Soho Love Stories: ‘We just slotted into each other’s lives’
From a chance meeting at an exhibition to long evenings getting to know one another at Soho House Austin, Moyo Oyelola and Anna Casey Williams share their story
Tuesday 19 September 2023 By Chloe Lawrance
In our series, Soho Love Stories, we get intimate with our members to bring you the personal tales of those who have found love at the Houses.
For this edition, we meet Soho House Austin members Moyo Oyelola, an artist, creative director and Committee member, and Anna Casey Williams, a communications expert and community activist. The pair, who are set to be married next month, recount their story: from their chance first meeting at a Soho House event to the long evenings spent falling in love on the patio of Soho House Austin.
‘Everything about getting to know one another felt very organic,’ says Williams. ‘We first met at a Soho House event at the George Washington Carver Museum in March 2022, which is an African American museum on the East Side of Austin – a historically Black neighbourhood. After that, I joined Soho House and we found ourselves in the same spaces a lot.’
Oyelola agrees. In fact, for him, meeting Williams felt almost fated. ‘I always said I was sure the woman I was going to marry wasn’t in Austin, but in 2022 I started to really evolve my thinking about that,’ he says. ‘That created a new sense of openness – I said I think this year I’m going to meet the person I want to be with and buy a house with. And then with the opening of Soho House Austin, we started naturally running into one another.’
‘We literally fell in love on the patio of the House,’ Williams remembers with a smile. ‘We’re both pretty religious and were taking things pretty slow. We spent the first three months talking – these five-hour conversations after work, just chatting until we were both almost falling asleep.’ Friends would pass by and ask to join them, but the pair only had eyes for each other. ‘I was able to get to know Moyo’s values and understand what he wanted from life,’ she adds. ‘He set boundaries that showed he prioritised me and our connection.’ Their first kiss cemented that connection: ‘We were basically immediately looking at houses on Zillow after that,’ Williams jokes.
‘It just felt like we slotted into one another’s lives perfectly,’ Williams says. ‘Even down to tiny details – I’m from a family of artists, so when he says, “I’ve got a show I’m standing up”, I know what that means.’ The pair agree that things seemed to just, well, work between them from the get-go. When Oyelola was set to travel to London in June 2022, just a few months after the couple got together, British-born Williams suggested he visited her mum down in Cornwall – and that she would come with him. ‘Moyo says that he knew I was really into him the day that he booked his ticket. I asked, “OK, what’s your seat number? I want to sit next to you for 10 hours”.’
‘Our engagement was something I wanted to be very intentional about,’ says Oyelola. The pair had already decided on a ring – chosen from Nak Armstrong, a jewellery shop right next to the House in Austin. Timing was key for Oyelola – ‘I was like, what’s taking him so long?’, Williams laughs, but the location was a no-brainer. It was the garden of their first home together, which they moved into in November 2022. When the moment arrived in March of this year, things didn’t quite go as Oyelola had planned. ‘We were going away the following day, so when I got home from work, I just sat on a chair on my phone basically ignoring him,’ says Williams. ‘He started constructing all these elaborate ways to get me out into the garden.’
‘In the end I just grabbed her and brought her outside myself,’ Oyelola adds.
‘A lot of our big moments have happened at Soho House,’ says Williams. Oyelola agrees, ‘We’ve found this pool of resources through the House – people that we can really lean on.’ That’s certainly true if the pair’s upcoming October nuptials are anything to go by. ‘Our DJs are Soho House members, we’ve got a few ushers that are Soho House members… It’s become a place for building a community here in Austin,’ says Williams.
Interested in becoming a Soho House member? Apply for membership here.