Heidi W. DurrowHeidi W. Durrow

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Countdown to Publication: Fun Fact 51

It was so interesting when I was working on my book to think about how much I was affected by Vanessa Williams' crowning as Miss America and the subsequent scandal. She was the first person who I'd ever seen look something like me--tan skin and blue eyes. And people celebrated the way she looked, but also her talent. Mind you, I was an awkward looking adolescent--buck teeth, tom-boyish, bohemian and a little chubby with crazy looking curly hair.  But seeing Vanessa Williams I had a little hope for myself.  When I heard that she had relinquished the crown, I was devastated. I have since followed her career with great admiration. I love her on Ugly Betty and I continue to love her music too. In the book, the protagonist Rachel is similarly taken with the image of the first "black" Miss America.

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