Beautiful Minds: Dwan Smith-Fortier
Dwan Smith-Fortier, 70, has always felt the most comfortable being in front of an audience. Even as a small child, so small she had to stand on a box, she delivered Christmas recitations in church with a power and a voice beyond her years.
She began acting after transferring to California as an employee for IBM. While in California she auditioned for small plays and commercials landing many roles. After getting signed by major agents she starred in the movie Sparkle, General Hospital, and many other productions.
Dwan went on to act for over 30 more years before her life was changed in 2004 when her husband suffered a massive stroke. She became her husband's caregiver while he recovered for the next six years.
In healing her husband, Dwan feared that she was losing her voice and sense of direction. Despite that fear, she remained optimistic crediting her art for helping her to see her husband’s path and to be honest with her emotions. She found her voice again while writing for her one woman show, Junk from my Trunk…a Caregiver Story, opening early this summer.
A Burbank Senior Artist Colony resident, an art inspired independent living community, Dwan had no idea she was a “senior”, as she says, “There is a difference between aging and getting old and I ain’t gon’ never get old!”
At the artist colony she is inspired by others with young spirits like hers. She is learning that “the age associated with your being has nothing to do with the clock in your spirit and mind”. There Dwan also directs local plays and is working on several scripts.
For others who are hoping to live a long and productive life, Dwan says, “Create a legacy by constantly creating something, leaving things better that they were before you. Release any bitterness or anxieties you may have. Treasure every minute.”
She also credits exercise and eating right for her youthful lifestyle. “I want to look good every time I walk out. I love being glamourous. I still wear my heels!”