She began singing with the Tampa Bay Children’s Choir when she was 8 years old and sang with Entertainment Revue (which is a children’s performing arts troupe from Tampa, Florida) when she was 11 years old. She also attended East Bay High School in Gibsonton, Florida.
In 1999, 18-year-old Willa began performing under the name “Mandah” and signed to MCA Records. She was later dropped by the label and she was signed by Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records put one of Willa’s songs “Lullaby” on the soundtrack to the animated film “Pokemon: The First Movie.” She later changed her stage name to Willa Ford in order to avoid confusion with then-teen pop singer Mandy Moore.
In 2000, she was one of the opening acts on the Backstreet Boys’ tour “Into the Millennnium.” In 2001, Willa signed with Lava\Atlantic Records while she was on a mall tour for Nautica Kids. In May of 2001, she released her debut single “I Wanna Be Bad” (featuring rapper Royce da 5’9″) which became a hit, peaking at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100, #19 on Billboard’s Top 40 Tracks chart, #11 on Billboard’s Top 40 Mainstream chart & #4 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
The song was certified Gold by the RIAA and was featured in commercials for 7UP and Six Flags Magic Mountain. On July 17, 2001, Willa released her debut album “Willa Was Here” which peaked at #56 on the Billboard 200 chart. The follow-up single from the album “Did Ya Understand That” failed to make the Billboard music charts at all.
The music video for the song was featured in promotional spots for CBS’s daytime television programming, but it didn’t receive a lot of airplay due to the video being too “adult themed” for most daytime viewers. It was also nominated for “Best Hair” at the 2002 MVPA Awards. A promotional single “Ooh Ooh” was released from the album, but didn’t make the charts at all. In October of 2001, Willa released the single “Santa Baby (Gimme, Gimme, Gimme)” which was the lead single to the “MTV: TRL Christmas” album.
Willa was a spokesperson for Pantene’s “Pro-Vic ProVoice” campaign while promoting her debut album. She also guest-hosted MTV’s “TRL (Total Request Live)” and “Say What Karaoke” which led to a hosting contract with Viacom.
Willa also hosted other MTV reality shows such as “I Bet You Will” and “The Morning After.” She co-wrote & recorded a duet with South Korean pop star Park Ji-yoon called “Nastified” (which was featured on his album “Man”).
She also appeared in Uncle Kracker’s video for his song “In A Little While” and guest-starred on the WB television series “Raising Dad.” In October of 2003, Willa released the single “A Toast to Men (F*ck the Men)” which managed to peak at #45 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Sales chart and #11 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Singles Sales chart.
Willa got the inspiration for the song after attending a sorority party with friends. During the party, the sorority sisters got together & chanted “F*ck the men, let’s drink to us.”
The song’s title caused some controversy with radio stations & how radio deejays should pronounce it. In the radio edit version of the song, the word “f*ck” was replaced with as space\scratch sound.
The music video for the song was featured in promotional spots for CBS’ daytime television programming.
The song was supposed to be on Willa’s sophomore album “Sexysexobsessive,” but the album was never released. The title song was released as the second single through her official website.
In 2005, Willa hosted the first season of the Spike TV reality show “The Ultimate Fighter.” After that, she was contracted as a guest doll performer for The Pussycat Dolls. She was later featured as the June celebrity on FHM’s 2005 pin-up calendar.
In early 2006, Willa played as one of the four celebrity quarterbacks for the Lingerie Bowl (which was shown during the half-time of Super Bowl XL). During that same year, she was featured in a nude pictorial for the March 2006 issue of “Playboy” magazine. Also in that same year, Stuff Magazine ranked Willa at #48 in the “101 Sexiest Online Women” supplement.
In the fall of 2006, Willa competed on the third season of the ABC network reality show “Dancing With the Stars.” She and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy were eliminated during the fifth week of competition.
In January of 2007, Willa appeared on an episode of the Style Network series “My Celebrity Home.”
On August 25, 2007, Willa married former NHL player Mike Modano in a private ceremony in Athens, Texas. Before they married, they were featured in an episode of MTV’s “Cribs.”
In 2009, Willa starred in the film “Friday the 13th.” She appeared on the E! Network’s late-night talk show “Chelsea Lately” to promote the movie.
During that same year, she starred in the movie “Minuteman” which premiered in 2010 at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival, released for pay-per-view\video-on-demand in April of 2011 and then released on DVD in June of 2011.
Willa guest-starred on television shows such as “The Glades,” “Magic City” and “Leverage.” In August of 2012, Willa and Mike divorced after five years of marriage.
These days, Willa is still active with her acting career.
To see the music video for “I Wanna Be Bad,” go to:
To see the music video for “Did Ya Understand That,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “Ooh Ooh,” go to:
To see the music video for “A Toast To Men,” go to:
To see the music video for “Santa Baby (Gimme, Gimme, Gimme),” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “Sexysexobsessive,” go to: