Vanessa Lynn Williams was born on March 18th, 1963. Her parents were music teachers in suburban New York City. Upon graduating high school, Williams attended Syracuse University and majored in musical theater.

She competed in the Miss New York pageant and took home the prize! Miss New York went on to Atlantic City to participate in the Miss America pageant. On September 17th, 1984. Vanessa Williams made history and became Miss America’s very first African American woman in the pageant’s 63-year history! In the year’s before, blacks weren’t even allowed to become contestants of the pageant.

In 1988, Vanessa debuted her first music album titled, The Right Stuff, The Comfort Zone and sold over two million copies! Her single, “Save the Best for Last” topped the charts and her single, “The Sweetest Days” went platinum!

In 1995, Williams recorded “Colors of the Wind,” the theme song on the soundtrack for Pocahontas. The song later earned an Academy Award!

Williams continued to record songs and even made her debut on the big screen in The Pick-Up Artist. She Co-starred in 1996’s Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger and co-starred on the ABC sitcom, Ugly Betty. For her role as Wilhelmina Slater, she earned TWO Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Since then Williams appeared on Broadway and earned a Tony Award nomination in 2002 for her appearance in the revival of Into the Woods.



All information obtained on History