The Inspiring Women of North Carolina: Michelle Smith

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Michelle Smith photography by Terrence Jones.

Michelle Smith is a Licensed Realtor, Owner of Society Real Estate, Land Developer, Attorney, and Founder of Models for Charity. She is also a wife, mother of two boys, and proud pet owner of one dog, two cats, and a bearded dragon. To say she’s busy is an understatement! In my interview with Michelle, I got to learn a little more about her background and what makes her tick:

Michelle Smith first attended East Carolina University to study mental health and substance abuse. She always had a passion for understanding people and how they choose to deal with their emotions. For several years she worked as a therapist in Raleigh, before making the decision to go back to school and change career fields!

Carly: How did you make the decision to go back to school?

Michelle: I was trying to decide between getting a Ph.D. in mental health or something else altogether when (believe it or not) I saw an article in a fashion magazine that rated the top 5 careers to go back to school for. Law was one of the top choices.

C: Was it scary changing career paths?

M: Scary? Yes, for sure. It was also super exciting though.

After Michelle finished law school, she worked as an attorney for about two years until opening up her own practice. She had just gone through a divorce and needed to care for her 6-month-old son. Instead of crumbling in the face of adversity, Michelle pushed forward. She says, “I knew going to work for a big firm would mean insane hours per week and possibly losing custody of my son. It wasn’t an option for me so I opened my own firm.”

C: You later became a licensed realtor as well! Why?

M: A friend of mine had suggested I get my license so that he could pay me for referrals as I have lived in the Triangle pretty much my entire life. I am not one to spend time getting certified/licensed in something and then not use that skill so I followed his suggestion but actually started practicing as a broker and found that I loved it more than anything else I have ever done!!

C: Has it been difficult for you to juggle all your different interests? How do you do it?

M: I still don’t know exactly how I do all the things - I definitely like to stay busy. I have a lot of support from friends and family which certainly helps!

However, Michelle Smith’s biggest accomplishment is Models for Charity. Fashion and modeling had always played a large role in Michelle’s life. As a teenager, she even modeled some on her own and would donate any money made from paid modeling work back into the community.

Models for Charity is an organization of professional men and women in the Triangle who raise money for local non-profits. Her team consists of local business owners and entrepreneurs who share a common goal of using their modelings talents to benefit Triangle non-profits that need help. They have modeled at fashion shows, charitable events, trade shows, and so much more. The CW22 first heard about Models for Charity at The NC Museum of History in 2016!

They have worked with non-profit organizations such as The SPCA of Wake County, Habitat for Humanity, and Triangle Family Services. Additionally, each Model that participates in any paid event has agreed to donate at least 25% of the income earned at that event to a local non-profit with the tax benefit going to the employer hiring the model.

C: How do you keep balance in your life?

M: Who says I do? JK! It is a constant effort of doing “all the things” while meditating, exercise, eating a reasonable diet, spending time with people I love, getting outside.

C: What advice would you give to other ambitious women?

M: Keep pushing because it is never easy but worth the hard work but also take care of your mental health because it is easy to lose sight of what is important.

Michelle Smith is an inspiring example of letting go of fear and chasing your dreams! She holds numerous titles and positions while also maintaining a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. Additionally, she has found the time to give back to the community through Models for Charity. I predict that this is only the beginning for Michelle Smith and there will be many more adventures in her future.

You can follow Michelle on Instagram at "@mcsmithed" and Models for Charity on Instagram at "@mfcraleigh".