Comeback queen Vanessa Williams has returned to her musical roots releasing her thirteenth album, "The Real Thing," in stores today. ESSENCE.com caught up with the 46-year-old songstress and fashionista, who dishes on inner beauty, BOTOX and bargain shopping.
ESSENCE.COM: Your album title is "The Real Thing." What are the three real things about you people would never guess?
VANESSA L. WILLIAMS: Some real things I do that most people probably don't know about is cooking and baking. I absolutely love spending my spare time in the kitchen. I also drive myself to and from work. Some assume that I have a driver, but I don't!
ESSENCE.COM: What's your number one fashion weakness?
WILLIAMS: My number one fashion weakness if definitely shoes.
ESSENCE: What types of garments do you gravitate towards and why?
WILLIAMS: I tend to gravitate towards cashmere sweaters and a great wedge shoe. A cashmere crewneck sweater is comfortable and classic. A wedge offers the height, but with much less pain than a stiletto. They both look great with a pair of jeans.
ESSENCE.COM: What defines sexy for you in terms of your own personal style at 46?
WILLIAMS: Being at ease with yourself and your body is sexy. Every woman should accentuate their best assets and not be afraid to show them off.
ESSENCE.COM: How do you maintain your ageless beauty? What beauty products would we find in your bathroom?
WILLIAMS: Twice a year I receive BOTOX injections from a doctor whom I trust very much. I also have some favorite beauty products that I use on a daily basis—Perfekt's Skin Perfection Gel and Mila Moursi's moisturizing oil.
ESSENCE.COM: In terms of fashion choices, what stylish things do you have in common with your character Wilhelmina on "Ugly Betty"?
WILLIAMS: Wilhelmina and I both love making statements with bold accessories. We also enjoy wearing clothing with monochromatic hues and a great high heel!
ESSENCE.COM: You attend tons of red-carpet events. What's your most memorable fashion red-carpet moment?
WILLIAMS: My most memorable red-carpet moment was in Los Angeles at the 2007 Emmy Awards (pictured left). I wore a Kevan Hall mint dress decorated with mint feathers. It was a dream night; not only did I feel beautiful, but I was nominated for my first Emmy!
ESSENCE.COM: What will be your three major fashion purchases for the summer?
WILLIAMS: My first purchase every summer is a great pair of white denim jeans. A black linen top and flat metallic sandal are my must-have items this summer.
ESSENCE.COM: If our readers could peek into your closet, what designers would they find?
WILLIAMS: I have so many favorites, but the last few designers I purchased pieces from are Derek Lam, Chloe and I am obsessed with Vince T-Shirts. My favorite shoe designers are Sergio Rossi, Stewart Weitzman, Christian Louboutin and Modern Vintage. A girl can never have enough shoes!
ESSENCE.COM: Celebrities are known for having access to the best and most expensive clothes on the market. Have you curbed your appetite for expensive clothing in anyway because of the recession? Where do you like to shop when you're looking for bargain?
WILLIAMS: I have curbed my spending, but not necessarily in regards to clothing as I have never been a big shopper. I tend to find the best deals online or in catalogs. I always try and go to the Barney's and Neiman's sales too. They have amazing deals on designer clothes a few times a year. It's a steal.