Vanessa Williams V. Williams, Vanessa, Vanessa L. Willams, Vanessa L. Williams, Vanessa L. Williams & Ensemble, Vanessa Wiliams, Vanessa Willan, Vannessa Williams, Venessa Williams, Williams, 温妮莎·維爾蘭, 바네사 윌리암스Born on the 18th March 1963 in Tarrytown, New York, U.S.A., Vanessa first came to fame in 1983 as the first black woman to win the Miss America contest. Soon after winning, nude pictures from her past appeared in Penthouse, and Vanessa resigned almost a year later. The notoriety got the attention of record executives, and Vanessa released her debut album in 1988. It was the beginning of a very successful recording career. She also took up acting in the early 90s, appearing in many Broadway shows and films. Her most successful and recent acting appearance is in the TV series Ugly Betty as the character Wilhelmina Slater. Mother of Jillian Hervey.