Vanessa Williams returns to Miss America

  • 09/09/2015
Vanessa Williams (AAP)
Vanessa Williams (AAP)

Actress/singer Vanessa Williams will serve as head judge of the Miss America beauty pageant, more than 30 years after she was stripped of the title following a naked picture scandal.

The Ugly Betty actress made history in 1983 when she became the first African-American to be crowned Miss America, but she resigned from the role 10 months later when nude photographs taken before the competition were published in Penthouse magazine.

Williams will now return to the pageant as head judge, joining Zendaya Coleman, country star Brett Eldredge, snowboarder Amy Purdy and Taya Kyle, widow of US Navy Seal Chris Kyle, on the panel.

Miss America's chief executive Sam Haskell told the Associated Press he has been trying to get Williams involved for 10 years.

The preliminary events begin on Tuesday and the live televised final takes place on Sunday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.