Vanessa L. Williams
- Vanessa V Van Miss America
- Vanessa Lynn Williams
- Tarrytown NY
- United States
- Actress Singer Songwriter
- Beauty Figure Eyes Popularity
- Bad Boys
Vanessa L. Williams Introduction
Vanessa Lynn Williams is a singer, songwriter and actress. She made history in 1983 when she became the first African-American woman crowned Miss America. She then quickly became the first African-American to lose her Miss America crown due to posing nude in Penthouse.
Vanessa L. Williams Life story
Williams was born in Tarrytown, NY to music teachers. She grew up in a white middle class suburban area. Prophetically, her parents put "Here she is: Miss America" on her birth announcement. Also prophetically, she was topless in her first baby photos.
Williams studied piano and French horn growing up, but was most interested in singing. She attended Syracuse University as a Theater Arts major. She discontinued her education at Syracuse during her sophomore year to fulfill her duties as Miss America, which did not include “posing nude in Penthouse.”
By the way, the genesis of the nude photos dated back to when she worked as an assistant and makeup artist for Mount Kisco, N.Y. photographer Tom Chiapel. According to Williams, Chiapel advised her that he wanted to try a "new concept of silhouettes with two models." Interestingly, this is a stereotypical pitch for most hardcore pornography. Chiapel photographed Williams and another woman in several nude poses. The photographs depicted mild overtones of simulated lesbian sex, which was quite controversial for its time.
Williams has gone on to lead what is arguably the most successful career of any former Miss America, and has gone on to do countless television shows and feature films. Well, you can count them; but it would take a while.
After time out of the spotlight, Williams secured a record deal, and released her debut album, The Right Stuff in 1988. Since then, Williams has sold over six million records and received fifteen Grammy Award nominations. Fortunately, the Grammy’s has no qualms with “haunting nude photos” from artists’ pasts.
In early 2007, it was announced she had signed with jazz label Concord Records. An album, which will be her 9th, is expected later this year and will be a mix of old jazz standards as well as new ballads/Brazilian bossa nova. It will likely be available at Starbucks, which has the ballad/Brazilian bossa nova thing on lock.
In 2008, she was nominated for an Emmy in Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on "Ugly Betty".