Being a beauty queen comes with a lot of pressure to look and act perfectly, but being the very first Black woman to be crowned Miss America in 1983 comes with a pressure that’s unfathomable to most — just ask Vanessa Williams. The singer turned 60 on March 18th and has never looked better. But much of that confident glow has been won through hard work, years of overcoming scrutiny and learning to love herself just as she is. And after noticing Vanessa Williams recent weight loss, we began to wonder her secrets not only to staying slim, but also loving yourself for exactly who you are.
Williams admits she is no stranger to judgement — especially about her weight and her age — but now, she’s found her peace and self-assurance, and we must say, she looks incredible! Here, we take a look at Vanessa Williams today: her journey to confidence and how she stays healthy, fit and happy.
Vanessa Williams’ early career
In addition to Williams’ stunning looks, eloquence and intelligence, she is celebrated for her angelic voice, which she revealed during the talent portion of the Miss American pageant. and four years later, in 1988, she released her very first album titled The Right Stuff.
In addition to singing, Williams found success onscreen. Her first appearance was on a 1984 episode of The Love Boat. Television roles continued to come her way throughout the early 1990s, including guest appearances in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1993) and The Odyssey (1992-1995). But she soon learned that there were disparities between how the music and television industry expected her body to look, and the harsh reality of breaking into Hollywood.
Vanessa Williams’ first diet
In 2019, Vanessa Williams appeared as a guest host on The Talk, where she disclosed an incident in which, the then mother of three, was asked to lose weight for a movie roll in the mid 1990s.
“I was asked to come in to meet for the movie Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger,” Williams said. “As a singer [who had put out a total of eight albums] it’s a matter of how well you sing, not if I can fit into the outfit. So, I wasn’t used to being judged by how skinny I was. I remember being asked by the producer, ‘Well, we’d like you to lose some weight.'”
Williams recalls, “I literally went on a diet. I considered lipo, just to be able to be on screen, I lost a lot of weight. I did a lot of cardio. I did a lot of Pilates and I got really skinny. I haven’t been that thin since.”
Vanessa Williams embraces her curves
Since that moment, Williams decided to take a different approach and focus on being healthy rather than ‘skinny.’ And her heathy figure was celebrated on many television shows she starred in — including Desperate Housewives (2006-2012), Ugly Betty (2006-2010) for which she won an Emmy Award, The Good Wife (2010-2016) and The Librarians (2015-2018).
Her philosophy also became to focus on fitness, and it sure is working for her. In 2021, she shared a photo to her Instagram sporting a white bikini showing off her toned abdomen with the caption reading, “Are we doing bikini shots in our early 50s? Ok 🌊” Amazing for a woman with four grown children!
Williams says she tries to do some form of physical activity every day, whether it’s taking a class or jumping on the treadmill.
In a conversation with First for Women in 2020, Vanessa Williams revealed a few more of her favorite calorie burning and weight loss activities. “I have a kickboxing class with some favorite instructors that I like. When I am in LA, my favorite class is called Drenched, taught by Irene Blank, who is Billy Blanks‘ sister. It’s an hour of cardio, hand weights and kickboxing movements in a non-stop sequence. The doors and windows are closed and you’re soaked!”
Williams also revealed she had found a new workout love: “On a girls weekend I learned how to play Pickleball.” she smiles. “I had to learn new rules for that, which was fun because I like to challenge myself and do new and interesting stuff.”
Vanessa Williams diet secret: easy access protein
“My latest kick is the shredded zucchini with a good sauce and some parmesan cheese and you feel like you’re eating pasta, but it’s not,” she revealed to FIRST for Women. “I also do an egg and cheese breakfast burrito with salsa in the morning.”
She continued, “Once a week I do a roast chicken. I slice the chicken up and put it on top of arugula, which I always keep in the fridge. If I’m doing protein, I’ll put protein on top of arugula. Those are my good healthy snacks and meals.”
Williams revealed to ABC News that if she does want to drop a few pounds she simply “cuts out alcohol, cuts out sugar and cuts out carbs.”
Vanessa Williams radiant and confident at 60
At 60-years-old, Williams says she embraces who she is, but isn’t opposed to non-invasive beauty procedures — like lasers and Botox — to give a little lift and glow “I don’t want to look like somebody else,” she said in a 2022 interview with the New York Post.
She also revealed to Page Six in 2023 she’s tried a few new-tech skin treatments. “The technology now for lifting, sculpting, tightening, is incredible. And there’s a machine for anything,” Williams explained. “I just got it a microcurrent thing for your neck, it was called Forma and it’s like a total package facial.”
As far as embracing aging and life at 60, she said on The Jennifer Hudson Show, “It’s a privilege. There’s a sense of ease. The older you get the less you care about what everybody else has to say.”
She continued, “You’re living in your own glory. You accept yourself, you give yourself grace, and you don’t beat yourself up the way when we’re 20s and 30s, ‘I’ve gotta do this, I’ve gotta be this, I gotta please people.'”
“So there is a sense of satisfaction and ease the older you get,” Williams added. “And I am embracing that and love it.” And we are loving her!
For more celebrity weight loss stories, read below!