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Cover model Courtney Lynn Smits welcomes Monte Durham of "Say Yes to the Dress" to McDonough

McDONOUGH — Courtney Lynn Smits may not be ready to “say yes to the dress,” but the teenage model is ready for her first high-profile magazine cover.

Smits is featured with Monte Durham, from the TLC series “Say Yes to The Dress Atlanta,” on the cover of the inaugural bridal edition of Gladys Magazine.

Durham will join Smits in downtown McDonough April 27 for the unveiling of the special edition at Winsor Gallery.

Gladys Magazine is described as “a luxury lifestyle magazine,” that “hopes to inspire its readers by featuring the finest in haute couture, jewelry, celebrity and exclusive events.” The magazine was named in honor of Gladys, the mother of editor-in-chief Andrea Patrick Forte.

While Smits said she is excited about her first magazine cover, she is no novice to being in front of the camera.

Crowned 2012 Miss Georgia Teen USA, she began competing in pageants at 7 and has competed and modeled ever since.

Smits has graced the pages of Gladys several times since she was 11, but this is her first cover. Being featured in their premier bridal edition with Durham makes it even more special, she said.

“He is wonderful,” said Smits. “Monte is a pleasure to work with, funny and just great to be around.”

Still going to school at Union Grove High School, Smits balances academics, modeling and her other passion — the U.S. military.

“It is not always easy, but I am serious about school and know that has to be a priority right now,” she said.

In fact, she turned down a modeling assignment because of school testing.

Smits signed a contract with Click Management and has offers pouring in.

“It can be hard to say no,” she said.

During Fashion Week, she works for Apparel Mart and said being in the modeling industry has been an eye-opening experience.

“It is just not like what I imagined or like the horror stories I had heard,” she said. “I mean I know there are people who are not nice and who do things they shouldn’t, but everyone I have been around is great and other models have been so nice to me and supportive.”

Smits said being able to travel and meet such a diversity of people has been one of the greatest rewards of her modeling career.

“Just think about it, I know at least two girls from every state in the United States,” she said, reflecting on her national pageant experiences.

While she has lofty goals in modeling — dreaming of landing a Vogue cover one day — she may find herself in the Army.

Smits comes from a family with a rich military legacy. She remains actively involved in NJROTC at Union Grove and plans to pursue a military career alongside her modeling career. She was quick to say that her NJROTC comrades are all very close, look out for one another and have been a tremendous source of support in her endeavors.

Her mother, Molly, who is actively involved in community service in Henry County, helped instill many of those values at an early age. Molly Smits served in military intelligence and now continues as a civilian to work closely with the military. Her father served in Special Forces. He brother is also pursing a military career.

At the age of 10, Courtney Smits started the Queens For Courage campaign, working with Wounded Warriors to raise money, awareness and support for wounded members of the military and their families.

The Gladys Magazine bridal edition launch event at the Winsor Gallery next weekend will begin with a meet and greet including an opportunity for autographs and photographs with Smits and Durham.

Copies of Gladys Magazine will be available and the cover shot will be on display. Smits said the dramatic photograph was part of shoot at Mansions on 5th in Pittsburgh, not far from where she has spent many summers on a family farm.

The launch party takes place April 27 from 4 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The Winsor Gallery is at 34 Macon St. in McDonough. In addition to the Winsor Gallery, event sponsors include Southern Square Bridal and McDonough Arts.

Miss Geranium Festival to benefit military heroes

McDONOUGH — Queens for Courage and former Miss Georgia Teen USA Courtney Lynn Smits are calling for entries in the 6th Annual Miss McDonough Geranium Festival Pageant.

The event will be held in conjunction with McDonough’s annual festival and is set for May 11 at the Jason Harper Event Center at Heritage Park, located on Lake Dow Road.

This pageant is a fundraiser for Queens For Courage.

All money is donated to the American Legion Heroes To Hometowns Program.

There are nine age divisions ranging from infants to 22 and older.

Entries are being accepted through May 9.

Entry forms and fees, and payment and additional information can be gotten by contacting director Molly Smits 678-592-3232 or emailing molly.smits2010@gmail.com

Registration and check-in the day of the event will begin at 10:30 a.m.

The pageant will begin at noon.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 12 to 4.