Happy Birthday Vanessa Williams!

Bestest birthday wishes to my “fabulous, gorgeous, always makes me comfortable, always makes me laugh” friend Vanessa Williams who celebrates her birthday today.

I’ve known Vanessa since we attended Syracuse University together many moons ago.

Obviously V has gone on to major, major accomplishments over the years in film, TV, Broadway and the recording studio. So many to name, I won’t try.

But my favorite thing about Vanessa over the years is she has never changed the way she treats me as her old friend.

We may not see each other for a while, but she’s always the same person I knew back in school.

I’ve documented a few of our meet-ups over the years here, here, and here.

Me with Vanessa Williams, husband Jim Skrip and my hubby Michael Caprio
at pre-gala reception hosted by Fendi (all photos by Denise Truscello)

In 2017, I was asked to introduce Vanessa at Nevada Ballet Theatre’s annual gala as they honored her as “Woman of the Year.”

In my introduction, I shared the story behind the pic below when I had just finished cancer treatment in 2009.

Clearly, I didn’t look like myself after chemo, and I was very self-conscious.

But seeing Vanessa backstage after her concert here in Las Vegas that year, she didn’t blink. Once she knew I was good, she ignored the way I looked and made me feel as comfortable as always.

After commenting on my hairlessness – “You look fab with your bald head!” – she immediately asked, “Do you want to hang backstage and have Chardonnay and friend chicken?”

As I told the audience at the Nevada Ballet Theatre event, that pretty much summed up Vanessa:

Like Chardonnay, she’s bright, light and intoxicating.

And like friend chicken, she is truly “Soul Food.”

Vanessa rocks. And I adore her.

Happy, happy birthday, doll!