Vanessa Williams: Miss America head judge for 2016 | EW.com

TV

Vanessa Williams to serve as 2016 Miss America head judge

(Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Vanessa Williams will return to the Miss America stage 32 years after she won the pageant, this time as the competition’s head judge.

The 1984 winner — the first African-American woman to do so — resigned her Miss America crown after Penthouse published nude photos that she took in her past. “For years, I’d walk into an audition and feel the judgment,” she told People in 2012. “I was a scandalous Miss America. Vanessa the Undressa. But I silently thought, one day you’ll see what I’m made of.” 

Williams went on to become a Grammy-nominated singer for her 1991 album The Comfort Zone, an Emmy-nominated actress for her work on ABC’s Ugly Betty, and a Tony-nominated performer for 2002’s Into the Woods. (And on top of all that, her cover of “Colors of the Wind” for the Pocahontas soundtrack nabbed an Oscar in 1995.) For the 95th Miss America pageant, she’ll join celebrity judges Brett Eldredge, Taya Kyle, Danica McKellar, Kevin O’Leary, Amy Purdy, and Zendaya. 

The 2016 Miss America competition, hosted by Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke-Charvet, airs Sunday, Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. 

Related Stories
Oprah, Vanessa Williams, and other stars who got their start in beauty pageants
Miss America responds to hazing allegations on Good Morning America
Vanessa Williams goes beyond Miss America

WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television and music.