All Articles Tagged "Vanessa Williams"

Exclusive: After Two Divorces, Vanessa Williams Speaks On Finding Love Again, Getting Engaged At 51

April 13th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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We recently had the opportunity to speak with actress, singer, and former Miss America Vanessa Williams. The ageless beauty spoke about her involvement with the organization, Dress for Success, which helps disadvantaged women make better lives for themselves through career development tools, donating professional attire for interviews and work, and offering a network of support to help women accomplish great things. Williams is taking part in the non-profit organization’s newest campaign, Success is Calling and talked with us about why such programs are essential.

But Williams also spilled some tea on what’s next for her career (she could be heading to Fox, and who knows if an opportunity to guest star on Empire could happen?!), black women slowly but surely taking over TV, and her love life. Williams, now 52, got engaged to fiancé Jim Skrip last year and wants other women to know that they should never give up hope on finding love. Check out what ‘Nessa had to say!

Her Involvement With Dress For Success And The New Campaign, Success Is Calling

I’ve been working with Dress for Success for many years, not only giving my suits and gently used handbags to the organization, but helping to tell their message. For women who have had some misfortune and disadvantages in their life, Dress for Success allows them to get tools, which includes the apparel, but also the skills to be employed. Dress for Success has teamed up Tracfone. They started a campaign called Success is Calling, and it’s helping women to have great interview skills over the phone. About 92 percent of HR managers say that skills over the phone are paramount to them when they hire someone. So women can go to Dress for Success, do the Success is Calling program, and when they complete the program, they will get a Tracfone smartphone for a year with the service. Hopefully, that will help open doors with all the skills that they learned and all the tools they also got to get jobs and get a new start.

Tips For Women Hoping To Ace Phone Interviews

The employer wants to know who you are. They want to know what your background is, and they want to be able to hear clearly what your message is and what you can do for them. So “um,””aw,” “I don’t know,” “uh” and “I guess” are not very powerful. You have to eliminate that and be clear, and also feel great about yourself. Hopefully, the clothes you get through Dress For Success will make you feel empowered, but you also have to tell your employer what you can do for their job and why you are right for the job. If they ask you about your children and where you come from, be able to have an interesting story and give them information that would say, “This person is unique, interesting, and sounds like they would fit in.”

If you want more information and tips for being fantastic on the phone and getting a job, you can go to the Success is Calling website. It has a whole list of tips you can get for your interview skills.

And if you just want to contribute to Dress for Success, you can go to Wal-Mart, purchase one of the Tracfone smartphones, and 20 percent of the proceeds will go to Dress for Success in April. There are many ways we all can win. Whether you want to help, whether you want to be part of the program or whether you just want to get the skills, you can go online.

Why These Programs Are So Important Right Now

Well, everyone needs a start, and everyone needs a break. A lot of kids are out of college, but a lot of women — I’m a mother of four, and I know what’s it’s like when you need to provide. As a mother, you also need to get a job to provide for your children. It’s always important to be able to have a resource that can help you look the part and give you tools to get the part.

On Fantasy Life, Her New Pilot For Fox

I finished a pilot for Fox called Fantasy Life. It’s about fantasy football, which is a huge, huge craze. And it’s based on the book by Matthew Berry called Fantasy Life. Matthew Berry is the producer and writer, but Mitch Berry is the character, which is played by Kevin Connolly, who is famous from Entourage. I play his boss, the VP at Fox Sports Network. It’s a half-hour office comedy situated in the sports world. It was a lot of fun, and we’ll see in the fall if we get picked up or not.

If Her Singing Skills Will Land Her A Guest Role On “Empire”

Who knows? We’ll see what the Fox network has in store for me. I’m a big fan of Lee Daniels. I was so happy that he did something that was not done on television. They trusted him and trusted what he wanted to bring, and they didn’t mess with it too much. They let him do his thing and look at the results! I’m proud of Lee, I’m proud of everyone’s hard work, and it shows you what can happen when you dare to be different.

On Her Engagement, And Her Words Of Encouragement For Other Women Looking For Love

Well my words are, there’s always hope. You never know what you’ll find and where you’ll find it. I was on vacation with my daughter going to Egypt, cruising on the Nile. I wasn’t looking for anything. I’d been alone for a number of years and divorced for ten years at that time. I found a hometown guy from my mom’s town in Buffalo, New York and started a conversation. He happened to be traveling alone and happened to know who I was but wasn’t a super fan. He accepted me for who I was after a wonderful first three-hour date of talking about ourselves. We found out we had a lot of things in common. Three years later we’re getting married.

Don’t ever lose hope. There are a lot of good men out there — of course I found the best — who are available and ready to be in satisfying relationships as well. Don’t ever lose hope. I’m 52, and now I’ve got a new beginning. It happens when you’re not looking for it! Just trust and believe.

Her Thoughts On Women Killing It On Prime-time TV

When I grew up, there was Julia, which was Diahann Carroll. She was the one who paved the way. And then we saw her in Dynasty as Dominique Devereaux, again, paving the way as well. So, we’ve seen the door open up further and further not only for women of color, but for women in general. With Desperate Housewives, that was the first time you had a whole cast of women who were 40+ who people tuned in to see. It shows that women want to watch other women, and other people want to watch other women as well. That’s when the power comes. When the power and the numbers come, then the networks know that they have something. I’m sure the success that Fox has had with Empire, again, shows that strong women are great TV. I’m happy with Kerry Washington, Viola Davis–who has been phenomenal on Broadway for years but is finally getting her chance to bring it every week. It’s all fantastic, and I’m happy.

Where Are They Now? The Cast Of New Jack City

October 20th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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New Jack City came on VH1 recently, and I was engrossed in it as though I was watching the film for the very first time. I think a lot of people feel that way about the film, because it was just that entertaining. Watching it for the umpteenth time made me wonder: Where has the cast gone? Where are they now?

I did some digging, and here’s what they’re looking like and up to now:

Warner Bros./WENN

Warner Bros./WENN

Wesley Snipes

Snipes played the hell out of drug kingpin Nino Brown, and we all know that the ’90s were good, if not great, to his career. But everything came to a halt when he spent three years in prison for tax evasion charges (starting in 2010). But since he was released earlier this year, he’s been back to work like he never left. He was just in the Expendables 3 and is about to be in the film, Chronicles of the Mayan Tunnel. 

Congrats! Vanessa Williams Is Engaged

September 26th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Vanessa Williams Is Engaged

Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com

Well, look at “The Queen Latifah Show” coming with the tea! Today, the cast of the Broadway show and television movie Trip to Bountiful (Cicely Tyson, Blair Underwood and Vanessa Williams) visited the talk show. And in the midst of talking about the play and a whole host of other things, Vanessa Williams revealed that she is engaged to be married.

Williams’ new fiancé is Jim Skrip.

Back in February of this year, Williams spoke to Philly.com about Skrip. 

“He’s a guy I met a year and a half ago when I was on vacation with my daughter in Egypt. You go across the world to find somebody who’s six hours away.”

She described him as a “nice, regular, gorgeous guy” who was in real estate back in the day and was also an accountant.

Ok den!

This will be the third marriage for Williams who was married to Ramon Hervey from 1987-1997, with whom she shares two children, and Rick Fox from 1999-2005, with whom she also shares two children.

Take a look at Skrip in the picture below.

 

You can watch Williams’ announcement in the video below.

No Money, Mo Problems: Actress Vanessa Williams In Trouble With The IRS

August 26th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

It looks like Vanessa Williams is the latest celebrity to be added to Uncle Sam’s hit list.

According to The Smoking Gun, the former pageant queen owes the government nearly $370,000 in unpaid taxes. A lien was issued against Williams earlier this month demanding $369, 249.89. Apparently, the lien was filed because Williams failed to pay an IRS assessment, which was reportedly issued in 2012.

Although she is currently a resident of Chappaqua, New York, her IRS paperwork was filed under the address of her accounting firm in Manhattan.

Reps for the 51-year-old actress have yet to address the lien.

Vanessa Williams Reveals She Was Molested By A Woman

July 16th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Vanessa Williams Reveals She Was Molested

OWN

This past Sunday on Oprah’s Master Class, Vanessa Williams revealed she was molested by an older woman at the age of 10. Williams shared the act in itself changed the course of her teenage age years, forever, revealing the molestation occurred while on a family vacation in California and the assailant was a family friend’s 18-year-old daughter.

Williams noted of the teen: “She was one of the cool girls. She made you want to feel like you were a grown-up.”

While Williams and another childhood friend slept in a bedroom, the teenager entered and commissioned Williams to “lie down on the floor. She took my bottoms off and she said, ‘Be quiet.’ She went down on me.”

Williams said although she didn’t fully understand what was happening, the act felt good but she knew it was wrong. And, sadly, while she battled whether or not she should tell her parents about the sexual assault, her uncle died. The timing of the two events made Williams push her molestation experience to the back of her mind.  Reflecting on that time in her life as the starting point of her becoming extremely promiscuous, she said:

“It awakens your sexuality at an age where it shouldn’t be awakened.Had that not happened in my life and had I had an opportunity to have a normal courtship with a boyfriend at 16 or whatever… there wouldn’t have been that shame that was always haunting me. It made me more sexually promiscuous and more sexually curious at a younger age than I should have been.”

Williams continued her Master Class episode by highlighting prominent events in her life. For example,  how it felt to become the first black Miss America in 1983, the photo scandal that stripped her of her winning title, and how she balances her career with four children and two exes.

Check out the clip from the Vanessa Williams’ Master Class episode, below.

 

“I Only Speak From My Own Experiences” Vanessa Williams Explains Statement On Colorism In Hollywood

April 21st, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Vanessa Williams Talks Colorism

It Is Done Communications

Vanessa Williams has been dubbed the most successful Miss America winner in the entertainment business and by all accounts that would be correct. Instead of resting on her laurels, though, the mother of four has remained gainfully employed through expression of her love of the arts. Fresh on the heels of her “After Midnight” Broadway debut, we chatted with Williams about her experiences as a black actress, what she thinks about the backlash to her remark that it’s no easier for a light-skinned black woman to make it in the business, and her advice for those looking to break into the industry. Vanessa Williams performs in After Midnight through May 11th at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway!

You’ve covered all mediums when it comes to entertainment, where do you feel most at home and alive?

“I feel the most alive on Broadway while on the stage. I get a chance to do all three — sing, dance and act — in front of a live audience and you are able to get their immediate response.”

How is it being a part of a rotating cast like “After Midnight”?

“What drew me to the project was the all-star Wynston Marsalis Band playing, Duke Ellington’s arrangement and the incredible ensemble. I also decided that I wanted to work with the director, Warren Carlyle. It’s an all-star line up with music that I love.”

What advice would you give to up and coming entertainers?

“I would encourage them to start on stage with theater training because it is a total body commitment in terms of using your instrument physically( projecting your voice) and capturing an audience. In other venues or mediums, whether it is television or film, you have to learn how to engage your acting skills more precisely. Also, I encourage those interested in acting to work as much as you can. It is not about fame but it is about creating and honing your skill set. So, you would have to go to school so you can learn your specific artistry.

You recently commented in an interview with The Grio that it’s hard for black women to get roles no matter how fair or dark they are. Do you still stand by those comments?

“I only speak from my own experiences. I know what has been challenging for me, in terms of my past as an actress. I know of the roles that have come to me and have not come to me. I am not a spokesperson for an entire race and everyone else’s experience.”

You told Oprah that black actresses are in crisis mode right now, what do you think it will take to change the landscape and increase opportunities for African American actresses?

“Roles come with the projects that are being produced, whether it be television or film. Things are made creatively with the hopes of it being successful, so the bottom line is what or who will generate the most money. You have to deal with the corporate America (networks and movie studios) who are concerned about how they will make money.”

You recently traced your ancestral DNA, how was it for your family finding out these results and have you done anymore exploring of your roots?

“It was fascinating to find out my DNA results because as an African-American the records that we have are pretty slim compared to others of different backgrounds. It was good to go through the journey so I can get a chance to learn about my ancestry.”

We’ve found in our project that a lot of black people don’t see the value in tracing their roots and assume searching for your ancestry means running from your blackness. Why do you think that is and have you received similar reactions?

“For me, when I got my DNA breakdown it made me want to travel to Ghana, Togo, Benin and Senegal — especially because I wanted to make that connection. I think it was fascinating and it’s all about education. The more you know, the more interesting it is and you’ll want to delve (deeper) into your past.”

Vanessa Williams performs in After Midnight through May 11th at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway!

‘It’s Hard To Get Roles No Matter How Fair Your Skin Is:’ Vanessa Williams On Colorism In Hollywood

March 7th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Many dark-skinned actresses have come forward before in the past to speak on injustices that they’ve suffered in Hollywood due to their darker skin tones. But if you ask “Trip to Bountiful” actress Vanessa Williams if she thinks having fair skin makes securing quality gigs a walk in the park, she’ll tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Getting a good role is hard no matter what you look like,” the 50-year-old beauty told TheGrio before going on to praise Oscar Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o.

“Lupita did a phenomenal job. She brought her sensibility, growing up and having a dream. She went to Yale School of Drama. [12 Years a Slave] was the first thing she did out of her tutelage and she’s a brilliant actress… she’s amazing because she embodied that role and made you feel.”

Williams then went on to reiterate her point that good roles are hard to come by regardless of your complexion.

“It’s hard to get good roles anyway, no matter how fair your skin is…no matter how brown your skin is. It’s up to you to make the best out of each opportunity that you’re given.”

Whether or not light-skinned actresses have an easier time securing roles is debatable, but as Viola Davis told Oprah last summer, the shortage of quality roles for Black women is Hollywood is the bigger issue.

“We’re in crisis mode as Black actresses, not only in the sheer number of roles that are out there, but the quality of the roles. And there in lies the problem,” Viola explained. “We’re in deprivation mode because listen, me, Alfre [Woodard] and Phylicia [Rashad] and you [Oprah], are in the same category. Where as if you take a Caucasian actress, you have the ones who are in their teens, in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and there are roles for each of them. But when you only have two or three categories for Black actresses, there’s the problem because you want to work.”

Watch Vanessa’s interview on the next page. What do you think of Vanessa’s stance on colorism in Hollywood? 

Celebs Who Traced Their DNA Roots

February 13th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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With advancements in modern technology, we can now have our DNA traced back hundreds of years with just a couple swabs of the cheek. As you know, the MN editorial staff is currently awaiting results of the DNA testing with Ancestry.com, so we decided to shout out these celebrities who went on a hunt to find out where their lineage lies. Here are 15 celebs who traced their DNA roots.

"Whoopi Goldberg pf"

WENN

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg was born and raised in New York City but after having her DNA traced a few years back, the talk show co-host now has another place to call home. Her genetic make up consists of 92% sub-Saharan African descent. The Sarafina star’s ancestors are from the Papel and Bayote tribes, who mainly clustered in what is now modern-day Guinea-Bissau. Goldberg is interested in receiving her citizenship from the tiny African country.

Are Those Your Real Eyes?? Celebs With Gorgeous Light Eyes

February 10th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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Whether it be the big screen or television, these celebrities stand out from all others because of their stunning eyes, which we are proud to say are not contacts. Check out these Black celebs with light eyes that make us swoon — and jealous — all at the same time.

Celebs With Light Eyes

WENN

Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash starred in a couple episodes of “The Cosby Show” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” early on in her career but her big break came in 1995’s Clueless as the self-centered Dionne Davenport, opposite Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy. Part Barbadian, African-American and Mexican, the former “Single Ladies” star caught a lot of flack in 2012 for endorsing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Using her platform to express her conservative views, Dash also criticized Jay Z and Beyonce for their 2013 trip to Cuba.

Is There A “Soul Food” Spin-Off In The Works?

December 27th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Soul Food

Source: WENN

“Soul Food” is a 90s classic that was so good, Showtime eventually turned it into a television series. The series had a decent four-year run, but was eventually taken off of the air in 2004. Though fans may still be able to catch a rerun here and there, for the most part, it seemed like it was a wrap for Bird, Lem and the gang. But then again, maybe not completely.

Actress Vanessa Williams recently chatted it up with Sister 2 Sister where she hinted that there may be a possible “Soul Food” spin-off in the works featuring herself, Malinda Williams and Nicole Ari Parker.

“Perhaps, perhaps,” Vanessa said in response to “Soul Food” sequel questions. “We’re plating the seed. There’s definitely something between the three of us [myself, Nicole Ari Parker and Malinda Williams].”

We can’t even begin to imagine what they’re cooking up, but whatever it is, it’ll probably be very interesting. Vanessa also gushed about being reunited with her “Soul Food” sisters on the Soul Train Awards stage.

“I’m glad to be invited,” said Vanessa. “I’m looking forward to presenting with my ‘Soul Food’ sisters!”

I suppose we’ll have to just stay tuned to see what the ladies have up their sleeves.

Watch footage from Vanessa’s interview on the next page. Would you be interested in checking out a “Soul Food” spin-off?