"When I first won Miss Greater Syracuse when I was a sophomore at Syracuse University... and my friends and my mother said, 'Go for it, get the scholarship.' I won and my friends said, 'Oh God, they have no idea who they just crowned.' I was a normal 20-year-old kid who had experienced life, who had smoked pot... who had a boyfriend, who had premarital sex." Actress/singer Vanessa Williams insists she was just a normal girl when she began her rise as a beauty queen.