Better late than never!
Last night in Atlantic City, New Jersey, not only was Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, crowned the new Miss America but the pageant FINALLY patched things up with Vanessa Williams!
Williams was crowned Miss America back in 1984, and was actually the first African-American woman to do so, but due to a scandal involving Penthouse publishing nude pictures of her, the 52-year-old actress was asked to resign from being a part of the 1985 pageant.
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Well last night, Williams returned as a guest judge at the beauty pageant and the show took a moment to recognize the mistakes of their past regarding the former beauty queen. Sam Haskell, the executive chairman of the Miss America Pageant told Williams:
"You have lived your life in grace and dignity and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned. Though none of us currently in the organization were involved then, on behalf of today's organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Miss Helen Williams. I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be."
Williams responded by saying:
"Thank you so much. So unexpected, but so beautiful. I did the best that I could in my reign as Miss America in 1983-84. I, on behalf of my family – my mother in particular – Brian Edwards, who orchestrated this entire thing to bring me back. And your leadership, your integrity, you bring this pageant back to what it ought to be. I love you. I love the girls. I'm so honored to be back."
It's always so wonderful when people can put their differences behind them. We're just glad to see Vanessa back at the pageant where she belongs!