When Evan Real, 29, met Brian Murray, 27, it was a match made in heaven . . . online. That said, it was years before dating apps gained popularity: In 2011, the two Marymount Manhattan College℠ students met via Facebook®.
“It was when you would Facebook-friend everybody at your college — people that you didn't really know,” explains Murray, a digital associate producer at Hearst® Magazines, who is originally from Buffalo, New York. “We never poked — poking was a thing — but we would ‘like’ each other’s statuses, and we both vividly remember making statuses knowing it was a good status if the other liked it.”
Real, who is an entertainment editor, was (fittingly) crafting clickbait-y text about pop divas, even before his pop culture career took off. “I would make Facebook statuses that were tailored to Brian’s specific interests — what I could gather from social media-stalking him,” says the Wilmington, North Carolina native. “I put together that he liked Mandy Moore, and that he liked Diet Coke®.”
Ultimately, his curious captions about cola worked. Murray messaged Real on New Year’s Eve 2011, and they had their first date on January 3, 2012 at a Mexican restaurant on the Upper East Side. “We were both wearing the same white-gray acid wash Urban Outfitters® jeans,” recalls Real. “From our hideous tastes in jeans to the way he pounded back chips and salsa, I just knew from the beginning that it was meant to be,” he quips.
Since then, the two have moved together from New York to Los Angeles, then back to Manhattan, where they live together in an apartment, which they’ve decorated with a different early 2000s diva (more on this later!). Eight years later, the couple still bonds over their love for everything from live concerts to facemasks and The Real Housewives®. Here, they share their grooming regimens, treatments they love, and how they typically celebrate Pride every June.
Spotlyte: How do you guys typically celebrate Pride?
ER: Because I'm in media, we get to go to a lot of really cool events. I feel really lucky. During June we're booked and busy. We [typically] go to all the fun things: whatever concert, or Pride event, or RuPaul's Drag Race® thing there is going on — we're definitely there.
BM: It's fun because I get to tag along and be the plus one. We've been fortunate in terms of getting to go to parties and stuff like that. I love walking the parade. I did it in college and loved it. Two years ago, we walked. We always try to find a friend who has a company that allows people who aren't in the company to do it.
ER: It sounds cheesy, but when you're walking in it, and you're seeing everyone there, it's kind of emotional. It's also a great situation to show off a dope spray tan.
Spotlyte: How will you be celebrating pride this year?
ER: Since we'll most likely still be stuck inside during Pride Month, we sadly won't be able to celebrate like we would have pre-corona. But Brian's birthday falls on June 16, so we will definitely make that day as gay and rainbow-filled as possible to make up for having to miss out on all the events this year. And we're looking forward to all the Pride-themed Instagram Live events, so we can still celebrate at home.
Spotlyte: What did you two bond over early on?
Evan Real: Aside from stuffing our faces and making questionable fashion choices, we both love music. I remember the first conversation, he appreciated all the pop divas that I love so much. I was like, “Oh my God, you understand and appreciate Britney Spears. This is going to work.” We go to a lot of concerts together. Actually, that's probably our favorite thing that we do together.
Spotlyte: Besides Britney Spears concerts, what other shows have you seen together?
Brian Murray: We love big arena shows. We've pissed a lot of money away. We're always down for a Terminal 5® or The Bowery Ballroom® type thing, but we love the big spectacle. We've literally seen them all, from Selena Gomez, to...
ER: Gaga, Beyonce, we've seen Beyoncé so many times. We went to London for the Spice Girls last year, which was so much fun. I know we spend way too much money on concerts, but Brian is so good at finding the best seats.
Spotlyte: How else have music and, specifically Britney, impacted your relationship?
ER: I love Britney in an unconditional way that Brian respects. I don't think that he loves Britney the same way that I do. He loves her by proxy — appreciates her, respects her, and understands how she has shifted culture and impacted every pop girl who has ever walked this earth. But he's very supportive of my love for Britney, and when we first moved into our apartment in New York four years ago, he totally surprised me. I came home and our living room just had these four gorgeous black and white portraits of Britney hanging on the wall. I could not believe it and I was almost in tears. I was like, “Brian, you are just perfection.”
BM: It was done in a very tasteful way.
Spotlyte: We’ve heard that the Britney theme has migrated to your closet as well.
ER: Brian has this obsession and talent for finding vintage concert tees — I'm just the recipient of that talent. My collection of vintage Britney concert tees that he has found for me is so extensive. Practically every single month, he surprises me with a new one — I'm so lucky.
BM: I love surprises. I love being able to find them for a deal on eBay® in the right sizes, and also making sure they're real vintage that were sold at the concert. It's an addiction of mine that he benefits from. I love searching for and finding the rare gems of concert tees that exist in the world.
Spotlyte: Beyond surprise gifts, how do you balance each other out?
ER: Brian is very organized. He's very clean and wonderfully anal in a way that I'm not. He helps keep me in line when it comes to folding my clothes, or making the bed, or doing the dishes. I have benefited from that part of Brian. I'm definitely a lot more dreamy and idealistic, and he is very pragmatic and practical, and thinks about what's actually going to happen.
BM: Evan's very “whatever way the wind blows,” which is fun, and very spontaneous, and very big picture-oriented. I'm more realistic. He'll think of an idea, and I'll be like, "Well, that can't work because of this." And, he'll be like, "Well, let's make it work." It's a fun balance.
Spotlyte: Evan, you like astrology — does it factor into your relationship?
ER: I'm really into astrology. I've gotten into astrology within the last two years. We're both air signs, so that's why it works. I'm an Aquarius. He's a Gemini. According to a lot of what I read, we're the most compatible match within all of the Zodiac. If you're with your same element, they say it's going to work somehow.
BM: Evan loves dissecting my actions. If I do something not out of the ordinary, he'll be like, "That is so Gemini of you." Or, "That is so your rising." And I'm like, “Dear Jesus.”
Spotlyte: In addition to your distinct personality traits: how do you two differ in terms of grooming treatments?
ER: Brian naturally tans very well, so a spray tan looks absolutely phenomenal on him. He looks so dewy and glowy, and it makes his sparkling, bright blue eyes sparkle even harder. If I looked a percentage of the way Brian looked in a spray tan, I would be getting sprayed every day . . . and I get sprayed pretty much every week. Being a ginger, it helps me in ways that are hard to describe, but if I had Brian's coloring, dude, I would be so tan all the time.
BM: I'm not so obsessed with the spray tans. I don't like waiting around for eight hours in the gooey spray. I don't like ruining clothes. I hate the way it feels. I just would rather not. I have done it, and it's fun when you're going on vacation, but no need to do it in the middle of January just to look tan.
Spotlyte: Do you guys have similar tastes in any grooming products?
BM: One regimen we do pretty much daily would be “K-Beauty” face masks. It's the way we wind down at night. We do a face mask and sit there, and it says to leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, but we usually just do it for an episode of The [Real] Housewives. We go to this place in New York City’s Koreatown called BESFREN [Beauty]®. We buy a lot at once — boxes of 10 packs — so we probably go once a month.
ER: They have everything under the sun K-Beauty. We've tried literally every single face mask, and I'm always asking the workers, "What's going to make me look [the smoothest]?" They have great deals all the time. If we're getting eye masks, too, we may spend $60, $70. Last time, I was like, "What are your favorite eye masks?" The girl was like, "Oh, these ones have diamonds infused in them." I was like, "Sold." My big gay eyes just got so wide. I was like, "Yes. Diamonds on my face. Absolutely."
Spotlyte: What other regimens are you into?
ER: Brian is very religious about his hair supplements.
BM: My receding hairline is the only thing, beauty-wise, that I am insecure about. It's only in the corners, on the sides. It has slowly been receding. When looking at my dad, my family always jokes, “Oh my God, your hair is receding more and more.” My boss introduced me to Hims®. I started it, and when I came home for Christmas, my sister — who works in the hair industry — said, "Okay, what are you doing? It actually looks fuller, like it's growing back." So, I will say, a beauty thing that I am more obsessed with is definitely hair growth, making sure I take those vitamins and supplements, and use the shampoo.
Spotlyte: How do you organize your grooming products?
ER: We pretty much share the same Dopp Kit®. Even though I'm more into it, Brian is organized, so he’s the one who has assembled it. He makes sure that everything is nice and taken care of. He actually bought me a Britney Dopp kit — I use it strictly for all my bronzing materials.
Spotlyte: Injectables are often a topic of conversation in relationships. Are they in yours?
BM: Evan loves his injectable wrinkle reducer results.
ER: I don't try to convince Brian to do it. He honestly doesn't need it.
Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you.
Spotlyte: What are your morning skincare routines?
ER: In the morning, A'Pieu® Deep Foam Cleanser, then Earth to SkinTM Super FruitsTM Brightening Citrus Day Cream. I use Kiehl’s® Age DefenderTM Eye Repair. Next is Tatcha® The Silk CanvasTM, Benefit® Hoola® Matte Bronzing Powder, and Morphe® Continuous Setting Mist.
BM: I'll wash my face with Kiehl's Facial Fuel® Energizing Face Wash. Then Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30, a daytime moisturizer with SPF in it.
Spotlyte: What are your evening skincare routines?
ER: A'Pieu Deep Foam Cleanser, EverydazeTM Diamond DropTM Hydrogel Eye Patches, Leaders Mediu® Amino Moisture Mask, Power 10TM Formula Syn®-Ake Serum, Kiehl’s Age Defender Eye Repair, and Laneige® Water BankTM Moisture Cream.
BM: Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash, Everydaze Diamond Drop Hydrogel Eye Patches, Leaders Mediu Amino Moisture Mask, [Dear], Klairs® Facial Toner, and Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream.
Spotlyte: Do you each have mantras?
ER: I'm an Aries moon and a Virgo rising, so I'm very susceptible to worrying a lot. Everything that goes wrong immediately turns into a state of emergency, whereas Brian is so calm. Brian taught me the power of saying, “Worrying solves nothing.”
BM: From the beginning, we were five months in, he was possibly going to go away for the summer for an internship and we were like, “Do we keep this going? Like, what's going to happen?” Our little mantra was, “Everything's going to be okay.” Since then, we just always say that.
Spotlyte: Do you find these mantras apply to your careers, as well?
ER: In the entertainment industry, I feel like it’s easy to always worry about being successful, or not doing enough, or just making it to the top, and feeling like there's so much competition out there. I recently watched a Jessica Simpson interview, during which she was promoting her new book — she said this quote when asked about her rivalry with Britney and Christina [that really resonated with me]. She, of course, emerged as this billionaire designer. The interviewer was asking her, “Is there room at the top for everyone?” And she was like, “Of course there's room at the top for everyone. Think of all the people who've made it into heaven.” I've been thinking about that recently.
BM: I thought that was so cute. There's room at the top for everyone. I love reminding myself that. We all can make it, and we'll make it.
Read more relationship, beauty, and aesthetics content:
- This Male Beauty Influencer Power Couple Will Make You Believe In Soulmates & Bold Brows
- I Wasn’t Nervous For My First Injectable Wrinkle Reducers Treatment — I Was Nervous to Tell My Spouse
- Should You Get Injectables on Date Night? These Couples Think So
Allergan® may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this article.