The former ‘Ugly Betty’ actress opens up about the racially-motivated backlash she received after she was crowned the first black Miss America nearly four decades ago.
AceShowbiz -Beauty queen-turned-singer and actress Vanessa Williams was inundated with death threats after becoming the first black Miss America.
The 57-year-old star made history in 1983 when she was crowned the winner of the famous pageant, but her triumph was marred by the racist backlash she experienced.
Vanessa said, “I won (Miss Syracuse), Miss New York State and Miss America all within six months, so I went from my junior year (at New York’s Syracuse University) to all of a sudden, I was the first Black Miss America in 1983. And I had death threats because we’re talking 37 years ago.”
“A lot of people don’t like to be confronted with diversity, and I was the symbol of that, so I had to prove that I was smart enough. I was talented enough.”
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Vanessa was forced to give up her crown towards the end of her reign as Miss America after nude photographs of her were infamously published in Penthouse magazine without her consent.
She has since gone on to establish a successful career as both a singer and actress, and confesses she “never wanted” to be a beauty queen.
Speaking on “The Fat Joe Show“, the “Ugly Betty” star explained, “I never wanted to be a beauty queen – and, of course, I never wanted to be a scandalised beauty queen. So, I had much judgement from a very early age against me.”
“I heard a lot of noes, and all the people thought I would just disappear. And I thought, ‘Once the dust settles, you’ll get to know who I really am.’ And, that’s how I live my life.”
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