Real life ‘Coming to America’ as US woman marries actual Ethiopian prince she met in DC nightclub
An American woman became an African princess when she married into the royal family of Ethiopia. She met her future husband at a modern day ‘ball’, echoing memories of Eddie Murphy’s ‘Coming to America’ movie.
Ariana Austin, 33, married 35-year-old lawyer Joel Makonnen, a great-grandson of Haile Selassie I, the last emperor of Ethiopia. The wedding took place in Maryland.
The couple married 12 years after they first met on the dance floor of Washington, DC nightclub Pearl.
Makonnen told the New York Times that he hit on his future bride and her friend using a cheesy pick-up line.
“I said, ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire,’ or whatever the gin was,’ Mr. Makonnen recalled.
Makonnen says he immediately knew he wanted to date Austin.
‘Not even five minutes later I said, ‘You’re going to be my girlfriend,’’ he said.
While Makonnen didn’t immediately tell Austin about his family, the truth about his heritage emerged as they began seriously dating. It’s something that fascinates Austin.
She appears excited to be a part of a family that traces their roots back to the Biblical King Solomon and Queen of Sheba.
‘It’s unbeatable heritage and history,’ Austin said. ‘It combines sheer black power and ancient Christian tradition.’
The two married in September in an elaborate Ethiopian Orthodox Christian wedding involving 13 priests in Temple Hills, Maryland.
The bride and groom both wore crowns and capes in the ceremony, making them look like the true royals they are.
While Austin may not have royal blood in her background, she does come from an African American/Guyanese family with rich histories abroad.
Her maternal grandfather was lord mayor of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana.