Vanessa Williams and her mom, Helen Williams, are gearing up to headline the Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s Phenomenal Woman Luncheon on Oct. 13 at the Hilton Hartford. The mother and daughter team will be talking about their book You Have No Idea. The two decided to co-author the book after realizing that they had a lot to say in the way of life's struggles and being a survivor. In the book, Vanessa opens up about everything including molestation and rise to stardom while Helen talks about her relationship with her famous daughter. Vanessa recently took time out of her busy schedule to talk with Hartford Magazine about her new book and the gift of motherhood.
The writing process.
"I put it off for years. As my career grew and evolved and I got a much broader audience that did not know my past and did not know the training and work that I put into being multi-faceted, it was easier to tell my story and give lessons to young fans. They know me from Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty and did not know about my background in musical theater or the training I’ve had. It was the right time to write the book and I think it was worthwhile. The book could have been twice its size. Everyone thought there should be more in each area. I struggled with editing and streamlining it. There was definitely a value to having two different perspectives. I really enjoyed writing with my mother because you’ve got women of her generation and their reasoning on subjects like raising kids. The book helped my kids because they had the opportunity to listen to their grandmother and her stories, and understand a lot more."
Book inspirations and influence of the arts on family.
"A big part of the book is about being influenced by my mother as a music educator and my father, who was also a teacher. I make my living in the arts and I see it reflected in my kids. I required them to take instrumental lessons until they graduated, and we all feel very passionate about being able to have arts education in our schools."
Vanessa's greatest role in choosing between acting, singing, and parenting.
"I would definitely say being a mother. It’s an incredible gift, especially as you get older and you see how your life is enriched as your children blossom. Being a mother is a constant test of your character and the choices you make in your life."