In the early 80s Vanessa Williams made history twice in being crowned Miss America. When she won the prize in September , she was the first African-American woman to do so. By July she became the first Miss America to resign her crown, all over some nude photos from that were published in Penthouse without her consent. Thirty-two years later, she will return as head judge of the Miss America pageant. Multiple Grammy nominations, Broadway roles, films, a hit TV series , and an Academy Award—winning song later, Williams has made the most of the last 32 years.
CNN When nude photos of a celebrity surface nowadays, it's often rumored that the star may have "leaked" them. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Photos: Controversies surrounding beauty queens. Vanessa Williams stepped down in as the first black Miss America after nude photos of her appeared in Penthouse magazine. She went on to have a successful singing and acting career and has written a memoir. Hide Caption.
The page sexually explicit photo layout of Miss Williams, the first black Miss America, features photos taken in early , several months before she won the contest, Penthouse spokesman Sy Presten said in New York. She appears totally nude and in love scenes with another woman. Miss America also will appear on the magazine's cover, which Presten said marks the magazine's 15th anniversary and will be on newstands at the beginning of August. Pageant officials learned of the photos Tuesday and Miss Williams confirmed to officials that she posed.
I t might have been the lowest point in her life, as she told People in , but the scandal that led Vanessa Williams to resign her post as Miss America also set her up for one of the greatest comebacks in entertainment history. But they did leave the studio, partly because she was identifiable: photos of Miss America in compromising positions, some of them involving another nude woman, were worth their weight in gold. TIME reported that the photographer was paid more than Penthouse had ever paid for a photo spread before. The statement that Williams ultimately made was that she was more than a racy photo spread — and more than Miss America. The title had never been a dream of hers, as TIME attested just after she won the competition. She wants to be a star. While the exposure she got was not the type she wanted, she became a star on her own terms, as a Grammy-nominated singer and an actress with prominent roles in Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives , among others. She presumed karma would pick up where legal action left off.