Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
On July 23, 1984, vanessa williams21, gave up her Miss America title, the first resignation in the pageant’s history, after Penthouse magazine announced plans to publish nude photos of the beauty queen in its September issue.
Williams originally made history on September 17, 1983, when he became the first African-American woman to win the Miss America crown.
Miss New Jersey, Suzette Charles, first runner-up and also African-American, assumed Williams’ tiara for the remaining two months of her reign.
vanessa lynn williams was born on March 18, 1963 in Millwood, New York, to music teacher parents. He attended Syracuse University and studied musical theater.
In 1982, while working a summer job as a receptionist at a modeling agency in Mt. Kisco, New York, Thomas Chiapel took nude photographs of Williams and told her that he would take them in silhouette and that she would not be recognizable.
After Williams became Miss America, the photographer sold the photos to Penthouse without her knowledge. Williams later dropped the lawsuits against the magazine and the photographer after it emerged that she had signed a model release form at the time the photos were taken.
The contest of Miss Americawhich prides itself on projecting a healthy and positive image of women, began in 1921 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a trick developed by local businessmen to extend the summer tourist season.
Nowadays, provides more than $45 million each year in cash and tuition assistance to contestants at the national, state and local levels.
In 1954, the competition was broadcast live for the first time. Beginning in the 1980s, contestants were required to have a social platform, such as HIV/AIDS prevention, drunk driving, and Miss America winners now travel approximately 20,000 miles a month for speaking engagements and public appearances.
In 2006, following a decline in television ratings, the pageant moved from Atlantic City for the first time in its history and was held in Las Vegas, where a new Miss America was crowned in January instead of September. .
Vanessa Williams bounced back from Miss America scandal and went on to a successful entertainment career as an actress and recording artist, performing on Broadway as well as in movies and television, and releasing several albums.