Amanda Lee Williford, (born January 22, 1981) known by her stage name Willa Ford, is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, model, television personality and film actress. She released her debut album, Willa Was Here, in 2001. Ford also has appeared in movies such as Friday the 13th (2009), hosted several reality television shows, posed for Playboy and competed on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.
Early life and education
Ford was raised in Ruskin, Florida. She began singing with the Tampa Bay Children's Choir at age eight. At age 11, she started singing with the Tampa-based children's performing arts troupe, Entertainment Revue. She attended East Bay High School in Gibsonton, Florida.
In 1999, the 18-year-old Ford started performing under the stage name Mandah and was signed to MCA. Ford was later dropped from MCA and signed by Atlantic Records. Atlantic placed one of Ford's songs, "Lullaby," on the soundtrack for Pokémon: The First Movie. Ford changed her stage name from Mandah to Willa Ford in order to avoid confusion with Mandy Moore.
In 2000, she was one of the opening acts on the Backstreet Boys' "Into the Millennium" tour.
In 2001, Ford signed on to a new label, Lava Atlantic Records, while on a mall tour for Nautica Kids. Ford wrote most of her own lyrics and served as executive producer for most of her first album. On July 17, 2001, she released Willa Was Here. The album included the single "I Wanna Be Bad" which featured rapper Royce da 5'9". Willa Was Here reached 56 on the Billboard 200 and sold approximately 200,000 copies. Ford went on to release a second single from the album, "Did Ya' Understand That," which failed to garner much attention. Later she explained the reason as the song was released on September 11, 2001 and ruined by the terrorists' attack. "Ooh Ooh" was released as a promotional single, but also failed to find success.
Ford was a 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." Ford also went on to guest-host MTV's TRL and Say What Karaoke, which led to a hosting contract with Viacom. Ford hosted the MTV reality shows The Morning After and I Bet You Will. In 2001, Ford also co-wrote and recorded a duet with South Korean pop star Park Ji-yoon. The song, titled "Nastified," appeared on Park's fifth album, Man.
In 2003, Ford released a song titled "A Toast to Men." The song, which featured guest rapper Lady May, was featured in daytime promotional ads for soap operas. The single came from her unreleased second album Sexysexobsessive, which was previously titled Porn Poetry. The title track, "Sexysexobsessive," was to be the second single, but it was only released through Ford's official website.
From 2005 to 2006, she appeared as a guest doll in Pussycat Dolls' show at the club in Las Vegas. In 2010, she released the first song since 2003 "All This Time" online, collaborated with Riley Smith. In 2011, Ford resumed her music career with a performance at The Viper Room in LA. In the performance, she revealed her first solo song since 2003, "Back Back Back." In 2014, she was featured in the song "Rock Tonight" by Willa Ford, Eve Nelson and Ray Cervenka.
Television, film, and magazine appearances
In 2002, Ford appeared in an episode of the short-lived television sitcom Raising Dad, playing a bully named Edie. In 2005, Ford hosted the first season of the reality show The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV. After the show's finale, Ford was contracted as a summer's guest doll performer for the Las Vegas shows of The Pussycat Dolls. Ford was later featured as the June celebrity on FHM's 2005 pin-up calendar.
In early 2006, Ford played as one of the four celebrity quarterbacks for the Lingerie Bowl, which was shown during the half-time of Super Bowl XL. Later that year, she was featured in a nude pictorial in the March 2006 issue of Playboy. Stuff magazine ranked her #48 in the 101 Sexiest Online Women supplement later that year. In fall 2006, Ford competed on the third season of Dancing with the Stars. Ford and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, were eliminated in the fifth week of competition. She talked about her experience with Maxim in its January 2007 issue.
Ford appeared on an episode of My Celebrity Home on the Style Network, which aired on January 31, 2007 She also hosted the third season of Pants-Off Dance-Off on Fuse TV. On August 23, 2007, Ford and her then-husband, NHL hockey player Mike Modano, were featured in an episode of MTV Cribs.
Ford appeared in the 2009 slasher film Friday the 13th. To promote the project, Ford appeared as a guest on E!'s late night talk show Chelsea Lately on February 5, 2009.
On October 10, 2009, she was cast as Becca in Dreamfly Production's new movie, Universal Squadrons, which was originally titled Minuteman. The movie premiered at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival 2010 and the Angelika Theater in Dallas, Texas in December. According to the blog of the production, the movie was released for pay per view/video on demand in April, then DVD in June 7, 2011 from Maverick Films.
Ford also made a guest appearance in one episode of The Glades in 2011. In 2012, she appeared in 4 episodes of the television program Magic City and an episode of Leverage season five. As of June 2014, she is taking part in 4 films, called Submerged, Any Day, The Nurse, and Checkmate.
Ford was also cast in another movie, Assassin's Fury, but was later dropped. In an interview with BZFilm.com, producer Fabio Soldani said that Ford was replaced after five days of shooting and that Willa was "a nightmare to be around" and "shooting was a really sad place to be for those 5 days".
Ford and hockey player Mike Modano married in a small, private ceremony on August 25, 2007, in Athens, Texas. In August 2012, Ford and Modano announced that they were divorcing.
In April 2015, Ford married former NFL linebacker Ryan Nece. In March 2016, it was announced that the couple was expecting their first child. On September 7, 2016, Ford gave birth to a son.
|Willa Was Here||
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2001||"I Wanna Be Bad"||4||22||6||11||19||11||Willa Was Here|
|"Did Ya' Understand That"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Santa Baby (Gimme, Gimme, Gimme)"||—||—||—||—||—||—||MTV: TRL Christmas|
|2003||"A Toast to Men"
|2004||"Sexy Sex Obsessive"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007||The Anna Nicole Smith Story||Anna Nicole Smith|
|2009||Friday the 13th||Chelsea|
|2014||The Nurse||Lynette||Aired in Canada, France and Spain|
|2016||A Father's Secret||Kerry Evans||TV film. Entitled Enquête sécrète in France.|
|2001||The Mind of the Married Man||Popstar|
|2002||I Bet You Will||Host|
|The Morning After||Host|
|Miss Teen USA||Host|
|2003||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Guest appearance|
|2005||The Ultimate Fighter||Host|
|2006||Lingerie Bowl III||Celebrity Quarterback for the Dallas Desire|
|Calvin Ayre WildCard Poker||Player|
|Dancing with the Stars||Celebrity Dancer|
|Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Guest appearance|
|Live with Regis and Kelly||Guest appearance|
|2007||Pants Off Dance Off||Host|
|Red Eye||Guest Appearance|
|MTV Cribs||Introduced her home|
|My Celebrity Home||Introduced her home|
|2010||Chelsea Lately||Guest appearance|
|2011||The Glades||Shelby Adams||Episode: "'shine"|
|2012||Magic City||Janice Michaels||4 episodes|
|Leverage||Tabatha Delavega||Episode: "The Low Low Price Job"|
|2001||"I Wanna Be Bad"||Herself|
|"Did Ya' Understand That"||Herself|
|"Santa Baby (Gimme, Gimme, Gimme)"||Herself|
|"In a Little While"||Uncle Kracker|
|2003||"A Toast to Men"||Herself|
|2011||"Burn It Down"||Awolnation|
- Television live performances
- Teensasion Hard Rock Live
- Total Request Live
- The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
- Live with Regis and Kelly
- Television commercials
- Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Pantene Pro-Voice Live