The self-proclaimed “Bad Girl of Pop,” Willa Ford was born as Amanda Lee Williford on January 22, 1981 in Ruskin, Florida. At the age of eight she began pursuing her dreams of becoming a singer, when she joined the Tampa Bay’s Children Choir. Three years later she joined the children performing arts troupe Entertainment Revue, which consisted of 20 girls, ages 5 to 16, who toured the area performing at places like Disney World and Busch Gardens. She moved her way up from a chorus member to a soloist, and by the age of 15 she landed a spot with a local group called FLA. Not long after, she left the group and headed to Los Angeles.
In 1999, Willa was signed to MCA, under the stage name Mandah. While she was with MCA, she released the song “Lullaby” on the double Platinum soundtrack Pokeman: The First Movie and landed a spot opening for the Backstreet Boys. This brought her attention for her performances and as well as her relationship with Backstreet Boy Nick Carter. Her name was soon changed from Mandah in order to avoid confusion with pop star Mandy Moore. MCA tried to promote her as a beautiful singer with a good-girl image, but after receiving negative publicity that tarnished her good-girl issue she was dropped and went to find a label that would accept her bad girl image.
While touring malls with Nautica Kids, Willa was noticed by Lava/Atlantic records and was given a deal and put into their studios with a diverse variety of writers and producers. But unlike most pop stars of the time, Willa preferred to write most of her songs herself. On July 27, 2001 her debut “Willa Was Here” was released. This album contained her hit single I Wanna Be Bad, but despite that, the album itself didn’t become much of a success, only reaching #56 on the Billboard Top 200.
In 2001, Willa received a contract with MTV, after hosting TRL and “Say What Karaoke” a few times. In 2002, she started her career in reality TV, hosting “I Bet You Will” and “The Morning After.” And in 2003, she returned to music with the single A Toast To Men from the album “Sexysexyobsessive.” Though the single did well, the album was not released due to legalities. This even made Willa leave the label in order to find another one.
In 2005, Willa began to host the first season of the fighting competition reality show “The Ultimate Fighter.” In 2006, she showed just how bad she really was by posing nude in Playboy magazine. She also was one of the four celebrity linebackers in the Dallas Desires third Lingerie Bowl. In mid-April, she became one of the celebrity poker players in “Calvin Ayre’s Poker Wild Card.” And as for the future in her music, Willa decided to give up her music career to become a professional boxer, finding success in that.… Expand
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