Vanessa Williams is finally returning to the Miss America Organization, this time as head judge for the 2016 competition.
The announcement came as a surprise as Williams, the first African-American Miss America in 1984, was forced to hand over her crown after nude pictures were published by Penthouse prior to her win. Williams’ infamous past with the pageant has hovered over her Miss America legacy for over 30 years.
Williams broke the news to host Robin Roberts on Good Morning America:
“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,” she said.
She continued to speak about the ideal of Miss America at the time she was crowned.
“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.”
The now 52 year-old entertainer, producer, and former beauty queen will rejoin the organization along with host Chris Harrison and co-host Brooke Churvet. The show will also feature celebrity judges Brett Eldredge, Taya Kyle, Danica McKellar, Kevin O’Leary, Amy Purdy, and Zendaya.
Mick Mahan, the president of Miss America partner Dick Clark Productions, said in a statement:
“We recognize that Vanessa’s return to Miss America on Sunday, September 13 is a special cultural and television moment. We are both honored and excited that she will take center stage for the 95th Anniversary of the competition.”
Tune into ABC on Sunday at 9 p.m. to see who will take the next Miss America crown.
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