Vanessa Williams has joined the judging panel of the 95th Miss America pageant.

The model, singer and actress - who was forced to resign as the reigning Miss America in 1983 after just 10 months when naked photographs of her from an old shoot appeared in Penthouse magazine - will make a comeback to the competition as head judge this year.

Vanessa, 52, will join a celebrity panel which includes Brett Eldredge, Taya Kyle, Danica McKellar, Kevin O'Leary, Amy Purdy and Zendaya Coleman.

Sam Haskell, executive chairman and CEO of Miss America, said: ''Vanessa's career speaks for itself, with all the success that she has had. When I became chairman of Miss America, one of the first calls I made was to Vanessa, to try to find a way to get her to come back. Her return as a huge success is a way for us all to move forward and put the past behind us. It's truly an honour to welcome her back to the Miss America Pageant.''

And Sam also revealed that he was saddened when Vanessa resigned but acknowledged that fighting a legal battle to keep her crown could have been detrimental to her career.

He said: ''I have been friends with Vanessa for 32 years. When the photos were published, there were people urging her to fight, but close supporters knew if she lost that fight that she would be completely removed from the history books. Instead of pursuing what would surely have been a long and stressful legal battle, Vanessa decided to resign and focus on her career. Vanessa and her family were hurt during the aftermath of the resignation, and that saddened me.''

Vanessa recently married Jim Skrip in a surprise July 4th ceremony.