Photo Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Vanessa Williams has worn her share of tiaras, but she's horrified by the child beauty pageants she sees on reality TV. In an upcoming interview on Anderson Cooper's talk show Anderson, Williams, who was the first African-American to be crowned Miss America, bashes the moms of Toddlers & Tiaras for coercing their kids into the competition. Watch the clip below.
"I think they don't know what they are doing," says Williams, 49, of the pageant moms. "When the child is screaming and saying, 'I don't want to do this. I don't feel like doing it.' When they are using special juice to get them hyped..."
The "juice" she's referring to is actually a mixture of Mountain Dew and 7-Up, which the moms on the show call "Go Go Juice."
"I have actually tasted Go Go Juice," Cooper admits.
"That's not my world," Williams, a mother of four, insists. "And I would never have my kids do that."
Although Vanessa became famous by winning the Miss America title in 1984, her own experience with the pageant world was bittersweet; she forfeited the honor after explicit nude photos (taken before her beauty pageant days) were published by Penthouse. In her new memoir, You Have No Idea, the singer-actress reveals other long-hidden details of her past, including an abortion at age 18 and the experience of being molested by a female babysitter at age 10. Because she didn't grow up in the public eye, the actress took pains to keep her secrets to herself.
"I became Miss America and people didn't even know about me smoking pot, having a boyfriend, having an abortion," she tells Cooper. "I had lived life before I became famous."
Obviously, the Desperate Housewives star went on to great success in her singing and acting careers -- but she has truly experienced the best and worst fame has to offer. So reality-TV pageant moms, take note: Vanessa Williams knows what she's talking about!
Williams' full interview airs Thursday on Anderson.