Miss America CEO Addresses Rumors of 'Re-Crowning' Vanessa Williams

by Raphael Chestang 5:56 PM PDT, September 11, 2015
Playing Miss America CEO Addresses Rumors of 'Re-Crowning' Vanessa Williams

While Vanessa Williams will be returning to the Miss America pageant as a judge this weekend, fans should not expect her to take back her crown from 32 years ago.

"There have been rumors about her being re-crowned," Miss America Organization CEO Sam Haskell told ET. "She doesn't have to be re-crowned because she never had her crown taken away."

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According to Haskell, since Williams relinquished her title as Miss America in 1984, there is nothing for the organization to give back to her.

"Vanessa Williams did not have her crown taken away," Haskell said. "Vanessa Williams resigned on her own."

Williams' famous resignation came after she became the first African-American to win Miss America in 1983. The following year it was revealed that nude photos Williams took two years prior would be published in Penthouse magazine, which she says tarnished her reputation. According to Williams, pageant officials gave her 72 hours to resign.

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"It was two drastically different images. ...That was the issue," Williams told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts of the photos. "It was Miss America who's really kind of untouched in that reality. And then there was this woman in a picture."

She added, "This was exactly the polar opposite of purity ... and I was a normal kid in the middle."

Despite the scandal, Williams remained a hero for many and is expected to get a hero's welcome during the pageant.

"When she walks on that stage, it's going to be a really special moment," said host Chris Harrison. "I'm guessing we're going to take a break for about a 30-second standing ovation."

Her biggest fans might be the ones she's come to critique.

"Vanessa Williams is an icon for me," Miss Washington, Lizzy Jackson, told ET. "What her career has been after she was crowned - it's incredible."

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"I think she's been my Woman Crush Wednesday for my entire life," said Miss Montana, Danielle Wineman.

The 2016 Miss America competition airs Sunday, and the ladies filled us in on a few tricks of the trade.

"I use Vaseline on my teeth every time I go on stage," said Miss Iowa, Taylor Wiebers. "That way your teeth don't dry out."

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New Jersey's Lindsey Giannini confessed that they use toupee tape to help keep all their clothes in place.

See how the ladies' techniques work out for them Sunday at 9 p.m. on ABC.