Courtney G. Smith’s story begins in Glenwood, IL on a beautiful spring day in 1978 when she was born to Dr. George W. and Sylvania Smith. When Courtney was 8 years old her family moved to the city of Chicago, where Courtney has been proud to call home. Courtney attended the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago and, upon graduation, headed to Michigan State University (MSU), to pursue a degree in Interpersonal Communication. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Communication in May 2000, Courtney moved back to Chicago to work as a Substitute Teacher for the Chicago Public Schools.
It was while working as a Substitute Teacher that Courtney’s life would ultimately take a dramatic turn. Speech and interpersonal communication have always been crucial to Courtney. In fact, Courtney’s interpersonal skills were what lead her to pursue a degree in Communication. In 2001, Courtney began to notice that her speech would become slurred after speaking for an extended period of time. After resting her mouth for a moment, her speech would improve. Courtney continued about her daily routines assuming these occurrences were anomalies, until one day, Courtney had an experience that would change her health and life forever. While having dinner with some college friends, Courtney’s facial muscles became so weak that she could no longer chew her food or speak without extreme difficulty. Courtney realized immediately that she could no longer ignore the changes that were taking place within her body. The next day she contacted her primary care physician who referred her to a neurologist. After extensive testing, Courtney was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Myasthenia Gravis in April 2001.
Once diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, Courtney found a new passion. She continued to work almost everyday as a Substitute Teacher; however, Courtney now had a new-found desire to pursue work in the health industry to educate and make people aware of autoimmune diseases. After long prayer and thought, Courtney returned to MSU to pursue a Master’s degree in Health Communication during the Fall of 2002. However, before Courtney could pursue her graduate degree, her autoimmune disease caused serious health problems. On September 11, 2001, Courtney underwent surgery to have her thymus gland removed in an attempt to force the Myasthenia Gravis into remission. After two semesters of graduate school and faced with serious health concerns caused by her autoimmune disease, Myasthenia Gravis, Courtney made the tough decision to return home to her roots in Chicago. While back in Chicago, Courtney had not forgotten about her passion to pursue work in the health industry to educate and make people aware of autoimmune diseases. Courtney returned to her work as a Substitute Teacher before she was offered a position as a Compensation Analyst in the Department of Compensation Management within the Chicago Public Schools. Working as an administrator for the Chicago Public Schools proved to be very successful for Courtney. Nine months after being offered the Compensation Analyst position, Courtney was promoted to the position of a Coordinator within Compensation Management.
Although Courtney had a very successful career in the public sector, Courtney still felt the need to do a greater good - to educate and spread awareness of autoimmune diseases. Courtney resigned from her position at the Chicago Public Schools in June 2006 so that she could dedicate the necessary time to produce her documentary. With a lot of thought, prayer and an idea from her mother, this is how Beauty Does Lie: The Untold Stories of Autoimmune Diseases was born. The title was conceived based on one of many comments received by Courtney from people after being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. People with autoimmune diseases often appear “healthy” from outward physical appearances; however, autoimmune diseases cause devastating and debilitating physical and emotional tolls to those they affect which are not often visible to the naked eye.
Beauty Does Lie: The Untold Stories of Autoimmune Diseases explores the lives of seven women living with various forms of autoimmune diseases, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, pernicious anemia and myasthenia gravis. The women explain the emotional and physical difficulties of living with chronic, potentially debilitating autoimmune diseases while dealing with the ignorance and misunderstanding of their diseases they encounter in society due to their healthy outer appearances. In spite of their daily battles with their autoimmune diseases, these women are able to triumph and live fulfilling lives. Beauty Does Lie also features commentary by highly regarded medical professionals in the Chicago community, including rheumatologist Dr. Adrienne Burford Foggs of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL and neurologist Dr. Tonya Fuller of Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, IL. Beauty Does Lie was picked up for distribution in July 2007 by Fanlight Productions, Inc. Beauty Does Lie has also won several awards, including being selected for presentation at the Western Psychological Association Convention and receiving a Merit Award for Video at the National Health Information Awards, both in 2008. Courtney also presented Beauty Does Lie at the 2012 Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America National Conference in Las Vegas, NV.
Courtney is proud to now be distributing Beauty Does Lie through her production company Control Your Auto Productions, Inc. Courtney hopes that by distributing the documentary she can continue to have a positive impact on the lives of people affected by autoimmune diseases.
To obtain a copy of the award-winning documentary, Beauty Does Lie: The Untold Stories of Autoimmune Diseases CLICK HERE
For additional information, please contact Courtney G. Smith at (866) 944-9549 or at