Updated: May 13, 2020
VANESSA WILLIAMS PHOTO BY ROD SPICER.
I'm Here With and Vivian Woods were so honored to interview the gorgeous superstar Vanessa Williams, thanks to our friends at Fame Magazine Global in Hawaii, who recently interviewed Vanessa about her new spring fashion line called Vanessa Williams on HSN.com as well as her starring role in the musical City of Angels on the West End in London. This iconic legend and mother of four, also has a new children’s book set for release in June entitled Bubble Kisses.
VANESSA IS IN AT 51 MINUTES.
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT VANESSA WILLIAMS' CLOTHING LINE V, IS THAT EVERY WOMAN COULD BENIFIT FROM HER PIECES AVALIABLE ON HSN.
Vivian Woods of Universal Talent Film School and former fashion designer, connected with Vanessa praising her for her influence when she was just a young girl inspired by Vanessa's songs.
Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today. Having sold millions of records worldwide, she also achieved numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album and Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel and Jazz.
Vanessa Williams receiving her star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame with her family and brother Chris Williams.
Her critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliate including 4 Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, 3 SAG award nominations, 7 NAACP Image Awards and 3 Satellite Awards. Her platinum single "Colors of the Wind," from the Disney’s Pocahontas, won the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. A graduate of Syracuse University, Vanessa is a strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the gay community and minorities. She was honored with the Human Rights Campaign “Ally for Equality” Award for her humanitarian contributions. Vanessa also achieved a career pinnacle with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. Vanessa’s autobiography, “You Have No Idea,” co-written with her mother Helen Williams, was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012.
Photo by Gilles Toucas of the timelessy stunning VANESSA WILLIAMS
As a theatre veteran, Vanessa’s most recent Broadway credits include co-starring with Cicely Tyson in The Trip to Bountiful, (the #1 play of the 2013 season), After Midnight (2014), and a special limited engagement in Hey, Look Me Over at New York City Center in 2018. Vanessa is one of the world’s most accomplished concert artists, appearing regularly with the most prestigious symphony orchestras in the world, most recently with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center. Vanessa's charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and several others.
Vanessa is exclusively managed by the Sterling Winters Company (SWC) / kathy ireland® Worldwide, while Brian Edwards of Enter Talking Client Relations in Los Angeles handles her day to day scheduling and PR.
We were fortunate enough to do a phone interview with the @VanessaWilliamsofficial during the COVID-19 time. What was really exciting about that as well is that we are huge fans of Vanessa. We love her music. We love her beauty. We love her individuality. We love that she's a black woman that stands up for rights. She is a star who is admired and respected worldwide.
Within the podcast interview Vanessa shares with Vivian her passions, her love for fashion, family and how she is proud to be a strong role model.
Q AND A WITH VANESSA WILLIAMS
BY VIVIAN WOODS
VIVIAN: I'm so grateful to have this opportunity Vanessa, and I just want to say that you're one of the most inspirational women of all time. From being a little girl listening to your music and watching your movies, you inspired me to achieve my dreams too. So thank you for that.
VANESSA: I’m very flattered Vivian.
VIVIAN: I wanted to ask you, first of all, I mean, with all the craziness happening in the world right now, how are you coping? How are you thriving during the isolations? Obviously COVID-19 is affecting the performing aspects of your career, but what about your other business endeavors?
VANESSA: Well, I was in London about to do a matinee performance of City of Angeles. When we showed up to work the morning of March 16, we were informed that one of our cast-mates was sick. I started to get a little bit panicked. And then later that afternoon, production shut down. So, I ended up flying back home that Friday the 20th, and then I got sick that Sunday. I just went into quarantine and stayed home. It took me about two weeks to feel normal again. I'm ok now, I'm lucky.
To stay busy now, I have several Zoom meetings each day, as well as voice-over sessions, music projects and various interviews that can all be done from home - so my schedule hasn’t really slowed down that much - but being able to conduct business at home has given me the opportunity to rest more.
Photo Credit Mike Ruiz
VIVIAN: Glad you’re well now and staying busy! I saw a photo that you posted of your mom on Instagram recently. Gorgeous lady. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
VANESSA: I look a lot like my dad, but my mom will appreciate that. Relatives of mine have blue eyes, which is where myself and my brother Chris get them.
CHRISTMAS 2019 WITH HER KIDS AND BROTHER CHRIS WILLIAMS.
VIVIAN: Are you able to stay in touch with your kids during this time?
VANESSA: Yes, I have two kids in New York and two in Los Angeles so we Zoom and FaceTime multiple times a day. My son Devin had a birthday out in L.A. at his apartment last month, so we did a Zoom party and then we'll do another one for my daughter Sasha who is also in L.A. when she turns 20 in May.
VIVIAN: As a hardworking mom of four, I can relate to you in that aspect given that I’m a mother of three. You've really pursued what your passions are over time. As a mom and a business woman, you seem to be able to make it all work. You know, everything you touch turns to gold Vanessa, how do you do that?
VANESSA: That's a lovely comment, but it does take hard work. So I certainly want people to realize that. Being ambitious and having lots of dreams is wonderful, but the reality of it all is something different. I don't want to make it seem like everything always works smoothly and beautifully. But you have to believe that you'll be a success and you have to know what you're doing, and be positive for others to work with. I love fashion. I love my music and acting. When you're passionate about things, it helps. I just wrote my first children's book, Bubble Kisses which features a special song included with the book. That’s something that had been brewing for over 25 years. I loved the opportunity to be able to do it for the children. That was very important to me. I think people are very savvy. They know when you're faking and when it's genuine.
VIVIAN: I watched the teaser video you had posted on Instagram about your book. Where did your inspiration come for the book and for the title?
VANESSA: The inspiration was from a song written about 30 years ago, by the mother of one of my friends. I felt it was the perfect title.
VIVIAN: I'm assuming that throughout your career, because you have reached such high success in every avenue in the creative arts, you've had to make a lot of sacrifices along the way. Any regrets?
VANESSA: No regrets because I have turned down oppotunitues that would have taken me away from my family, which has always been most important to me. Perhaps my career could have been different than it is now, but as a mom, family had to come first. I'm living in the hometown where I grew up, my kids went to same schools I went to and my mom lives next door. It was important for me to give my kids a normal life so they can function as normal, grounded adults.
VIVIAN: With so many achievements in singing, and acting, I mean, being Miss America, that's every girls dream, but what inspired you to start your own clothing line? Who is your target market?
VANESSA: Well, the idea of the line came about when I was a guest on The Today Show for three days in a row. Later that week, I received a call from a particular clothing line manufacturer who asked if I would consider doing my own fashion line and I said yes. My mom used to have a sewing machine in our home and I learned to make some of my clothing as I have always loved fashion.
Vanessa Williams' line has been on HSN for about a year now and their a great company to be in partnership with. My line is for all ages, but I also wanted to appeal to my mother's demographic. She's 80 years-old with an extended circle of friends all over the country and she remains very active - always traveling or hosting a book club event or organizing various fundrasiers. She busier than I am! I also had in mind my daughters as well. Their sizes are completely different. So I wanted to kind of do something like a jumpsuit that's easy for my youngest, and then something that's very sophisticated, like a great jacket for my oldest. The line is really for everyday women of every size and shape.
VIVIAN: With that being said, what advice would you give to women in today's world, women hide their figures because they feel they just don't fit into the public norms or have been body shamed.
VANESSA: I would say not only love your body, but really look at your body and see what makes you feel comfortable. For instance, I don't like things that are too tremendously tight on my torso. I always make sure I have shoulder pads in dresses that need them. It gives a woman a little more of a stronger silhouette, but also lifts up the whole silhouette. So it looks really clean and smart to me.
For all sizes, myVanessa Williams line has a great stretchy suede looking pencil skirt. If you're tiny, it gives you a little bit of a hand, and if you have hips, it gives you a fantastic, elegant look. So my advice would be to figure out what your body shape is, and what you feel comfortable in, and then try to consistently show that silhouette off.
VIVIAN: Great! Do you have ideas or guidelines for them for when shopping online, especially.
VANESSA: Unfortunately when you're shopping online, you can’t try it on like in a store. You just have to do it by trial and error mostly, and of course, every line is different regarding sizes - that’s the tricky part. But HSN has a great size chart to check out.
VIVIAN: Okay. And that's great advice - thank you for that. Now, what influences your styles each season?
VANESSA: My fashion inspiration always comes from when I'm feeling motivated. Just be yourself and dare to be different. So in particular for this spring line, the palette of colors are strong. I incorporate lots of bold prints in the skirts, pants and blouses. I love animal print. It'll never go out of style because we'll always have animals to inspire us.
VIVIAN: Vanessa, I didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity to speak with you and I wanted to share something with you. I couldn't play a musical instrument to save my life until I heard your songs. I was inspired by your music as a teenager growing up in a really small village in Saskachewan and just having a troublesome 18 years. Thankfully, I taught myself how to play your song "Save the Best For Last" on the synthesizer. And it was your inspiration that helped me take my mind off my life. I just remember seeing you on TV when you made history as the first black woman to be crowned Miss America, and I was like, you know what? That girl is it.
Photo by Gilles Toucas
VANESSA: Well, I appreciate it. I'm glad you taught yourself music - quite an impressive accomplishment! That's the great thing about all this time we have while in isolation - we have so many opportunities to become an artist or improve our craft, learn a new language or learn how to do just about anything. And I'm glad that you are ok now Vivian. We're big fans of you up here in Canada! Thank you and congrats on your spring line Vanessa Williams on HSN.com.
VIVIAN WOODS AND HER FAMILY
Vanessa's new children’s book set for release in the summer called Bubble Kisses!
LISTEN TO VANESSA'S INTERVIEW WITH VIVIAN WOODS AND I'M HERE WITH MAG
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