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Q&A With Vanessa Williams

The singer, dancer, model, and actress dishes about mothering, health habits, and the memoir she wrote with her mom.

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What's your eating style?

I enjoy food. I enjoy good wine. I enjoy good, hot, fresh bread if I'm in France, with a nice slab of ridiculously delicious butter. So, especially when I travel, I always try to eat what's local and what's good. I try not to to overindulge, and if I do, I have enough discipline to get back on the routine to better health.

How do you feel about aging?

I'm so excited about technology and aging now because I really think that it prolongs having to go under the knife. There's so much that's available in terms of skin firming and fat reduction that are all machines [such as lasers] and not surgical procedures. So I keep crossing my fingers that technology keeps getting better and more refined. It allows aging to be graceful.

In your memoir, you talk about how you were always very independent, but there were times when you should have said 'no' that you didn't. Is there a message you'd like to pass on to other women?

I think we all have an internal gauge that warns us about certain situations in life. And it's up to us to listen and tune in to it, but also to act upon it. Listen to that voice, because it's there to protect you.

Is what you do for a living important to your health?

I think being able to express yourself is the most important thing that anyone can do in their life, so I'm lucky to be able to do what I love and get paid well for it. I think a lot of people have passions and creativity and when those are stifled, that's when depression sets in and illness starts. Doing what you love -- whether it's numbers or hotel management -- is important to feed your soul.

Desperate Housewives is ending this season. What's next for you?

I've got a development deal at ABC so I will be under their umbrella for a while. I don't know exactly what they have in mind, but that's the direction that I'll probably be going in the near future.

What are your best and worst health habits?

The worst would be that I'm a baker. That's my kryptonite. My best is that I like to do something every day, even if it's just getting on the treadmill for an hour and watching the news or doing my crossword puzzle. I'll take a brisk walk, or take a class like Pilates or yoga.

What book influenced you the most when it comes to your health?

It's Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer & Achieving Your Ideal Weight [by Peter J. D'Adamo]. It matches your ideal diet to your blood type. I definitely find validity in the philosophy. I'm O+, so, for instance, which means coffee is supposed to irritate the stomach and I'm not supposed to have a lot of it. But meats are very good, and high aerobic exercise is very good.

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