In 1999, at the age of 18, Willa, then performing under the stage name Mandah, found a foothold in the music industry when she was signed by the Music Corporation of America (MCA). She was later dropped by MCA and ended up with Atlantic Records. While with Atlantic, one of her songs, "Lullaby," ended up as the soundtrack for Pokémon: The First Movie. She also landed a spot with the Backstreet Boys and performed in one of the opening acts during the band’s "Into the Millennium" tour in the year 2000. It not only brought her much-needed attention but soon enough she became closer to one of the group’s members Nick Carter. He remained her boyfriend for a while.
The singer/songwriter changed her stage name from Mandah to Willa Ford shortly after that and tried to promote herself as a beautiful singer with a good girl image. In 2001, she signed with a new label, Lava Atlantic Records, and decided to bring out her first album consisting of lyrics mostly written by herself. On July 17, 2001, “Willa Was Here” was finally released. It reached 56 on the Billboard 200 list and sold around 200,000 copies.
The song "I Wanna be Bad" from her debut album was a blockbuster hit. But it ended up garnering some negative publicity and gave her a bad-girl image. Finding herself unable to stick to the girl-across-the-street image pandered by the music industry she decided to embrace the bad-girl image instead.
Her 2003 hot dance single "A Toast To Men", featuring guest rapper Lady May, was a testament to her desire to be herself. And though the song was received well, her plans to have it in her sophomore album had to be folded due to some legal issues.
While fans eagerly wait for her next release, Willa has mostly kept herself outside of music. She hosted the first season of the reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter in 2005, landed her first major acting role in the 2007 biographical film Anna Nicole (based on the life of the playboy bunny) and went on to appear in various projects in front of the camera, including The Glades (2011), Magic City (2012), Leverage (2012), The Nurse (2014), and Any Day (2015), among others. In the summer of 2016, Ford made an appearance in a supporting role in the TV movie A Father’s Secret.
Ford and her former husband hockey player Mike Modano married in on August 25, 2007, in Athens, Texas, in a small, private ceremony. They announced their divorce in August 2012. In April 2015, Ford married her second husband, former NFL linebacker Ryan Nece, and on September 7, 2016, Ford gave birth to her first child, a son.
Willa Ford's current net worth is estimated to be around $5,000,000. Her annual income in the year 2014 was around $588,235. Similarly, in the year 2013, she earned around $511,509, while her salary of the year 2012 was 2012 $392,157.