Vanessa Williams is returning to Miss America for the first time since a nude photo scandal caused her to give up her crown (she won the title in 1983, and was the first African American woman to be crowned). According to Entertainment Tonight, there has been some chatter about whether or not the organization will present Williams with a crown tonight, essentially “re-crowning” her.
“There have been rumors about her being re-crowned. She doesn’t have to be re-crowned because she never had her crown taken away,” said Miss America Organization CEO Sam Haskell. “Vanessa Williams did not have her crown taken away, Vanessa Williams resigned on her own,” Haskell said.
Vanessa Williams will be judging tonight’s Miss America pageant. She recently talked to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, explaining the issue that arose after photos she had taken before the pageant were published in Penthouse after she was crowned.
“It was two drastically different images… That was the issue. It was Miss America who’s really kind of untouched in that reality. And then there was this woman in a picture. This was exactly the polar opposite of purity… and I was a normal kid in the middle,” Williams said. At the time, the Miss America organization gave Williams 72 hours to resign.
Regardless of the controversy, people really love Vanessa Williams. Miss America host Chris Harrison is expecting a very warm welcome for the Save The Best For Last singer.
“When she walks on that stage, it’s going to be a really special moment. I’m guessing we’re going to take a break for about a 30-second standing ovation,” Harrison said.
According to Yahoo! Style, Haskell recently opened up about his friendship with Vanessa Williams.
“I have been friends with Vanessa for 32 years. When the photos were published, there were people urging her to fight, but close supporters knew if she lost that fight that she would be completely removed from the history books. Instead of pursuing what would surely have been a long and stressful legal battle, Vanessa decided to resign and focus on her career. Vanessa and her family were hurt during the aftermath of the resignation, and that saddened me,” he said, adding that he is honored to have her back this year.
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