Pat Smith is quickly becoming a force in the North Texas fashion scene.
She just launched an online clothing boutique, with the hope of inspiring more women.
Many people may know Pat as the wife of former Dallas Cowboys star Emmitt Smith, but she knows what it's like to face hardships head on.
"I knew how to put on a mask and when I called home pretend that everything was wonderful and when they came to visit make everything look just right, but on the inside I was suffering, I was struggling," she said.
Long before she was married to her Hall of Fame running back husband, Pat was a 23-year-old newlywed to actor Martin Lawrence.
"We were young, didn't know how to communicate well and many times it became very abusive," she said. "I knew something needed to change and I knew that night that it was getting so heated, because people know how to push buttons. I even saw that I was becoming someone that I wasn't raised to be. I remember hearing God's voice for the first time say, 'get one piece of luggage and get your baby and leave.' Checking accounts were closed, credit cards were shut off, I had whatever cash was in my purse at the time."
Pat left for a friend's house.
That friend gave Pat and her 9-month-old daughter, Jasmine, hope.
"We would have ended up in a shelter," Pat recalled.
And now, more than two decades later, Pat is paying it forward through her "Treasure You" foundation, which supports women in need.
Special Education teacher Shera Betts is a recipient of Pat's generosity.
She, too, has faced tough times.
"There's nights you cry. There's nights you don't know if you're going to be able to make it the next day or how your child's going to eat or whatnot, " Betts said. "But because of Pat, it's just changed everything."
Pat's foundation wrote a check to pay for Betts' college.
"I was able to finish my bachelor's [degree], I moved on and got my master's degree," Betts said.
Now, she's teaching at Sam Houston High School in Arlington.
"That was my hope and dream from this," Pat added. "Someone helped me, I helped Shera, and now Shera has a platform to help a multitude of young people."
Pat plans to keep the cycle going.
Every outfit that Pat promotes can be purchased in her new online boutique.
A portion of every dollar spent goes right back to Pat's foundation to help even more women.
Pat doesn't blame Martin Lawrence for all the pain that she and her daughter went through. There were good moments too.
"I remember one time him surprising her at school and picking her up, " Pat said while fighting back tears. "I just remember her face. She had a great father example in the house with Emmitt, but she loves her father."
Their daughter Jasmine is now just weeks away from graduating college.
Pat refuses to let circumstances define her, she uses them as motivation.
Smith shared one of her fashion secrets with NBC 5 Anchor Kris Gutierrez