Vanessa Williams Returns to Miss America Pageant as a Judge After Famously Resigning in 1984
By Antoinette Bueno
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Well, this is quite the surprise.
The Miss America Organization announced on Tuesday that Vanessa Williams will serve as the head judge of the 2016 Miss America Competition, despite her infamous rocky past with the pageant. Williams was memorably crowned Miss America 1984 -- becoming the first African American to win the title -- but was forced to resign 10 months later after Penthouse published nude photos of her that were taken before she won the pageant.
"That's one of the problems that I've had to deal with for my career. Not only being a Miss America, but being a scandalous Miss America," Williams, 52, tells Good Morning America's Robin Roberts about returning to the pageant after 32 years.
"It was two drastically different images. That was the issue," she now says about the scandal. "It was Miss America who's really kind of untouched in that reality. And then there was this woman in a picture."
"We recognize that Vanessa's return to Miss America on Sunday, September 13 is a special cultural and television moment,” Mike Mahan, President of dick clark productions, said in a statement. "We are both honored and excited that she will take center stage for the 95th Anniversary of the competition."
Williams will join host Chris Harrison, co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet, music curator Nick Jonas and celebrity judges Brett Eldredge, Taya Kyle, Danica McKellar, Kevin O’Leary, Amy Purdy and Zendaya, when the competition airs live on Sunday from Atlantic City at 9 p.m on ABC.