Meet The Real Life "Coming To America" Fairy Tale Couple

Prince
Source: Jared Soares for The New York Times

Ladies, imagine going to the club with your girls, having a great time, meeting a great guy, falling in love, and then finding out he is an African prince. No, this isn't the plot to the "Coming to America" sequel (please make a "Coming to America" sequel). This is the true story—the real life fairy tale —of event planner and philanthropist, Ariana Austin and Joel Makonnen, also known as Prince Yoel of Ethiopia.

His Imperial Highness Joel Makonnen is the great-grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie. His lineage dates back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. He was born in Rome, Italy and raised in Switzerland while his parents were in exile. Prince Joel has a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from American University and his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.

Ariana was raised in Washington DC. She attended Fisk University and has a Masters in Arts, Education, and Creative Writing from Harvard University. Ariana is an arts and travel connoisseur and founder and director of French Thomas Creative.

So just how did these two meet? They met on the dance floor at the upscale Pearl club in Washington D.C. in December, 2005. Ariana was out with her friend when H.I.H. approached them. "I said, ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire,’ or whatever the gin was," he told The New York Times. "You don’t expect to meet the person you’re going to marry at Pearl." He went on to say that he then focused on Ariana and said "You’re going to be my girlfriend."

Source: Jared Soares for The New York Times

Within those 12 years, they kept in touch as they pursued their goals and travelled the world individually. Then, they ended up together again in Washington D.C in 2014. The ceremony was held at the Debre Genet Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Temple Hills, MD with a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony.

You never know where or when you will meet your prince or princess. For Joel, he knew it the night he first laid eyes on Ariana. “I think we both had this feeling that this was our destiny,” Ms. Austin said. “But I felt like I had things that I had to do.” They both did. Both are passionate about uplifting and revitalizing the Black community. Combine that passion with genuine love and you a real life fairy tale of black excellence and black love. It's one that we need more of. Talk about all the feel goods!

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