Willa Ford Biography / Pictures
January 22, 1981), is an American singer,
songwriter, model, television personality and film actress. She became known in
2001 as the self-proclaimed "Bad Girl of Pop", when she released her debut
album, Willa Was Here. Aside from her music career, Willa has had acting roles in
movies, hosted several reality television shows, posed for Playboy and has
competed on ABC's top-rated Dancing with the Stars.
Willa was born on January 22, 1981 and raised in Ruskin, Florida.
She began pursuing her dream of becoming a singer at the age of 8 when she
started singing with the Tampa Bay Children's Choir. By the time she reached age
11 she had moved on from the children's choir to the Tampa-based children's
performing arts troupe Entertainment Revue.
In 1999, the 18 year old Willa started performing under the stage name Mandah and
was signed to Music Corporation of America, MCA. While with MCA she wrote and
recorded a song called "Lullaby" which was featured on the double-platinum
soundtrack for the motion picture Pokemon: The First Movie.
was also the
opening act for the Backstreet Boys which led to a relationship with Nick
Carter. Ford's label decided to changed her stage name from Mandah into Willa
Ford, as to avoid confusion with Mandy Moore. After refusing to be portrayed as
a good girl with a squeaky-clean image, Willa parted ways with MCA, which allowed
her to move on to a label that would embrace a bad-girl image.
At the age of 20 the singer signed on to a new label, Lava Atlantic Records,
while on a mall tour for Nautica Kids. The new contract put her into the
recording studio with a diverse variety of writers and producers which allowed
her to express more of her sexuality. Willa preferred to write most of her own
lyrics as well as becoming executive producer for most her first album. On July
17, 2001, Willa Ford released her debut album Willa Was Here. The album gave
birth to the smash single "I Wanna Be Bad". Willa Was Here reached 56 on the
Billboard 200 and sold roughly 200,000 copies. Willa went on to release a second
single from the album titled "Did Ya' Understand That" which failed to garner
much attention. Her shelved third single "Ooh Ooh" showcased her singing ability
as being one of few vocalists who can access the whistle register, made famous
by Mariah Carey.
Willa served as the spokesperson for Pantene Pro-V's ProVoice campaign while
promoting the album. She also appeared in Uncle Kracker's video for "In A Little
While." On April 26, 2002, Willa Ford guest starred in an episode of Raising Dad
where she played a bully named Edie. Willa also went on to guest host MTV's TRL
and Say What Karaoke which led to a hosting contract with Viacom. Willa soon
hosted the MTV reality shows The Morning After and I Bet You Will. That same
year Willa Ford co-wrote and recorded a duet with South Korean pop star Park Ji-yoon entitled "Nastified" which appeared on Park's fifth album Man.
When 2003 arrived, Willa Ford was back with a hot dance song that immortalized a
sorority chant and became a huge club hit named "A Toast to Men". The song,
which featured guest rapper Lady May, stirred up controversy due to its
vulgarity, but was still featured in daytime promo ads for soap operas and
edited for national radio airplay. The single was from her unreleased sophomore
album Sexysexobsessive which was previously titled Porn Poetry. The title track
"Sexysexobsessive" was to be the second single. A song named "Who I Am"
which was to be on the album was later featured on German singer Sandra's album
Back to Life. Due to some legal issues at her label, Ford's highly anticipated
sophomore album was never released. Willa Ford soon parted ways with Lava
Atlantic records to venture off and focus on other career opportunities.
Willa Ford returned to the spotlight in 2005 when she hosted the first season of
the fighting competition reality show, The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV. This
led to a short lived relationship with Chuck Liddell. The show aired between
January 18 and April 9, 2005. After the show's finale, the 24 year old singer
was contracted as a summer's guest doll performer for the Las Vegas shows of The
Pussycat Dolls. Willa was later featured as the June celebrity on FHM's 2005
In early 2006, Willa Ford played as one of the four celebrity quarterbacks for
the Lingerie Bowl which was shown during the halftime of Super Bowl XL. That
same year the pop starlette proved to America how bad she really wanted to be by
posing nude for the March 2006 issue of Playboy. This was the same issue that
was plagued with controversy over the alleged misuse of Jessica Alba's image for
the cover. Willa mentioned in an interview that it changed her life and the whole
experience was very liberating. Stuff magazine ranked her #48
in the 101 Sexiest Online Women supplement later that year.
On August 14, 2006, Lisa Rinna announced the cast for the third season of
Dancing with the Stars on Good Morning America. Willa Ford was named as one of
the celebrity dancers on ABC's highly rated dance program. The show aired
between September 12 and November 15, 2006. Willa along with her partner Maksim
Chmerkovskiy managed to last until the 5th week of elimination. Beating out
Vivica Fox, Harry Hamlin, Shanna Moakler and Tucker Carlson. She was voted off
on October 11, 2006 despite having tied in first place. Willa was in the bottom
two along with Jerry Springer, who had the lowest score. One day after Ford's
elimination, Sara Evans announced her withdrawal from the competition after
filing for divorce from her husband, which started rumors of Ford's return. The
25 year old singer later announced on Headline News that ABC had invited her to
return to the competition, but she declined stating that "America has voted" and
that her time was done. Promos promoted her return for the November 1, 2006
episode and to the delight of her fans, the pop singer did in fact return to the
stage, although not to dance, but to sing. Willa performed the Academy Award
winning song "Fame", making her the only celebrity to be a contestant and
musical guest on the show. On November 8, 2006, the following week after her
very well received performance, the singer returned to perform a group jive
dance to promote the upcoming Dancing with the Stars tour. Her final appearance
on the show was the November 15 season finale when America crowned Emmitt Smith
as the season's champion.
The entertainment show Extra followed the singer as she underwent an "Ugly Betty
Make-Over" which aired on November 2, 2006. Willa also did a photoshoot featured
in Maxim for the January 2007 issue where she reflected on her experience on
Dancing with the Stars. Before presenting at the Arby's Action Sports awards,
Willa announced that on Thanksgiving morning her long time boyfriend and NHL
superstar, Mike Modano, had presented her a ring for her hand in marriage. The
couple wed in a small, private ceremony on August 26, 2007 in Athens,
also announced to Access Hollywood that she was dropping out of
the Dancing With The Stars Tour since Maksim Chmerkovskiy was not signed on.
Willa Ford invited television viewers with a tour of her house, appearing on an
episode of My Celebrity Home on the Style Network, which aired on January 31,
also hosted the third season of Pants-Off Dance-Off on Fuse TV
after Tila Tequila's and Jodie Sweetin's departure. On August 23, 2007, Willa and
husband Mike Modano gave television audiences another glimpse inside their new
home when they were featured in an episode of MTV Cribs.
The Insider announced on April 10, 2007 that Willa Ford was cast to play the
role of Anna Nicole Smith in a film about the life and death of the celebrity.
The film was shot between April and May 2007 and was released to DVD outside of
the U.S. The biopic Anna Nicole marked Ford's first lead role in a film. Willa was later picked to play the lead character named Claire Dennison in a thriller
film called Impulse opposite Angus MacFadyen. Impulse went straight-to-DVD on
April 15, 2008. In typical bad girl fashion, Willa Ford is featured topless in
Willa Ford played the supporting role as a character named Chelsea in the motion
picture remake of Friday the 13th in which she also appeared topless, exposing
her bare breasts while water skiing. The film was released on February 13, 2009
and placed number one on its opening weekend, taking in over $45 million.
The role was the 28 year old's debut acting performance in a major motion
picture. Friday the 13th was produced by Michael Bay and directed by Marcus
Nispel who directed the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. For promotion of the
project, Willa appeared as a guest on E!'s late night talk show Chelsea Lately.
The episode aired on February 5, 2009. Willa and husband Modano were also in
attendance for the February 9 Los Angeles premiere of Friday the 13th at the
Grauman's Chinese Theater with the rest of the cast and crew.
Willa Ford endorsed the VaNu health product, a super blend of super foods, on
March 9, 2009. On March 12, 2009, Mike Modano posted on his Twitter that the E!
network wants him and Willa Ford to do a reality show. This announcement comes
amidst alleged reports that Willa Ford is in production to do a reality
show. The source claims that the 28 year old singer told E! news radio that the
couple was hoping to start filming for the project a couple months after January
Willa Ford dated Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys from 1998 to 2001. She has
also dated Christopher Jones and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck
is married to American hockey player Mike Modano.
In an interview with Access Hollywood she stated that Modano popped the question
in bed at the end of October and presented Willa with an engagement ring over
Thanksgiving. Willa married Modano in Athens, Texas on August 25, 2007. She wore
a wedding gown she designed herself. The couple bought a home in the Dallas area
and said that they hope to start a family once their careers slow down.
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