Vanessa Williams keeps adding to her resume

Vanessa Williams. (WENN.COM)

Vanessa Williams. (WENN.COM)

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:39 PM ET

Just like her 1992 hit song of the same name, Vanessa Williams may have Save(d) The Best For Last.

Although the formidable 50-year old singer-actress-author, who was the first African-American Miss America circa 1984 before having to give back her crown when nude pictures surfaced in Penthouse, is hardly in the last chapter of her varied career.

The Millford, N.Y.-born Williams just finished shooting the Lifetime TV version of the hit Broadway revival of Horton Foote's The Trip To Bountiful, in which she appeared opposite Tony Award-winner Cicely Tyson, for a February broadcast, after an acclaimed eight-month run on The Great White Way in 2013.

"It was a huge success," said Williams, before her Dec. 28 concert at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls., N.Y.

And a nice boost for the twice-divorced mother of four after she starred in the failed 2012 ABC supernatural drama 666 Park Avenue, in which she played the wife of a demonic billionaire (Terry O' Quinn of Lost).

"It's unfortunate," said Williams, "'Cause so many people ask, 'What happened to the show? Where did it go? We were loving it! It started getting really good.' Our time slot on Sunday night at 10 was really tough ... We thought we had opportunity to at least finish out our first season. It was a great cast and I thought the writing was just getting better and better."

Speaking of which, Williams also penned, with her mother Heather, a 2012 memoir and New York Times bestseller entitled You Have No Idea, that revealed her being sexually molested by a woman when she was 10 years old and her decision to have an abortion as a teenager.

"It was brave and scary in some aspects," she admits but, "having done so many things, whether it was Ugly Betty or whether it was Desperate Housewives, I had a whole new group of young women that didn't know who I was and my past and how I got to where I was now that I'm age 50 ... So it was an opportunity to show work ethic. It was an opportunity to show survival, and overcoming obstacles."

Williams has been majorly TV employed over the last seven years on ABC's Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty before that - nominated for an Emmy three times for her scene-stealing role as self-absorbed former supermodel and magazine head Wilhelmina on the latter.

So, in recent years, her live performing dates were always determined by when she was available in May and June.

"Now that I just finished the Broadway run, now I'm kind of free," she said.

Williams' last album was 2009's The Real Thing, so she's due for a return to the recording studio and is interested in exploring an entire album of standards, straight up jazz or Latin-Brazilian music.

"I'd love to, it's just getting the right deal," she said. "I've had talks with two different labels that both went under by the time we got our deal done, so it's unfortunate. It's a whole different ball of wax now compared to when I started back in 1988."

Williams, whose 24-year-old daughter Jillian Hervey is singing backup for her at live shows after getting signed to Polydor UK as part of the new duo Lion Babe, has some insight into the music industry.

She once co-starred with current pop diva du jour Miley Cryus in 2009's Hannah Montana: The Movie.

"It's almost predictable," Williams said of Cyrus' dramatic transformation. "Working with her, she's a really smart and funny young woman who knows exactly what she's doing. ... She's been working practically since she was an adolescent so she knows the value of attention but she also wants to express herself. And I also think that being known as a Disney kid which we see with Britney Spears and Justin TImberlake, it's hard for people let you break out of the box ... So I think she wants to declare her independence and be an artist and it's edgy ...This is her time."

 


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