Thursday, May 3, 2012

Vanessa Williams: Just Another Upstate Gal

I wasn't sure what to expect when I read You Have No Idea by Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams for the BlogHer Book Club. 

The book intrigued me because I've always liked Vanessa. Yet, I was apprehensive to read it because I didn't want to find any dirty details that would prove she was a stereotypical Hollywood diva. I liked the illusion I had of her as an Upstate NY girl that had a bit of bad luck, but still managed to hit it big.

I was a ninth-grade girl who watched beauty pageants in the hope that I'd pick up some clue as to how to be beautiful, poised and talented, when I became aware of Vanessa Williams. She had all those qualities in spades when I rooted for her in the Miss America pageant. And, she was from my home state. How could I not cheer for her? Plus, she seemed so normal and down to earth, just like you'd expect someone from upstate to be.

When the scandal hit, I was old enough to know how serious it was. I remember the world condemning her.  I remember thinking how unfair that was. 

Throughout the years, I've always privately applauded her when she's had a success I was aware of. I was thrilled she was in Ugly Betty and loved her character, Wilhelmina.

It's with relief that I ended up thoroughly enjoying the book. Not only was it a pleasure to read, but I ended up truly respecting Vanessa and her mother. It was fascinating to get some insight into her life, the events that have shaped her and how she managed to overcome the scandal that must have left her ears ringing for a decade.

Vanessa is actually the antithesis of the typical Hollywood diva. She's remained grounded. Her work ethic is amazing, as is her attitude. I'm not sure there's ever been another soul on Earth who's persevered the way she has. How many of us would have crawled under a rock and hoped the world forgot about us after a scandal like hers? She's always held her head high, followed her dreams and made them happen.

In truth, the book proves that she's still an Upstate NY gal.

Please join the You Have No Idea discussion at the BlogHer Book Club.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.