Photo by Mike Ruiz

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VANESSA WILLIAMS

We’ve mentioned before, Vanessa Williams’ stellar performance in the movie Dance With Me, but that is not the full extent of her credits. In fact, Vanessa is a multi-award winning actress with over 30 years of experience and projects under her belt.

From Soul Train to City of Angels, from being honored with the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist in 1989 to receiving the Mary Pickford Award in 2010 from the International Press Academy, which is their highest honor, Vanessa is always striving and pushing for more. She works very hard for everything she accomplishes and has continued to live her life doing what she loves.

More than just a pretty face, Vanessa’s background in theater, dance, music and acting for film and television, have shown bright on stages and sets around the world. She has shared the spotlight with actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser, Samuel L. Jackson in Shaft, Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty. And let’s not forget about her role in the hit television show, Desperate Housewives, in which she plays Renee Perry, a seemingly spoiled, insensitively vain, rich woman, who inevitably becomes friends with her neighbors. Vanessa won several awards for her performance in that show including two NAACP Image Awards.

We had to know, how was she able to balance her family life while accomplishing everything she has over the years?

“To be honest, now that my children are all grown up, it’s gotten easier for me. I can work and still check-in with them via FaceTime now to make sure they’re okay, then let them get back to their lives. But when they were younger, it was a little harder. I feel very fortunate, though, because I was always able to bring them to work with me. If I needed to go on tour, be on set, or go to a different location, I was in a position where I could always have them there with me. This really allowed me to have the best of both worlds because my children are hands down the best thing I’ve ever done in my life!”

Photo: Courtesy of Mellian Group, Inc.

The love in her voice when she spoke of her children could warm even the coldest heart! But how has her celebrity status and lack of anonymity affected her over the years? The answer? Vanessa is unfazed!

“I am 57 years old now. To be honest, I don’t even remember what it’s like not to have cameras in my face. But also, when I became famous, it was a much different time. People couldn’t just bust out a phone and start taking pictures of you. It was that easy. Now on the other hand, everything is so fast paced. It’s hard just trying to keep up with the speed of it all.”

She sure has had a long and prosperous career. Good times and bad times, this powerhouse has gone through it all and come out on top! If keeping up with a world on fast forward has been difficult, it’s hard to tell with the elegant and classy way Vanessa holds herself! From her fashion trends, to her seamless dance moves, her creative stories, to her music and theatrical endeavors, Vanessa seems to have it all under control.

Her latest project is her role in London West End’s, City of Angels. It is a musical with quite a unique twist.

Her latest project is her role in London West End’s, City of Angels. It is a musical with quite a unique twist.

“The show is about a writer who’s written a novel and has been given the option to write a movie based on that novel. It takes place in the 1940’s and the genre he’s writing for is film noir, [a film marked by a modd of pessimism, fatalism and menace]. In the movie he’s writing, I play Alaura Kingsley, who is married to an arms magnet who defends the town. She is very duplicitous in everything she does. The other role I play is that of Carla, the writer’s wife, who is also an actress. She’s the one who actually plays Alaura Kingsley. The way this musical is written is quite amazing and how it was written makes it so easy for the audience to follow. I am really so excited about this show!”

Unfortunately due to the outbreak of COVID-19, this musical has also been put on hold for now, but Vanessa is looking forward to the day that they’re able to take the stage again!

In her downtime, Vanessa always has her boots ready so she can enjoy horseback riding. She also loves enjoying a fantastic meal with friends, finding a good bargain, a trait she says she gets from her mother, and being near the ocean!

“The sea water always calms me down and brings me peace, so spending a day at the beach, sailing or just reading a book by the water is my favorite!”

When it comes to tasty treats, Vanessa is a sucker for cookies! Her palette changes with the weather, opting for a crisp apple with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or some pecan pie. In the summertime, she prefers some good ole fashioned ice cream, but no matter the season, it’s the cookies that she admits, gets her all the time!

“Crisp cookies, that’s it for me. That right there is my downfall!” She laughed.

Speaking of laughing, Vanessa LOVES to laugh! She dreams of directing one day, something she’s never done before, and admits she aspires to hosting Saturday Night Live at least once in her life! With a few other projects in the works with her production company, along with every facet of her career across all four industries, Vanessa is a busy woman, but with talent like hers, how could she not be?! Our hats off to this incredible woman, mother and artist!  We wish her all the best with continued success in every aspect of her life!

Photo by Lucian Capellaro

Photo by Lucian Capellaro

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