Captivating Couples: Meet The Couples Who Stole Our Hearts This Year

GO’s annual celebration of inspiring partnerships in love and life.

Photo by Hailey Ummel and Paula Berkenstadt

NIA & NESS — Brooklyn, NY
Nia Shand, Dancer-Poet Performance Art Duo Called Nia & Ness
Ness White, Dancer-Poet Performance Art Duo Called Nia & Ness

Nia and Ness met on the dating app Plenty of Fish in March 2013 while they were both students at Temple University. Nia invited Ness, or Ness invited herself (depending on who you ask) to Nia’s upcoming dance show. Ness fell in love with Nia’s dancing, and they had a lovely night together after talking and reading poetry.

The secret to their relationship’s success is communication and compromise, though their relationship isn’t without its challenges. “Our biggest challenge is ongoing — it is the fact that we are Black, lesbian women who are in a committed, out relationship. What we deal with from the outside world on a daily basis is something we have to constantly work through and with (prolonged stares, head shakes, verbal and physical harassment, etc., during transit). There is no overcoming it, per se, just consistent check-ins with each other and support between us.”

Nia’s favorite thing about Ness is her thirst for knowledge. Ness’s favorite thing about Nia is the way she genuinely cares about people. In five years, they would like to be living upstate, practicing their art, and in a happy and healthy marriage, where they continue to grow with and learn more about one another.


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