Fashion maven-turned-restaurateur B. Smith has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Smith, 64, first noticed something was wrong when she found herself forgetting details and regularly repeating herself, the entrepreneur explains in an interview with CBS News airing Friday. A brain scan confirmed what her doctors suspected: B. has Alzheimer’s.
Her condition has become progressively worse since that initial diagnosis. During her interview with CBS, Smith didn’t struggled to pinpoint the day, month and year.
“Things like that make me very sad.”
With her business partner and husband of 22 years, Dan Gasby, by her side, Smith says she’s trying to stay optimistic about her prognosis.
“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.”
B.’s always been a trailblazer. As a model in the 1970s, she became one of the first African-American fashionistas to land the cover of Mademoiselle magazine.
When her career on the catwalk ended, B. turned her love of all things domestic into a home/lifestyle empire. Dubbed “The Black Martha Stewart,” she opened her flagship soul food restaurant in New York City in 1986. Two more B. Smith’s locations would follow; including one in Washington’s Union Station that closed in 2013. B.’s recipes and tips and tricks on design, decorating and gardening were featured on TV series B. Smith with Style.