The first African-American Miss America, she forfeited her title because of a nude photo scandal. "It wasn't like my vocal cords were cut," she has said. "It was a setback, not a defeat."
Lindsay, Paris and Britney, take notes. When a nude photo scandal caused Vanessa Williams to give up her Miss America crown, many speculated that her career was over. Instead, she has gone on to sell six million records, star in major feature films and play an Emmy-nominated role in Ugly Betty. And she doesn't need a crown to prove that she's fabulous. "I don't wake up every morning trying to be beautiful," Williams has said. "I'm older and wiser, so I realize that I'm enough. Ultimately, I'm in charge of my happiness."