Vanessa Williams returns to Miss America pageant three decades after nude photo scandal
On Tuesday, the Miss America Organization, Dick Clark Productions and the ABC television network announced that they would be bringing Vanessa Williams back to the Miss America pageant as a judge, three decades after the nude photo scandal forced her to give up her crown.
In 1984, Williams was the first African-American woman to win the title of Miss America, but she had to relinquish her crown 10 months later after photos were published by Penthouse magazine that showed her in sexually explicit poses. The photos had been taken years before the pageant.
However, since the scandal, Williams has gone on to have a successful career in entertainment and has maintained a friendship with Sam Haskell, executive chairman and CEO of the Miss America Organization.
“Vanessa’s career speaks for itself, with all the success that she has had,” Haskell said before describing how he tried for over a decade to get Williams back to the program. “When I became chairman of Miss America, one of the first calls I made was to Vanessa, to try to find a way to get her to come back. Her return as a huge success is a way for us all to move forward and put the past behind us. It’s truly an honor to welcome her back to the Miss America Pageant.”
Watch Vanessa Williams discuss how she endured the Miss America scandal below: