Philadelphia

Vanessa Williams Forgives the Miss America Pageant, 30 years to the day since she was Selected as Miss America

On September 17th 1983, Vanessa Williams broke color barriers and made history becoming the first black Miss America.

Less than a year later, on July 23, 1984, Williams gave up her crown
after nude photos of her surfaced. Despite the scandal, Williams later launched a successful singing and acting career, including featured
roles  on the hit television sitcoms Ugly Betty, and dramas like Desperate Housewives, 666 Park Avenue, many TV movies like my fav “Bye Bye Birdie”; no doubt becoming the most successful Miss America to date.

 The 2nd most famous Miss America is 1955 winner Lee Meriwether who went on to play Catwomen, and appeared on one of my fav soaps, All My Children. She tweeted a photo of her, Vanessa Williams, and her daughter.

 

 Fast forward 30 years, and another Miss America first.
 Newly crowned Miss America Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American winner

During yesterday’s press conference Davuluri talked about Vanessa Williams, and how they were both from New York, and ground breaking choices:  “Vanessa Williams was former Miss Syracuse and went on to win Miss New
York and Miss America” and that was the same exact path thirty years apart, she said. “Really the stars aligned for both
of us.”


Chairman and CEO, Sam Haskell, III  (above with the New Miss America right after she was crowned, and after the TV cameras stopped filming) said at the press conference Monday morning, that he had just gotten off the phone with actress Vanessa Williams, and the following night, Tuesday, they would be attending the Broadway Play, “The Trip to Bountiful” play starring
Vanessa Williams. Vanessa was excited to meet Nina, and would give the new Miss America advice on what to expect in the upcoming year.

Updated: Vanessa Williams reached out to the organization after the backlash on Twitter over the choice of Nina not looking American enough.
She knew the selection of Nina Davuluri,
the first winner of Indian heritage, would face some of the hostility
that she, [Williams] faced after she was won; there was hate mail and racist comments

This will be the first time in my memory, and I’m a big Miss America fan, as well as a Vanessa Williams fan, that Vanessa has welcomed Miss America back into her life. I’ve met Vanessa Williams a few times, and she is just one of the nicest celebrities. But you knew just to never bring up the mention of the Miss America pageant to her.

I hope there’s a lot of press, welcome back home Miss America.
As the world’s largest provider of
scholarship assistance for young women and one of the nation’s leading
achievement programs, the Miss America Organization made available last
year more than $45 million in scholarship assistance.
Thanks to #DoAC, the Atlantic City Alliance, Cashman & Assocs, and the Miss America Pageant for hosting me this past weekend. I’ll have a more insiders write up coming soon.