Vanessa Williams Returning to Miss America After 32 Years

Everything has come full circle for one of the best-known Miss America winners.

For the first time since she was crowned Miss America in 1984, Vanessa Williams will return to the Miss America competition as Head Judge! This will mark her first appearance on a Miss America telecast in 32 years, following her controversial split from the Miss American Organization. Namely, just months before the end of her reign in 1984, Williams was forced to resign as Miss America when Penthouse Magazine published unauthorized nude photos of her. However, the Miss America Organization is looking to get back in touch with its own past. As the first black woman to be crowned Miss America, Williams is a vital part of the contest’s history.

“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,” said Sam Haskell, Executive Chairman & CEO of the Miss America Organization. “It is a great honor to welcome her back to the competition as our Head Judge.”

“We recognize that Vanessa’s return to Miss America on Sunday, September 13th is a special cultural and television moment,” said Mike Mahan, President of dick clark productions. “We are both honored and excited that she will take center stage for the 95th Anniversary of the competition.”

Vanessa Williams Returning to Miss America After 32 Years

Credit: Matthew Rolston/ABC

Ultimately, this is a major get for the Miss America telecast, as Williams now joins a panel of celebrity judges that includes Brett Eldredge, Danica McKellar, Taya Kyle, Kevin O’Leary, Zendaya and Amy Purdy. The show will also feature Nick Jonas as Music Curator, and Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke-Charvet as hosts.

The 2016 Miss America Competition airs live from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Sunday, September 13 from 9:00-11:00 PM ET on ABC.

For more on Miss America, check out this flashback story from 2014, in which a Pennsylvania student got suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

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