When Vanessa Williams was growing up, she had a plan: She’d go to college and major in musical theater; afterward she’d get her MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and then she would embark on a successful career on Broadway. And to make sure she stayed on that path, her mother, Helen Williams, gave her a list of things that she should never— ever—do. Near the top of that list was “never ever pose nude for anyone.” So when Vanessa became the first African-American woman to win the title of Miss America in September 1983 (an accomplishment that she never planned for or desired), only to be forced to resign ten months later due to a nude photo scandal, the lives of both Vanessa and Helen took an unexpected turn. But Vanessa survived this setback, and many others to come, to enjoy a thirty-plus-year career as an award-winning singer and actress. Vanessa has been asked to write her memoir many times, but only now—with the help of her mother—is she ready to tell her story.
Vanessa grew up in Millwood, New York, part of one of the town’s only black families. As a teenager, Vanessa defied Helen, flirting with boys, drinking, and smoking pot. But despite their early conflicts, Helen has always ardently protected her daughter, staying in contact with the FBI about the multiple death threats Vanessa received after being crowned and being there for her during the dissolution of her two marriages.
Now the mother of four children, Vanessa describes how she’s made it through the ups and downs of her life as well as her career. Jointly written by Vanessa and Helen and filled with dozens of personal family photos and mementos, You Have No Idea is an empowering celebration of the love between a mother and daughter and the life of a woman who beat the odds to achieve her destiny.
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It's also not just another celebrity memoir... It's a story about how we can't let others shape our opinions of ourselves and how determination can get you far in this world.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
I read this pretty much straight through, which isn’t something I often do for biography, so that’s a big plus.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
Having her mother’s input as part of the book tempered that, and made reading this better.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
“You Have No Idea” tells the timeless tale of mothers and daughters: the push and pull, the tug of war for understanding, patience, acceptance, love, guidance.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
I guess the bottom line is that it wasn't my favorite book I've read this year, but it also wasn't a bad book by any means...Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
Their work ethic and determination is commendable, but reading about their relationship with one another is what I enjoyed most.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
You Have No Idea is a great read from beginning to end...Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
...it swung wildly back and forth between Vanessa’s career to her love life, without much meat in between or reason.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
This book was also the perfect example of the mother/daughter dynamic.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
Vanessa and Helen Williams did their best to tell the truth, and they were even kind of likeable... which is a real compliment coming from somebody like me.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
I was surprised at how entertaining this book was - both Williams are almost painfully honest throughout.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
I also admired that there is no sugar coating in this book.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
She couldn't talk me in to caring, and I think that is the key to a really good memoir.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
Helen is a great mom. Their story inspires me to be a good mother, and to thank my own (Thanks mom, I know it’s hard!). And before I forget, there is some fun gossip included at no additional cost.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
Anyway, if you're a fan and you get the chance to read this book, do it.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
Williams demonstrates humility and a sense of humor about herself when she hands the book over to her mother so that we can hear Mom’s side of the story.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
Vanessa’s early penchant for getting into all sorts of trouble is quite humorous.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
Like many celebrity memoirs this wasn't the best-written book. It's not cohesive in it's overall editing...but despite these shortcomings there was a ton to enjoy about this book! I would recommend it to any fan of celebrity memoirs or Vanessa Williams.Read Full Review of You Have No Idea
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