Restaurant owner, designer, decorator and model B. Smith has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, reports CBS News, which sat down with Smith in an interview set to air later this month. During the interview, Smith, the first African-American model to be featured on the cover of Mademoiselle, couldn’t recall the date, month or year.
“Things like that make me very sad,” she told CBS News, and when asked what her diagnosis meant to her, Smith said, “It meant something bad—really bad to me.”
B. Smith, born Barbara Smith, took the modeling world by storm. She would appear on the cover of some 15 magazines by 1976. In 1986 she would switch gears to own and operate B. Smith restaurant in New York City. Two more restaurants followed. She would also write books, host a TV program and develop a home collection that retailed at Bed Bath & Beyond.
The New York Times has hailed her as a “Renaissance woman.”
According to CBS News, Smith began noticing symptoms about four years ago. She saw her doctor, who recommended they do some more testing. After visiting with a team of experts at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, including a neurologist, it was suggested that Smith have a special scan done to see if there were signs of a sticky protein called amyloid, which is commonly found in patients who have Alzheimer’s.
“It’s everywhere,” neurologist Dr. Martin Goldstein told CBS News after reviewing the scan.
Smith’s husband and business partner of 22 years, Dan Gasby, have vowed to continue this fight together.
“I think the future’s going to be fine,” Smith said. “I’m going to do my best to make it work out for me, and for as many people that I can possibly help, too.”
Read more at CBS News.