Williams originally made history on September 17, , when she became the first black woman to win the Miss America crown. She attended Syracuse University and studied musical theater. In , while working a summer job as a receptionist at a modeling agency in Mt.
Scandal cost her the title, but didn’t keep her from bigger stardom
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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.
Less than a year later, on July 23, , Williams gave up her crown after nude photos of her surfaced. Despite the scandal, Williams later launched a successful singing and acting career, including a featured role on the television sitcom Ugly Betty. She attended Syracuse University, where she majored in musical theater. Scandal later erupted, however, when nude photos surfaced of Williams that had reportedly been shot when she worked for a photographer before her pageant days. She was forced to resign her Miss America title in July After some time away from the public eye, Williams re-emerged and embarked on a successful music career. As Williams continued to record and perform music into the coming decade, her acting career heated up. Williams also racked up credits on the small-screen, including roles on the short-lived series Boomtown and South Beach.