stuff. She’s released a total of eight albums over the years, including The Comfort Zone, and she’s earned 11 Grammy nominations for her efforts.


Vanessa has starred in some of our favorite films, including Light It Up and Shaft. And who will ever forget her epic scene in Soul Food?!

MUST READ: Vanessa Williams Gets A Ride Of Fame


Ugly Betty

Vanessa brought her claws on Ugly Betty to play Wilhelmina Slater the divalicious editor of Mode who was beautiful as she was ambitious and crafty. Whenever the heroes thought they’d taken Wilhelmina out, she had another trick to pull out of her bag. Never has ABC had a more fabulous TV villain, and we loved her for being so very bad.

Desperate Housewives

Not long after Ugly Betty ended, Vanessa returned to ABC to join the ladies of Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives! She shook things up in seasons 7 and 8.


Vanessa almost has more awards than you can count, and it all started in 1989 when she won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist. She also snagged one for Outstanding Female Artist in 1994 and another for Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture for her role in Soul Food in 1997.

Over the years, she also won a Billboard Music Award (No.1 Adult Contemporary Single, 1993), a Theater World Award (Best Debut Performance, 1994), Teen Choice Award (Choice TV Villain, 2007), a Human Rights Campaign award (Ally for Equality, 2008), and a Satellite Award (Best Supporting Actress In a TV Series, 2011) just to name a few.

But perhaps her biggest recognition of all was getting her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007! Oh, and these beauties are also somewhere in her trophy room!



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Keep Your Crown: All The Ways Vanessa Williams Won After Miss America!  was originally published on