Vanessa Williams before Ugly Betty

The younger generations will her best as Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty (season 2 is due to kick off in the US on September 27). But Vanessa Williams was so much more before the popularity of Ugly Betty brought her back into the spotlight.

In her long career in the entertainment industry, Vanessa has been Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award nominated. But where did it all begin?

It started in 1983 (how old were you then?), when Vanessa Williams was the first African-American woman to win the Miss America crown as Miss New York. But her reign came to an abrupt controversial end when nude photos of her surfaced and she resigned her post 8 months into her tenure.

She then went on to secure a record deal and 5 years after the Miss America controversy, Vanessa released her debut album, The Right Stuff in 1988. She went on to release many more albums in the late 1980s and 1990s, and a jazz album due out this year.

After conquering the music world, Broadway called, followed by staring roles in Eraser, Dance with Me and Soul Food. She has also appeared in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Love Boat, Ally McBeal, Star Trek and Boomtown.

Want to find out more about Vanessa Williams? Check out her bio at Wikipedia.