Thirty years ago, Vanessa Williams made history as the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. In her interview for "Oprah's Master Class," Williams says never believed it was really possible for her to win before she actually took the crown.
Williams was a theatre major at Syracuse University and says she had no interest in pageants at first. She blew off the idea until her junior year, when she entered the Ms. Greater Syracuse Pageant – and won. "Then I ended up winning Syracuse, New York and Miss America in September within six months period of time," Williams says.
During the Miss America 1984 competition, Williams says she took advantage of the talents she already had. "I sang a song that was easy for me," she says. "I majored in musical theatre, so it wasn't like I had to come up with an act."
Though she thought she might place in the top 10, Williams didn't think it would go further than that. "So I just basically was there to have a good time, I really did not think that I would win because I didn't think that it was the time," Williams says. "There had never been a black Miss America, so why would it be this year? If so, possibly I knew that I had what it took, but I didn't think they'd actually go for it."
After winning the title, her reign as Miss America was fraught with controversy. Williams opens up about the challenges she faced and the Penthouse scandal that forced her to resign on "Oprah's Master Class" airing Sunday, July 13 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.