Williams began acting in her early twenties after being crowned as Miss America 1984, starting out with guest roles on shows like The Red Foxx Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
After years of various TV movies and guest stints and various feature films, she landed a role as a series regular on Ugly Betty, for which she was granted a SAG Award nomination in 2007. She then moved on to Desperate Housewives for two seasons following the series finale of Ugly Betty.
Williams has recently taken her acting talents to Broadway for The Trip to Bountiful, in which she stars alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and Cicely Tyson.
She and her mother have maintained a close rapport over the years, and recently wrote a joint memoir, out in stores now, recounting their lives together verbosely titled You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other).