Object of our affection: Vanessa Williams, actress/singer.
- She made history in 1983 as the first African American Miss America. But controversy soon erupted when unauthorized nude photos of her surfaced and were published in Penthouse magazine, resulting in her resignation the following year.
- However, "the best revenge is success", as she later stated, and she went on to become a Grammy Award nominated singer/songwriter; her many hit records include "The Right Stuff", "Save the Best for Last" (featured in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and the Academy Award winning "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas, which she performed on the Oscar telecast.
- Conquering the Broadway stage next, she starred in Kiss of the Spider Woman and Into the Woods. In the latter, her performance as the Witch earned her Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations. She has also starred in Carmen Jones at the Kennedy Center and in the TV remake of Bye Bye Birdie.
- She made her film debut in The Pick-Up Artist and would go on to star in Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Eraser, Dance With Me, Shaft, Johnson Family Vacation and Soul Food, for which she won the NAACP Image Award. She'll next star in Hannah Montana: The Movie and the sports drama Phenom.
- Television appearances include guest spots on T.J. Hooker, The Love Boat, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Ally McBeal, as well as such TV movies as The Jacksons: The American Dream, The Odyssey and A Diva's Christmas Carol and the short-lived series South Beach. But it is as the deliciously evil Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty that has earned her her best notices to date, including two Emmy Award nominations and two more NAACP Image Awards.
The Dearie Award winning comedy returns for its third season tomorrow night, and you can get all caught up on Wilhelmina's Mode machinations with ABC's "Starter Kit" video and/or this promo clip, wherein you'll hear Williams and the rest of her cast mates belt out "The Theme from New York, New York". And for more Wilhelmina goodness, check out the season 3 vodcast and this hilarious "remix" of her encounter last season with poor Betty White.