Ellen: Vanessa Williams You Have No Idea, Death Threats & Puppies


Ellen: Vanessa Williams Great Dane Puppies

“Let’s talk about the puppies that you’ve just adopted,” Ellen said to special guest Vanessa Williams. They also discussed the Vanessa Williams You Have No Idea memoir & Vanessa Williams’ Death Threats.

Several pictures of Vanessa‘s great dane dogs were shown. The oldest of her dogs was named Willow and Vanessa rescued him. The younger dogs were still puppies and they were absolutely adorable. Vanessa said that sometimes the puppies get into trouble.


Ellen: Vanessa Williams You Have No Idea

The Vanessa Williams You Have No Idea memoir talks about Death Threats she received as the first black Miss America. (Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com)

“I walk up the stairs and I see both of them with my shoe in their mouth,” she said.

Ellen noted that people often don’t realize how gentle great danes are.


“They’re babies,” Vanessa said. “They’re scared of everything. They’d sit in your lap if they could.”

Ellen: Vanessa Williams You Have No Idea Review

Ellen‘s mother Betty wrote a memoir called Love, Ellen. The cover features Ellen lovingly embracing her mother and resting her head on her bosoms.

When Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen set out to publish their co-written memoir You Have No Idea, they were asked what they thought about the cover of Betty‘s book.

“That looks golden, fuzzy, and intimate,” Vanessa said. “That’s not what we want.”

Sharply contrasting with the cover of Love, Ellen, the cover of You Have No Idea shows Vanessa with her hands on her hips standing next to Helen. Vanessa said she thought that stance and the title of the book fit really well together and foreshadowed the style of the book.

The book follows Vanessa‘s life and career and the struggles that she faced. Each chapter starts with a passage from Helen in which she shares a piece of advice she gave her daughter at some point in her life. Then the rest of the chapter features Vanessa explaining all of the ways that she disregarded that advice.

“I thank god that my kids haven’t put me through what I put my parents through,” Vanessa said.

Ellen: Vanessa Williams Death Threats

Ellen talked about how amazing Vanessa Williams‘ You Have No Idea was. One of the details about Vanessa‘s life that Ellen thought was particularly amazing was that Vanessa received numerous death threats in 1983 when she became the first African American winner of the Miss America beauty pageant.

“You had death threats!” Ellen said. “So you’re in a parade and you’re worried about snipers.”

Vanessa said it was especially alarming given the time at which those events took place.

“This is not the 60’s civil rights era–this is 1983!” Vanessa said.


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