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Ten Minutes With Vanessa Williams



Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams burst onto the national stage as Miss America 1984. Her career has continued to soar—as singer, stage actor, and TV star. Her latest role—immediately on the heels of Sondheim on Sondheim on Broadway and four years of “Ugly Betty”—is on the superhot “Desperate Housewives,” on ABC, which began its seventh season September 26. The Westchester native talked with us recently.

What do you think of your character?

She has floated into the life of each girl on the show. She’s ruffled some feathers, which is always fun. She’s establishing herself as there to stay.

Do people like her?
People are entertained by her. She’s kind of, ahh, passive-aggressive. A bit bothersome, but also candid. The Bea Arthur of the “Golden Girls,” I’d say. Her dry comments really land.

The show’s promotional pictures have you front and center, so clearly they want you as a major part of the show.
Yes, that was both unexpected and lovely. A nice nod from the network.

How is it to enter a long-running show?
It’s like being the new girl in the school. They all have their own history and relationships, but they were all very welcoming. We’re all kind of the same age range, and they appreciated what I bring to the show. They really care about their show.

Do you miss “Ugly Betty”?
Oh, yeah. They were my peeps. That was my show. There was nothing like it. I was so happy to be part of it. I miss the cast and am actually going to Becki’s baby shower next week.

Any other Broadway gigs coming up?
I am hoping to be able to do the Sondheim production in London, during my hiatus with “Desperate Housewives” in the spring.

What’s it like doing the Sondheim show with Sondheim there?
It was fantastic. Since he turned 80, it was like the Sondheim World Tour, with benefit after benefit. It was his show, and it is great to work with him. He’s a great storyteller and a great historian. A fascinating man.

You’ve been an entertainer now in many genres, dabbling in everything from recorded music to Broadway, television, and movies. Which of these do you feel is closest to your heart?
I am very happy that I can dabble in as many as possible. Theater is the most satisfying. You do it with incredibly talented ensembles. And doing it on a nightly basis, in front of a live audience. You are able to be in control of what you come up with, seven days a week. It’s so exciting.

What do love to do when you are back here?
I love riding. I took riding and jumping twice a week, and my girls did it, too. My fantasy was to have a horse when I grew up. My girls got to do it, and I started myself about 12 years ago. That’s one thing I really miss. I am definitely local when I’m there.

How important was it to return to Syracuse and get your degree in 2008?
I wanted to be a good example. My parents both had Master’s. My brother has a degree. I just think it’s important to finish college, and I thought I should show a good example.

Web Bonus: Watch the Desperate Housewives Season 7 promo trailer featuring Vanessa Williams

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Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

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February 2016

Young Artists 2016 February 7 – 21, 2016 at the Katonah Museum of Art Opening Reception: Sunday, February 7, 3 – 5pm Young Artists, an annual program at the Katonah Museum of Art...

Cost: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Telephone: (914) 7672969
Contact Name: Margaret Adasko
Website »

More information

The Westchester Philharmonic presents Family and Friends Concert. The concert features conductor, Ted Sperling, along with multiple-Grammy winning opera signer, Dawn Upshaw. ...

Cost: ($30- $100) Children 17 & younger are free with an adult purchase

Where:
Westchester Philharmonic Performing Arts Center
123 Main St
White Plains, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

GALLERY HOURS Tuesday - Friday: 11 - 5pm Saturday & Sunday: Noon - 5pm Or By Appointment “I live for the surprise of discovery,” Michael KESSLER. The elegant minimalistic...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914 332 4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Young Artists 2016 February 7 – 21, 2016 at the Katonah Museum of Art Opening Reception: Sunday, February 7, 3 – 5pm Young Artists, an annual program at the Katonah Museum of Art...

Cost: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Telephone: (914) 7672969
Contact Name: Margaret Adasko
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Young Artists 2016 February 7 – 21, 2016 at the Katonah Museum of Art Opening Reception: Sunday, February 7, 3 – 5pm Young Artists, an annual program at the Katonah Museum of Art...

Cost: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Telephone: (914) 7672969
Contact Name: Margaret Adasko
Website »

More information

Music, dancing, and storytelling! For ages 2-5 with a parent or caregiver.

Cost: free

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kiscco, NY  10549
View map »


Website »

More information

For speakers of other languages seeking to improve their English

Cost: free

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Young Artists 2016 February 7 – 21, 2016 at the Katonah Museum of Art Opening Reception: Sunday, February 7, 3 – 5pm Young Artists, an annual program at the Katonah Museum of Art...

Cost: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Telephone: (914) 7672969
Contact Name: Margaret Adasko
Website »

More information

Counselors offer older adults one-on-one counseling covering a broad range of topics including Medicare health and prescription plans, food stamps, HEAP, EPIC, weatherization, minor home repair,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Mount Kisco Public Library
Telephone: 914-864-0130
Contact Name: Lisa Graziadei
Website »

More information

GALLERY HOURS Tuesday - Friday: 11 - 5pm Saturday & Sunday: Noon - 5pm Or By Appointment “I live for the surprise of discovery,” Michael KESSLER. The elegant minimalistic...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914 332 4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Learn to knit at the library! If you already know how to knit (or crochet) bring your current project and enjoy a visit with other knitters and crocheters. For beginners: Please bring a pair of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Website »

More information

A fun building club for students entering grades 2 through 6. We provide the LEGOs, you bring your imagination!  

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Young Artists 2016 February 7 – 21, 2016 at the Katonah Museum of Art Opening Reception: Sunday, February 7, 3 – 5pm Young Artists, an annual program at the Katonah Museum of Art...

Cost: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Telephone: (914) 7672969
Contact Name: Margaret Adasko
Website »

More information

GALLERY HOURS Tuesday - Friday: 11 - 5pm Saturday & Sunday: Noon - 5pm Or By Appointment “I live for the surprise of discovery,” Michael KESSLER. The elegant minimalistic...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914 332 4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Beginners are welcome and instruction is provided. Participants must bring their own set.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Mount Kisco Public Library
Telephone: 914-864-0130
Contact Name: Lisa Graziadei
Website »

More information

Dogs love listening to stories! Come meet "Rover" and read your favorite story. For school age children age 5 and up.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Mount Kisco Public Library
Telephone: 914-864-0130
Contact Name: Lisa Graziadei
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Young Artists 2016 February 7 – 21, 2016 at the Katonah Museum of Art Opening Reception: Sunday, February 7, 3 – 5pm Young Artists, an annual program at the Katonah Museum of Art...

Cost: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Telephone: (914) 7672969
Contact Name: Margaret Adasko
Website »

More information

Jonathan Yarmis always has some great insights on the news of the day and the mega-trends. These days, it’s about the intersection of social, mobile, cloud, and big data. He is joined...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Innovation Center
175 Atlantic Street
Stamford, CT  06901
View map »


Sponsor: Stamford Innovation Center
Website »

More information

GALLERY HOURS Tuesday - Friday: 11 - 5pm Saturday & Sunday: Noon - 5pm Or By Appointment “I live for the surprise of discovery,” Michael KESSLER. The elegant minimalistic...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914 332 4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Mid-Hudson Orchid Society will present an array of orchid plants for display and for sale. At 10:30 the groups president Dennis Sandberg will guide a tour of the orchids, identifying and...

Cost: Free Admission, orchids for purchase

Where:
Katonah Village Library
26 Bedford Road
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »

More information

Young Artists 2016 February 7 – 21, 2016 at the Katonah Museum of Art Opening Reception: Sunday, February 7, 3 – 5pm Young Artists, an annual program at the Katonah Museum of Art...

Cost: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Telephone: (914) 7672969
Contact Name: Margaret Adasko
Website »

More information

If you’re an adult looking for a relaxing, fresh, and new activity that will help bring stress relief to your busy life, try our new coloring class which meets every Saturday from 10:30 am -...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Library is hosting a special Valentine's Day Party featuring an interactive comedy show, balloon sculptures, Valentine's crafts and fun for all ages. Refreshments will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Library
271 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge , NY
View map »


Website »

More information

GALLERY HOURS Tuesday - Friday: 11 - 5pm Saturday & Sunday: Noon - 5pm Or By Appointment “I live for the surprise of discovery,” Michael KESSLER. The elegant minimalistic...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914 332 4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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