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What Does Oprah Know About the Smiths That You Don't?

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 28/03/2016 Simi Singh Juneja

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If Cookie Lyon found Jesus, she would be Pat Smith. Not really, Pat's a steel Magnolia. I've never heard Pat utter a curse word or manipulate anyone, but what is it about her, like the fictional character, Cookie, that dazzles and slays? Why is Oprah taking note? Pat has a heart and tenacity, with impeccable manners, unlike I have seen in all my travels. She is a rare gem. As a mother to five children, who are now in school and college during the day, Pat is ready to expand her own Empire and live her career dreams.
Tonight, the world gets to see what Oprah and Pat's friends see: a generous, kind spirit with bottle green eyes and self-doubt, who yearns to fully self-realize. This could make her accomplished husband, Emmitt Smith, an NFL legend and business executive, uncomfortable. After 15 years of serving as the rock for him and their children, it's her time now. I can't wait to watch her, her older sister, Pam, and our friend Millicent, on the premiere one-hour special of Mrs. & Mr. Smith, at 10 p.m. on OWN. I'm so excited, because when she rises into her purpose we all rise. She has a tendency to take everyone with her.
Pat was the first African-American woman to win the Miss Virginia USA title and first runner-up of the 1994 Miss USA Pageant. She has dedicated her career to raising awareness about issues affecting women and children and currently serves as the CEO of Pat Smith Enterprises. She is also Founder and CEO of Treasure You™ and Co-Founder of Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities. I have known her since she was in my baby sister's class in high school, and we became closer when she moved to Arizona. Her husband retired from the Dallas, Cowboys and had come to play for the Arizona Cardinals. Did I tell you she is an ordained minister?
I didn't know who Emmitt Smith was until after she married him. To me, he was my friend's sweet husband who I watched tear up when he prayed at dinner time during Thanksgiving, and always opened the car door for cleaning ladies and other women; a Southern gentleman. I didn't realize his impact upon people until we went to a presidential debate and grown Secret Service men morphed into fawning school boys when he entered the arena; a modern day gladiator. He didn't notice. He's still that boy from Pensacola who minds his mother, but I had never seen anything like it. Even for the president. Imagine being married to one of the most admired men in America. It's definitely something you have to navigate in a marriage.
While Emmitt loves Pat and what she does for their family, he doesn't always recognize that she has triggers around being a plus one. She is ready for a new challenge and to kick her life into a higher gear. Now it's time for her to step away from the sidelines and pursue her own passions and career. But will Emmitt follow his wife as she pursues her dreams?
In a world where we glorify sports heroes as modern day gladiators, Emmitt himself will tell you, working mothers are unsung superheroes worthy of a voice and a platform. Pat treasures them and lifts them up. She possesses a unique point of view and compassion that is inspiring and vulnerable. You want to watch her. You want to hear her story because she is a leader. She creates a village wherever she goes, of friendship and connection. She is aspirational for women, meaning women see how she is a steward of her life and as a result aspire to be better.
I laugh inside when people become awestruck by her looks, because if they only knew how down to earth, inclusive and brilliant she is, they would understand that she is still the same person in braids, from Chesapeake, I came to love many years ago. You are going to fall in love with her too.
I can't wait to watch the show tonight. Now it's Pat's turn to run with the ball. You can see a preview here.

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