Vanessa Williams was born in 1963 in Millwood, New York. In a prophetic manner, her parents put 'Here she is: Miss America' on her birth announcement. Both of her parents were music teachers with advanced degrees and her father was half black, half white.
Williams had a variety of experiences with music, studying both piano and French Horn. however, her main interest was singing and so, while attending Syracuse University, she dropped out to pursue a career in entertainment.
Another noteworthy venture of Williams was her competing in beauty pageants. In 1983, she won Miss New York and won Miss America 1984, the first African American Miss America. She also won the Preliminary Talent and Swimsuit Competitions.
Unfortunately, controversy arose in 1984 when it was discovered she posed nude in photographs in 1982, that were to be published in a 1984 issue of Penthouse. Williams chose to resign her position, and the crown was given to Suzette Charles (who thus became the second African-American Miss America).
While many believed she would never recover from the scandal, Williams proved them wrong by bursting on the music scene four years later. Her album, The Right Stuff, came out in 1988 and reached gold status, giving Williams three Grammy Award nominations. The album had four hit singles 'The Right Stuff' which hit #4 on the R&B charts, 'Dreamin' which hit #1, and 'Darlin I' and '(He's Got) The Look' both of which peaked at #10 on the R&B charts.
Her biggest album came out in 1991 and was titled The Comfort Zone. It's first single 'Running Back To You' reached #1 on the R&B charts. The follow-up single 'Work to Do' reached #3 and the third single 'Save the Best For Last' was #1 on the Hot 100. The album was Williams biggest success, going three times platinum.
Williams third album, Sweetest Days came out in 1994 and had strong success, going platinum. Her last single to reach the top 10 on the Hot 100 was Colors of the Wind from the Pocahontas soundtrack.
In 1997, Williams released the album Next. Her most recent album, Everlasting Love came out in 2005 and is a collection of covers of her favorite 70s songs.
Besides her music career, Williams also has perfomed in several movies. She had a starring role in Eraser, co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Soul Food. She also performs in Dance With Me, Shaft and Johnson Family Vacation among other movies.
Williams is the mother of four children, three of whom are from her first marriage to Ramon Hervey which ended in 1997. She married Rick Fox in 1999 and had a daughter Sasha, with him. Williams is currently dating Rob Mack.