Emile Ennis Jr. and AJ Gibson are the viral duo that garnered over 14 million viewers for their wedding content earlier this year.
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For Emile, growing up in Atlanta in an extremely religious family, he never imagined having the courage to come out. “I would sneak and watch shows like ‘Noah’s Arc,’ or I remember watching ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ and Marco was gay,” he shares about finding ways to experience queer culture even if he was afraid to be out in real life.
AJ had a similar experience growing up in Celina, Ohio. “I knew I was gay by around age 7, but I also knew that lifestyle would never be accepted by my community, so I did everything I could to blend in for as long as I could handle it,” he shares. While the eventual sharing of his story has changed the hearts of some people back home, the city still has a long way to go, he says. Despite the lack of representation, Emile and AJ are now pioneers of queer representation in media.
Whether it is as TV hosts, correspondents, or on their podcast, “Confess Your Mess,” Emile and AJ are no strangers to keeping viewers entertained. Now they are giving us an inside look at their wedding, the importance of gay marriage and queer representation in media, and more.
How do you balance the professional ventures you have together with also being partners?
Honestly, it can be challenging at times, but more often than not, it’s very rewarding. The key is communication and making sure we hold space for each other outside of our careers. We are intentional in making sure we commit to romance and date nights, we like to go to the gym together, we have days where we commit to doing nothing career-related, and all those things work for us. It can be a lot to juggle, but when you love someone, you have to put in the effort, or it won’t last. As much as we love our careers, our love for each other always comes first.
What advice would you give to people planning their weddings?
For couples planning a wedding now, we think the best advice would be to stay focused on one another and remember that some factors can’t be controlled. Planning is important, details matter, and the guest experience should be a priority, but none of those things should keep couples from enjoying the process. Planning a wedding can be so frustrating and exciting at the same time, but in the end, it’s so worth it! Not much went the way we planned on our actual wedding day, but looking back, we couldn’t imagine anything other than the beautiful, love-filled series of events that unfolded for all of us in Playa Mujeres, Mexico.
Can you share the importance of having gay marriage represented in media (or even through your social platforms), especially during this time?
Gay marriage, or as we like to call it—marriage—is a beautiful expression of love that should be available to any couple who chooses to take that step. We’ve been fed so many lies about the sanctity of marriage or the importance of celebrating straight marriages that we’ve lost sight of the love that goes into making a marriage successful. We’re always a fan of showcasing love, and when we focus on that part, the rest becomes less difficult to understand. We believe that representation is about showing kids—the next generation— that they matter and that there is a place for them in the world. If there is such a thing as the “gay agenda,” that would be it. As Emile and AJ focus on what’s next, the overwhelming support for their wedding has led to the development of a TV show where they showcase certain types of weddings. “We can’t say much more than that, but stay tuned,” they joke. Truly, they are applying what they cite as the biggest piece of advice they’ve ever received over a decade ago—from their mentor Maureen Browne, one of the top hosting coaches and casting directors in Los Angeles: “Create what you want to see; don’t wait for the opportunity.”
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