How They Met 2014

Twin Cities couples on the moment they found love


CHRISTOPHER STRAUB AND RONNIE COOPER met almost decade ago on a hot summer day in Loring Park, years before Christopher rocked his fashion expertise on the wildly popular Project Runway. Since then, Christopher and Ronnie, a service engineer, have been together, and they were the first couple in Scott County to file for marriage after it became legal in 2013.

Ronnie: Well, it was on the day the light rail was supposed to open, and so I tried to ride the light rail, but it was full. I ended up going to the park — it was Pride at Loring Park... let's see, so the light rail was full, and I went to the park and then that's where I saw Christopher.

Christopher: I was just there with some friends running around the park during Pride, and then I just came across him... or I saw him, and then just kept walking because I'm not the type of person that would really... I don't approach anybody. That's not my thing at all. I was with a bunch of friends and then I was like, "I gotta go find that guy!" I remember he was wearing a yellow backpack. I separated myself from my friends and ran around looking for this guy with the yellow backpack, and I gave up and went to go watch some friends play volleyball. He just happened to be there, and so [we] made a quick introduction and exchanged phone numbers and then we went out the next night to the Spaghetti Factory?

Ronnie: Classy.

Christopher: You know, for a nice $6 dinner.... [laughs] And then here we are almost 10 years later. We ended up having a commitment ceremony in 2006, and then got legally married August 17, 2013. Right after it was legal. It's kind of an unceremonious meeting. You know, in the park, just sort of happenstance or chance pulling us together. That was it. It was pretty easy. Once I got his number all I wanted to do was talk to him and you know, I've never dated anybody since. Obviously. —Tatiana Craine


THERE'S NO DISPUTE: Frank Vascellaro and Amelia Santaniello are the cutest couple on local television. For almost eight years, they've anchored the WCCO nightly newscasts while juggling raising three children in Minneapolis. In 1996, they were working for competing stations. Amelia was involved in a long-distance relationship, though a friend urged her to meet Frank at a media charity event.

Amelia: It was the first time I'd laid eyes on him in person, and let me tell you: When you walked in, I was like, "Wow!"

Frank: That is so hot.

Amelia: But the big thing was when I started talking to you, you turned out to be a really nice guy.

Frank: Being the brave soul that I am, I was with a buddy of mine, J.R. Mahon — red-haired, short, Irish New Yorker who acted every bit of a red-haired, short, Irish New Yorker. He talked to Amelia and came back with a little reconnaissance report and said, "I think she seems like a good person."

Amelia: I love J.R. I can't remember what he was saying, but I was like, "Who is this guy?"

Frank: My first reaction was, "Wow! She's really pretty." And the great thing about our conversation, I remember, it was 5 percent about TV and 95 percent about our families and life. I was so excited after that night. I didn't know about the long-distance boyfriend. That actually didn't come up in the initial conversation.

Amelia: I broke it off with him, because I knew it wasn't going to work out. In all my years of dating, I didn't want to get married or anything, but after that night I was like, "I think [Frank] is the one."

Frank: It was a brilliant decision. —Jesse Marx


TAWNYA "SWEETPEA" KONOBECK is a burlesque performer, and also works as a personal trainer and lifestyle coach. Denise "Seven" Bailey is a welding instructor and metal fabricator who does custom art installations. The two were engaged last year during the Pride Parade when Seven proposed on the float for Grown and Sexy, one of Sweetpea's productions.

Sweetpea: We met at the Town House Bar in St. Paul. It was May the 7th of 2011. I was there doing a drag show, in a show with all men dressed as women. I was the only biological woman.

Seven: You were extra draggy.

Sweetpea: I was super draggy that night. So in waiting to go on, I was standing in this little holding area and I noticed this gorgeous person playing pool with some friends of hers. When I first noticed her, I thought she was a he, because she was looking very androgynous that night.

Seven: I had noticed Pea because it was this little drag queen in my mind that had been all over the Town House and I would notice that I would look over my shoulder and she'd be looking my way and smiling.

Sweetpea: It wasn't until she turned sideways and I saw a side profile and noticed that she actually had breasts that I about fell over because I realized that it was a woman. I think I actually exclaimed out loud, and some friends were standing next to me. Then as soon as I walked away to probably go change costumes, the little shits went up and approached Seven.

« Previous Page
Next Page »