The roller coaster career of actress and singer Vanessa L. Williams provides an excellent example of fortitude, resilience, and real talent winning out over adversity. In 1983, Williams made history when she was the first black woman to be chosen Miss America. For a time she was the country's darling as she toured about, attending to her royal duties, but when Penthouse magazine published nude photographs that she had posed for years before, Williams lost her crown, two million dollars in product endorsements, and the lead in a Broadway show; suddenly, America's sweetheart found herself the subject of moral outrage, criticisms, and cruel jokes. But though her career and reputation were in shambles, Williams kept her dignity and faith, and continued on, first making her name as a successful R&B singer (one of her songs went gold, "Save the Best for Last") and then receiving considerable critical acclaim on Broadway for starring in Kiss of the Spider Woman. Williams made her feature film debut in The Pick-Up Artist (1987) and went on to forge a steady career as an actress. Notable subsequent film roles include one co-starring with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Eraser (1996) and the part of a career-obsessed wife in Soul Food (1997). After spending the early 2000s working on theatrical productions, including the Broadway Musical Revue Sondheim on Sondheim, Williams returned to the big screen for the award winning drama My Brother in 2007, and won rave reviews in 2006 for her portrayal of Wilhelmina Slater, the ruthless editor-and-chief of a fashion magazine on ABC's hit series Ugly Betty, and was praised for her portrayal of Renee Perry in the seventh season of Desperate Housewives. After Housewives ended, she starred in the short-lived series 666 Park Avenue. She then returned to the stage, appearing opposite Cicely Tyson in The Trip to Bountiful.