Former beauty queen Vanessa Williams is heading back to the Miss America stage. The multitalented celebrity was forced to hand over her crown more than 30 years ago after racy photos of her were published in Penthouse magazine. Now, she’s been asked to participate once more in a different capacity.
As reported by Us Weekly, Williams, 52, will be judging the 2016 Miss America pageant. She shared the good news in an interview with Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” that will air Thursday, Sept. 10. She will be joined at the judges' table by Brett Eldredge, Danica McKellar, Kevin O’Leary, Taya Kyle, Amy Purdy and Zendaya Coleman. Miss America CEO Sam Haskell further confirmed Williams’ return to the Associated Press (via MLive), saying this had been in the works for quite some time.
“Vanessa’s career speaks for itself, with all the success that she has had,” he said. “When I became chairman of Miss America, one of the first calls I made was to Vanessa, to try and 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.”
In addition to discussing her decision to come back to Miss America as a judge, Williams opened up about the nude photo scandal that cost her the crown. She explained to Roberts, 54, why the organization was forced to make the decision they did and how it affected her. Williams told the “GMA” host that who she was on the stage and who she was in the scandalous photos were “polar opposites.”
“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 the picture,” she said. “That was exactly the polar opposite of purity. And I was a normal kid in the middle.”
Miss America 2016 airs Sunday, Sept. 13, at 9 p.m. on ABC. Click here to get to know the ladies competing for the crown.