In September, 1983 Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. In July 1984, she became the first Miss America to resign her crown due to nude photos that were published in "Penthouse" without her consent. Thirty-two years, later Williams will return as head judge of the Miss America pageant.
In 1984, Williams told People "this would have to be the worst thing that has happened in my life. But I can't go any place but up. I've hit rock bottom.” She was told the photos she took in 1982 would never be published.
Despite the scandal, Williams has earned multiple Grammy nominations and an Academy award. She has also starred on Broadway, TV, and in films in the 32 years since she lost her crown.
C.E.O. and executive chairman of the pageant, Sam Haskell said, “Vanessa Williams made history by becoming the first African American to win the competition when she was crowned Miss America 1984, and she went on to conquer the worlds of music, Broadway, television, and film. It is a great honor to welcome her back to the competition as our head judge.” There is no mention of the 1984 scandal in the statement.