Vanessa Williams is an American singer, actress, and fashion designer, who initially gained recognition as the first African-American woman to receive the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in 1983. She is one of the 4 judges of the upcoming drag singing competition series known as Queen of the Universe.
In this post, I will be writing about Vanessa Williams biography, age, career, family, awards, net worth, relationship, and other facts about her. First, let’s look at her profile summary.
Vanessa Williams Profile Summary
Vanessa Lynn Williams
March 18, 1963
58 years old
Place of Birth
Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Singer, Actress, Fashion Designer
Milton Augustine Williams Jr., Helen Williams
Ramon Hervey II (m. 1987-1997), Rick Fox (m. 1999-2005), Jim Skrip (m. 2015)
Jillian Hervey, Melanie Hervey, Devin Hervey, Sasha Gabriella Fox
Vanessa Williams Biography
Williams was born on March 18, 1963, in Bronx, New York City, U.S, and she was raised in Millwood, New York. She was born to Helen Tinch and Milton Augustine Williams Jr. (1935-2006), who met while they were students of music education at Fredonia State Teachers College in the late 1950s. The two couples became elementary school music teachers after marriage, though their teaching positions were in separate districts. Her father, Milton, also served as the assistant principal of his school for an extended period of time. Williams’ paternal great-great-grandfather, William A. Fields, was an African-American legislator in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Williams was raised Catholic, the religion of her father. She was baptized at Our Lady of Grace Church in the Bronx. Her mother played the organ at St. Theresa’s Church in Briarcliff Manor during Mass and weddings, and Williams used to assist her by turning the pages of the music’s sheet.
Williams and her younger brother Chris grew up in Westchester County, a predominantly white middle- to the upper-class suburb of New York City. And as a child of music teachers, Williams grew up in a musical household, studying classical and jazz dance, French horn, piano, and violin. She was among the 12 students who were offered the Presidential Scholarship for Drama to attend Carnegie Mellon University during the college application period but she decided instead to attend Syracuse University on a different scholarship instead.
Williams joined Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Department of Drama as a musical theater major in 1981. She stayed at Syracuse through her second year until she was crowned Miss America 1984 in September 1983. Syracuse granted Williams a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in May 2008.
Vanessa Williams Career
Williams rose to fame when she initially gained recognition as the first African-American woman to receive the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in 1983. She released her debut studio album The Right Stuff in 1988, the title single saw moderate success before “Dreamin’” peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the United States in 1989. With her second and third studio albums, The Comfort Zone (1991) and The Sweetest Days (1994), Williams continued to see commercial success and she received multiple Grammy Award nominations; this included her number-one hit (in early 1992) and signature song, “Save the Best for Last”, which she performed live at the 1993 Grammy Awards ceremonies. Everlasting Love (2005) and The Real Thing (2009) were her later studio album.
As an actress, Williams enjoyed success on both stage and screen. She received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her portrayal of Teri Joseph in the film Soul Food (1997). Her best-known television roles are that of Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty (2006–10). These roles earned her nominations three times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and Renee Perry on Desperate Housewives (2010–12).
Aside from being an actress and a singer, Williams served as the host of the 1994 Essence Awards, co-host of Carnegie Hall Salutes the Jazz Masters: Verve Records at 50, host of the 1998 NAACP Image Awards, host of the 2002 documentary, It’s Black Entertainment, host of The 6th Annual TV Land Awards in 2007, host of the 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 2009, and finally host of the documentary Dreams Come True: A Celebration of Disney Animation (2009). She is a spokesmodel for Proactiv Solution, and she was also the first African-American spokesmodel for L’Oréal cosmetics in the 1990s. Williams returned as a spokesmodel for L’Oréal in 2018 and this was part of their ‘Age perfect’ campaign alongside fellow ambassadors Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, and Jane Fonda.
In 2000, Williams appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire as a contestant, and on August 10, 2009, she appeared as a celebrity guest during the show’s 10th-anniversary prime-time special editions, winning $50,000 for her charity. Williams voiced the new character Ms. Brown, a brown M&M in a commercial that began running during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.
Williams won episode 2 of RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race in 2020, and she donated her prize of $20 000 to the LBGTQ charity The Trevor Project. In 2021, Williams joined the Paramount+ show Queen of The Universe as a judge, alongside Michelle Visage, Trixie Mattel, and Leona Lewis. The show is set to premiere on Paramount+ on December 2, 2021.
Williams launched her own clothing line, V. by Vanessa Williams, for EVINE Live in March 2016.
Vanessa Williams Awards/Nominations
Williams has received many awards and nominations including Grammy nominations for hits such as “The Right Stuff”, “Save the Best for Last”, and “Colors of the Wind”. She has also earned multiple Emmy nominations, a Tony Award nomination, seven NAACP Image Awards, and four Satellite Awards.
Vanessa Williams Family
Williams was born to Helen Tinch and Milton Augustine Williams Jr. (1935-2006). Her parents met while they were students of music education at Fredonia State Teachers College in the late 1950s. The two couples became elementary school music teachers after marriage, though their teaching positions were in separate districts. Her father, Milton, also served as the assistant principal of his school for an extended period of time. Williams’ paternal great-great-grandfather, William A. Fields, was an African-American legislator in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Williams mother, who had been raised Baptist, converted to Catholicism when she got married. Williams has a brother by the name Chris Williams.
Vanessa Williams Husbands
Williams has been married three times. She got married to her first husband, Ramon Hervey II, a public relations specialist, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in 1987. They have three children namely; Melanie Hervey, Jillian Hervey, and Devin Hervey, and they got divorced in 1997. She later married NBA basketball player, Rick Fox, in 1999. They have one daughter, Sasha Gabriella Fox and in 2004, they got divorced. Williams also married Jim Skrip, a businessman from Buffalo, New York, in 2015, at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church and this was after she received a Church annulment of her first marriage.
Jillian Hervey, her daughter, is an American singer, dancer, and member of the group Lion Babe.
Vanessa Williams Net Worth
Williams has an estimated net worth of $28 million.