A former Miss America who was estranged from the pageant organization for decades is back in the fold. The AP reports that Vanessa Williams, whose Miss America career took a long detour after a scandal broke involving nude photos of Williams, will be an integral part of the upcoming competition.
“The Miss America Organization, Dick Clark Productions and the ABC television network announced Tuesday they are bringing back the award-winning actress and singer to serve as head judge for the 2016 competition,” the AP reports. “It begins Tuesday and culminates in the crowning of the next Miss America on Sunday.”
Williams won the title of Miss America in 1984, becoming the first African-American to wear the crown. But she resigned before completing her duties after Penthouse magazine published “sexually explicit photographs of her taken several years earlier,” the story reports.
Williams moved on to a successful career, landing roles on television, in film and on Broadway while also pursuing a music career.
In an interview that aired today on “Good Morning America,” Williams is quoted saying: “It was two drastically different images — that was the issue. It was Miss America, who is really kind of untouched and not reality, and then there was this woman in the picture that was the polar opposite of purity, and I was a normal kid in the middle.”
She added: “That’s one of the problems I’ve had to deal with in my career, not only being a Miss America, but being a scandalous Miss America.”
The “2016 Miss America Competition” airs live on ABC from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Sunday, Sept. 13 (9-11 p.m. ET).