Everyone is talking about the Miss America Pageant this year. Vanessa Williams, who was crowned the first Black Miss America in 1984 only to be forced to resign 10 months later when nude pictures of her surfaced, returned to the pageant for the first time as Head Judge. Sam Haskell, the CEO of Miss America, apologized to her for what happened back then. Now Suzette Charles, who was the runner-up to Vanessa back in 1984 and got the crown when Vanessa had to resign, is speaking out about the apology.
Suzette had this to say about the apology that Vanessa received:
I don’t know what that was all about. I have a feeling that was about ratings. I think that as accomplished as she is, has worked so tirelessly for 32 years to build her career and to prove to America what she was always about, I’m not sure why she needed that apology.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Vanessa wanted the apology before she had anything to do with the Miss America Pageant. And I’m going to make another guess that the Miss America Pageant really wanted her participation. Let’s be honest here: when was the last time we talked this much about Miss America? Suzette makes a good point, though: why did Vanessa care about an apology one way or the other after all these years?
Meanwhile, there’s another interesting bit of “fallout” from Miss America’s apology. Jennifer DeLora was crowned Miss Ulster County, New York in 1986 and was preparing to compete for the Miss New York crown when it was discovered that she had a brief (seven second) topless scene in the movie ‘Bad Girls Dormitory.’ Jennifer said that she received a letter from the Miss America Organization (TMZ has a picture of it) ordering her to surrender her crown within 72 hours because for conduct that was “indecent and in bad taste.”
The letter stated that Jennifer had violated pageant rules and that they were sparing her from the public scrutiny that Vanessa had had to endure two years earlier. She lost her title and the scholarship money that she had been awarded. Now Jennifer wants an apology too, especially since she said her seven-second topless scene was not as risque as Vanessa’s nude photographs. Oy vey.
Photo Courtesy of Miss America Organization/Twitter