Nobody can ever deny legendary singer/actress, Vanessa Williams,’ talent, grace, or beauty. She has been charming audiences with her sophistication for over thirty years, and she still remains gorgeous to this day. But even someone as attractive as Vanessa has had to endure the westernized beauty standards of Hollywood. And even during the height of her career, she had executives looking her over and convincing her that she wasn’t good enough.
There are few people in Hollywood who can have the kind of career Vanessa has had. She started out as a beauty queen, then was publicly disgraced when nude photos were released that caused her to be stripped of her crown. Nowadays a nude photo, or sex tape can aid in one’s career, but during the 1980’s, this was almost a fate worse than death. Still, she persevered and overcame the scandal. And what happened next, was a career that sparked a successful music, television, and movie career.
One of Vanessa’s most popular movies was the 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger action film, Eraser. Though the film went on to gross over $240 million dollars, Vanessa finally admits that the success came at a price. And at the time, she basically starved herself for the approval of men who didn’t value her beauty.
Vanessa recently discussed her weight issues with the ladies of The Talk. During the interview, she spoke about how she was asked to come and read for the part, yet received unwanted feedback she wasn’t accustomed to as a singer.
“I was asked to come in to meet for ‘Eraser’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger. As a singer, 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.’”
Vanessa admitted that she initially considered getting liposuction, but instead went on a crazy diet and exercise plan that included Pilates and lots of cardio, telling the hosts, “I was really skinny.” Although she says she’s never again been as thin as she was at the time she filmed Eraser, she uses that experience to discuss body image issues with her children:
“Growing up in the black community, being curvy is celebrated. I’ve got 4 kids, my youngest is 19 and she’s on her phone all the time looking at stuff that’s filtered and trying to achieve something that’s almost unachievable, because everyone’s either doctored themselves, or starving themselves.”