<EM>Style Star</EM> subject Vanessa Williams Style Star subject Vanessa Williams
Vanessa Williams: beautiful, talented, stylish. From her coronation as the first African-American

Miss America to her current role as

Ugly Betty's devilish creative director, Wilhelmina Slater, it's easy to see that fashion becomes her. Tonight at 9:30 pm/ET, Style Network's Style Star opens Williams' closet wide and reminisces about the good (and some not-so good) looks of a fashion maven who appreciates comfort above all else. "I can always pick out Donna Karan clothing," says the Grammy-nominated singer and Broadway star, "because it looks comfortable and you just want to live in it." With the aid of Betty costar Michael Urie, Style Star counts down Vanessa's top five looks and lets us in on her surprising beauty secret.

TVGuide.com: As Style Star conducted their retrospective of your fashion history, what was it like to have all of your best and worst looks paraded before you?
Vanessa Williams: [Laughs] I'm happy that I've been in the game for over 20 years. You've got to have a sense of humor about riding the times.

TVGuide.com: How important is fashion to you personally?
Williams: Not very. I have my own style, which is more relaxed and casual than anything. I definitely love comfort No. 1, and I do think I have a fashion sense, but I'm not obsessed with clothing or labels, and that's pretty freeing. I can go from classic to somewhat bohemian and feel comfortable.

TVGuide.com: So you're not following the trends?
Williams: I do follow some trends, but I'm not a trend follower head-to-toe.

TVGuide.com: Is there anything you'll never wear again?
Williams: Whenever you say you'll never wear it again, it comes back in style. I mean, who would think leggings and straight-leg jeans would come back? It's the same with bell-bottoms. I wore those in high school and those all came back. Give it 20 years and it will come around again.

TVGuide.com: Do you have a fashion icon?
Williams: There's not one particular person that I live by or think is absolutely timeless. There are a couple of people who always look put-together, but those are people who aren't necessarily famous, they are just people I know.

TVGuide.com: Has playing Ugly Betty's Wilhelmina had any effect on your personal style?
Williams: No, I think Wilhelmina is way more uptight than comfortable, that's for sure. I would never wear Wilhelmina's stuff. It's a little too severe. It's not my style.

TVGuide.com: You play a lot of beautiful, well-put-together women. Is that a conscious decision?
Williams: Not really. A lot of the [roles] that I've gotten have been cops or lawyers; it certainly hasn't been [geared toward] beauty or fashion. The most fun roles have been the ones that have to do with glamour. Being on Broadway in Kiss of the Spiderwoman or doing A Diva's Christmas Carol — those are all larger-than-life characters [for whom] wardrobe is essential. Those are the most fun for me.

TVGuide.com: One of the unexpected facts revealed on Style Star is that you still get your hair relaxed at JCPenney. Is that true?
Williams: It used to be JCPenney but then JCPenney went out of business in White Plains, so now it's Sears. Yes, my hairstylist who does my relaxer is still at Sears. When I'm in New York I can walk in and there's always a chair available. And if she's not there, then I'll get another stylist to relax. It takes a village, you know?

TVGuide.com: Do you have any advice for the fashion-challenged?
Williams: I love watching shows like [TLC's] What Not to Wear because they give great tips to people who are well-intended but don't have a clue. Some people have an eye for line and design and some people don't, and that's not their fault. It's just who they are. I think I'm lucky to have some kind of sense of fashion, but if you don't, find someone who does and ask for help. Learn what looks suit you the best and what you feel comfortable in, because there's always a way to make it work. If it's just a crisp white shirt that fits well and has some kind of detail with a great trouser and a great shoe, that might be it. Spend money on good shoes, that's the other tip — but don't hurt your feet!

Get up close with another pretty and funny lady — The King of Queens' Leah Remini — in the April 16 issue of TV Guide. Click here to subscribe.

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