Magazine's 'Will You Marry Me?' Winners Share Love Secrets

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Essence Magazine has given one lucky couple a fantastic Valentine’s Day. Gabriel Sheffield and Jasmine Harris are the winners of the magazine’s fourth annual “Will You Marry Me?” contest, and Essence will pay for their dream wedding and honeymoon. They both talk to host Michel Martin about their love story, winning the contest, and their Valentine’s Day plans.


Well, we just heard of some people who are finding some potholes on the paths to true love, but the fact is there are many couples who have found a smoother road. One such couple is here with us now. Gabriel Sheffield and Jasmine Harris are the winners of Essence Magazines fourth annual will you marry me contest. Essence readers selected them over hundreds of other couples to win an array of gifts, including a customized dress, a special cake, and $10,000 toward wedding essentials, and Gabriel and Jasmine are with us now. Welcome, congratulations.

Mr. GABRIEL SHEFFIELD: How are you doing? Thanks for having us.

Ms. JASMINE HARRIS: Hey, thanks Michel.

MARTIN: Well, that was exciting. You just learned that you won?

Ms. HARRIS: Oh, yes

Mr. SHEFFIELD: Absolutely.

Ms. HARRIS: wonderful.

MARTIN: Exciting. So

Mr. SHEFFIELD: Dream come true.

MARTIN: So, Gabriel, was it your decision to enter the contest? Do I have that right?


MARTIN: What made you want to enter?

Mr. SHEFFIELD: Well, I entered the Essence Magazine contest because I just wanted the world to see how much love I have for Jasmine. The different heights that I go to just to make sure she is happy. And I figured what a better way to do it than do it in one of the top magazines in America, Essence Magazine.

MARTIN: Jasmine, was that a surprise that Gabriel entered?

Ms. HARRIS: Yes. It definitely was a surprise and a wonderful surprise at that. Not only that he was proposing, but that he did it through the pages of the Essence Magazine.

MARTIN: Essence is, of course, as you well know, is oriented toward African-American women and men. It has eight million readers and Im wondering, I dont know if you heard some of our previous conversation, theres a lot of conversation, particularly in black-oriented media, but in others and there has been for sometime about the state of relationships between black men and women. And Im wondering Gabriel, did you feel in part you were making a statement by kind of not just proposing to Jasmine, but wanting to share it with the world as it were. Do you think that thats part of it?

Mr. SHEFFIELD: (Unintelligible) show all the young men that, you know, love still exists. (Unintelligible) make a girl happy, you know, propose it in front of the world and to a wonderful lady. Love still out there for us.

MARTIN: Jasmine, what about you? Do you feel any, I dont know, sort of extra -I mean, obviously getting a customized dress and a beautiful cake is - its nice with some money to help out with wedding expenses. Its nice, but do you feel that theres an additional dimension to kind of sharing your love with the world as it were?

Ms. HARRIS: Yes. I do think theres an extra dimension there because of our age, and because of the state of the black community right now and the black women saying that they cant find black men, I just feel like its a upper hand to all the (unintelligible) woman, especially that there is someone out there for you. You just have to wait, like God says, and he will come to you. And I guess that Gabe and I are actually a testament to that.

MARTIN: Well, you didnt have to wait very long. Youre, what is it, 26?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. HARRIS: Twenty-five.

MARTIN: Twenty-five, that you didn't have to wait for - all right, so Gabrielle, tell us, who liked who first? Who noticed who first?

Mr. SHEFFIELD: Well, I actually think Jasmine liked me first.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Oh, okay.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Jasmine, you want to second serve that? I want to mention that you met at a company happy hour at Lockheed Martin where you both are you both still working at Lockheed Martin?


Ms. HARRIS: Yes, we are.

MARTIN: Okay. And you met at a company happy hour. So folks, who want to skip those happy hours, maybe you want to rethink that strategy. So, Jasmine, is that true, did you like him first? Did you notice him first?

Ms. HARRIS: Yeah, I think only because I saw him first when he walked through the door, but otherwise I think it would have been the other way around.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHEFFIELD: Probably so. Shes a gorgeous lady.

MARTIN: Okay. So, Gabriel, what do you like about Jasmine?

Mr. SHEFFIELD: I love everything about her, her smile. Shes a family person, so am I. And she is very studious. Shes a very smart young lady. And thats what drives me about her.

MARTIN: How did you know she was the one?

Mr. SHEFFIELD: Actually, it was one night shes watching a movie and she was asleep on a couch. And at that very moment, a sound came to me and said like, hey, you know, look at this woman. This is her. This is the one for you.


(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Jasmine, what about you? How did you know Gabriel was the one?

Ms. HARRIS: Honestly, I fell in love with him very early on, but I was more ensured that he was the one when he met my father and my brother. And they usually give guys a hard time, but they just kind of welcomed him in. And it was kind of a strange feeling to see them, like, oh, hes part of the family already. I am like, hmm, thats interesting. So, I just took it from there that it was just meant to be.

MARTIN: What - Jasmine, what advice would you have for those who say, I dont know, I cant find anybody good out there? Theres no good guys out there? What would you say?

Ms. HARRIS: I would say love yourself first and thats the beginning of anything, that you have to love yourself in order for anyone else to love you. And stop saying that there is not men out there because you could have already pass up the one that was for you while youre sitting there and saying that there is not anyone out there. Just keep waiting and be patience.

MARTIN: Okay. Gabriel, what about Valentines Day? Any special plans maybe you feel youve already given at the office as it were, it just came out...

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: ...because you represented this winning proposal that obviously captured the hearts of Essence readers. But any special plans for Valentines Day that you can share with us? Give the guys some hint who may not have come up with anything.

Mr. SHEFFIELD: Well, I had nothing really planned out. (Unintelligible) segment I told her, you know, Happy Valentines Day.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHEFFIELD: But nothing big. I might probably carry out a nice dinner, you know, and celebrate just wining the contest.

MARTIN: Okay. Well, congratulations to you both. Have you set a date yet?

Mr. SHEFFIELD: May 2011.

MARTIN: May 2011. Okay, plenty of time to plan.

Mr. SHEFFIELD: Yeah, definitely.

Ms. HARRIS: Yeah.

MARTIN: All right. Gabriel Sheffield and Jasmine Harris are the winners of the fourth annual Will You Marry Me Contest from Essence magazine. They were kind enough to join us from our bureau in New York. You can find out more about Jasmine and Gabriel and the contest at our Web site, just go to, click on programs, then on TELL ME MORE. Congratulations and best wishes to you once again.

Mr. SHEFFIELD: All right, thank you so much.

Ms. HARRIS: Thank you, Michel.

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