Groundbreaking Model B. Smith Battling Alzheimer’s At 64

June 6, 2014  |  

You can’t mention iconic African American models without mentioning the name Barbara Smith. Known these days as simply B. Smith, the restaurateur was one of the first Black models to cover fashion mag Mademoiselle before opening her very first restaurant in New York City in 1986, B. Smith’s. Though she’s largely been out of the limelight in recent years, the timeless beauty is one again making headlines, but not for a glamorous reason: She’s opening up about her battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

B. Smith’s diagnosis came about four years ago when she told her doctor she was often repeating things or not answering questions — symptoms of the mentally debilitating disease. She told CBS news of the diagnosis:

“It meant something bad — really bad to me.”

Unable to recall the date, month, or year during her interview, she went on to say, “Things like that make me very sad.”

Last October, B. Smith’s neurologist Dr. Martin Goldstein conducted a special scan on the former model to look for amyloid, a sticky protein that damages nerves and is present in patients with Alzheimer’s, and unfortunately he told CBS: “It’s everywhere.”

Despite the dismal outlook as her symptoms continue to progress, B has a positive outlook, saying:

“I think the future’s going to be fine. 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.”

We’re wishing her the best.

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