Ever since Wendy Joseph and Dan Hennessey started dating in college, their relationship had its fair share of ups and downs. But one day when Wendy decided to share a post about their relationship on social media, she never expected it to go viral, and was a little confused as to why she was receiving all of this newfound fame. Those questions were soon answered when this fitness couple started scrolling through the comments.
Like most girls who are off to college, Wendy Joseph was looking forward to what was to come during what would be some of the most formative years of her life. Wendy was born in Haiti, but had spent most of her life in New Jersey, and was off to college not too far away from her hometown.
She was staying in the state to study public healthcare at Montclair State University. Everything seemed pretty standard, but that would soon be far from true. Soon enough, she’d come into contact with a young man who’d have a big part in her future. However, this seemingly typical “girl-meets-boy” story would take a dramatic turn with just one social media post.
The year was 2006, and Facebook had only been around for about two years. The entire social media site was nowhere near the colossal media giant ubiquitously used by people of all ages and stages in life. At that point, it was mostly used by college students to connect with each other and with friends of friends, which is exactly what happened in Wendy’s case.
Wendy was new to Facebook when she logged on and received a message from a young man named Dan Hennessey. Dan had written a short note, just introducing himself, but Wendy felt a little strange about the message. She would later explain that she thought “first of all, I don’t know you, and I do not trust the Internet.” But the more she thought about the message, the more she knew she had to tell someone about it.
According to Dan’s profile, he was a sophomore at Montclair State University, studying exercise science. He was 18-years-old, and Wendy was wondering why he would message a 17-year-old freshman. Since Facebook was not as developed as is it these days, Wendy was not able to get that much more additional information. But Wendy could still tell that she thought this Dan guy was pretty cute.
Shortly after Wendy received the message, she decided she needed to talk about it with her best friend, Daphne. Wendy pulled up his profile on her desktop and quickly noticed Daphne’s reaction to his profile. Her best friend realized a pretty incredible connection that the two had to this Dan character, and Wendy would not like what she was about to hear.
Wendy would later recall what happened next on her YouTube channel, explaining that “Daphne looked at his picture and was like ‘Dan? He tried to talk to me too.'” That was enough for Wendy. “I was like ‘yeah, I’m definitely not going to talk to him because he tried to talk to my best friend.”
An embarrassed Dan would later explain that he was scrolling through profiles on Facebook and wound up sending a message to Daphne. “Then,…I saw that one of her friends was Wendy, and I was like ‘wow this girl looks phenomenal, let me say hello,'” Dan recalled. Dan’s social media practices had landed him with a bad reputation in Wendy’s eyes, but this would not be the only time that social media would play a big part in Dan and Wendy’s story.
Wendy knew that she was not about to message a boy who had originally reached out to her best friend. After all, she was just starting college, and knew that her dating options would be wide open. Wendy did not think much about Dan once she decided not to respond to his message. But on the other end of the computer, things were much different.
Dan, on the other hand, could not stop thinking about this girl he found on Facebook. At first, after not hearing a response, he decided to play it cool. But as time went on, he decided he would try his luck and reach out once again to Wendy, not knowing what she would say in response, or if he would even get a response at all.
After a brief period of taking the passive route, Dan decided to be direct. He reached out once again to Wendy and tried to start a conversation. Wendy was confused about why the same man who had messaged her best friend was, once again, contacting her on Facebook. She started to do a bit more digging.
To Wendy’s surprise, Dan and her actually seemed to have a few mutual friends, including some friends from her hometown. With that confirmation, Wendy was pretty confident this was not a random, creepy guy off of the Internet. She decided to take the leap.
After a few desperate messages sent from Dan, Wendy finally decided to answer. From there, the conversation surprisingly seemed to flow. Over the course of a few days, Wendy and Dan corresponded back and forth over Facebook getting to know one another.
Both Dan and Wendy were new to online romance, and so they both were a little unsure of where to take their conversation. After a few days of chatting, Dan decided to go for it and arrange a face-to-face meeting. He felt like a formal date would be a bit too much, so he decided to go a little more casual and invited her to a party at his apartment. There was just one slight problem with his plan.
Dan was so excited to finally be talking to Wendy that he offered for her to come to his house for the big party he was throwing. The college sophomore and his roommates in room 2A were used to throwing parties along with their neighbors. But this time, there was one problem.
“There was no actual party,” Dan later admitted in a YouTube video. “But if she had said yes then we would have created one.” Fortunately for Dan, Wendy agreed to come along to his yet-to-be-planned party with a few of her friends. Unfortunately for Dan, this acceptance meant that he had to put a party together, and fast.
Dan was a basketball player at Montclair State University, and finding friends eager to come over for a last minute party was no problem. His roommates also agreed to get in on the plans, and they were all updated on the girl who Dan had been talking to on Facebook.
Shortly after the party started, Wendy arrived at Dan’s apartment with a handful of her friends. For the rest of the night, the two hit it off. “We danced all night, we were talking, but by the end of the night everybody left and we were still there,” Wendy said in a YouTube video. But anyone thinking that this is where a typical love story began would be wrong.
After the night of the party, Wendy and Dan continued to text each other. And it would seem to everyone else that these two college students were quickly forming a relationship. But not so fast. Soon, any hopes of romance would quickly fade for the two of them.
Despite an instant connection, Dan and Wendy decided to just stay friends. “She had gotten out of a relationship and I was kind of partying it up, so to speak, so we were not looking for anything serious,” Dan later recounted. “We were still really interested in each other.” But both Wendy and Dan’s friends could easily see that this friendship was bound to end, and that is exactly what happened.
Luckily for Dan and for Wendy, both of their respective groups of friends got along well, and the entire group began to hang out with one another. While Wendy and Dan were both set on remaining close friends, every one of their friends could see that there was something else there. Then, by the time Dan’s birthday came around, he had an idea.
Wendy had texted Dan with a happy birthday message when Dan responded and asked her to dinner to celebrate later on that week. The dinner finally came around and, according to Dan, “we decided ‘let’s actually try this and see where it can go.'” From that moment, the two were a couple. But this relationship would not last too much longer.
With their friend groups already practically combined, Dan and Wendy went from seeing each other often to seeing each other all of the time. Things seemed to be going well, but behind the scenes, Wendy was facing some internal struggles related to her relationship.
Wendy had always been an independent person, and this new relationship had both of them becoming pretty dependent on each other. Over time, she could feel herself changing as the years of college were coming to a close. Wendy knew that she wanted to leave college and chase some big dreams. But first, she had to make a pretty difficult decision.
Wendy had formed her entire college life around her relationship, and she loved Dan. But as she approached post-college life, she knew that she had to start focusing on herself and building her own life. She had grown a lot over the years, and felt that she had more growing up to do…alone.
Before graduation, Wendy broke the news to Dan. She wanted to break up. Dan was heartbroken, but he would not say that he was blindsided. At the time, Dan was having some struggles of his own trying to figure out the next steps in his life. The two ultimately went their separate ways vowing to work on themselves. Meanwhile, both of them were about to start an unbelievable journey that neither of them saw coming.
Wendy’s journey to find herself led her to literally find and embrace her own natural beauty. After her breakup, Wendy started her own YouTube channel, which followed her journey to loving and accepting her own natural hair. Her candid tutorials and confessionals about natural beauty hit a nerve with viewers, and her YouTube channel, “Wendy’s Curls,” took off.
Wendy had soon become a YouTube star in her own right, bringing in over 60,000 followers at the time. Her videos featured hair tutorials, Q&A sessions, makeup tips and workout videos. This once self conscious girl was suddenly beginning to love her natural self as an independent person. Then, a coincidence threatened to derail all of her progress.
While Wendy had been finding herself, Dan was making progress of his own, but was still depressed by his love lost. The two had been broken up for about a year and a half, and both of them knew it was for the best, but the pain still remained. Then, one day, a chance run in changed everything.
By coincidence, Dan and Wendy bumped into each other one day, and the feelings they had for one another came rushing back. Once again, the two connected instantly. They decided that after a year and a half of being independent, they were both ready to try a relationship again. And this time, social media would once again define their relationship, with one viral post changing their life paths.
While Dan was working on his own fitness journey and Wendy was working on her YouTube channel, both of them had made significant headway in their social media following. Together, they had an impressive number of followers watching their love story unfold.
Over the period of their breakup, Dan had just bout 15,500 followers, while Wendy was reaching social media stardom with 87,000 followers. Both were posting pictures of their fitness regimens and other topics that interested them and their respective followers. But then one day, the two decided to post about something a little more personal, and opened themselves up to a surprising situation.
So much time had passed since their initial meeting in 2006, along with a lengthy breakup, that the two had almost lost track of the anniversary. They soon realized that they had been in each other’s lives for 10 years, an entire decade. With things going so well, the two decided to post on Wendy’s social media about their anniversary.
Dan and Wendy were used to sharing their relationship online, but this time was somehow different. Not only had both of them grown over the past 10 years, but both of them were also dramatically different in other ways. And soon enough, the world would take notice. When Wendy hit the ‘share’ button, she had no idea that there would be such a big reaction.
Wendy decided to post two pictures side by side. The first showed the couple early into their college relationship. The second showed both of them in bathing suits 10 entire years later. “10 year difference! Left 2007, Right 2017,” Wendy wrote on Instagram.
Wendy’s post continued, “I used to have a perm and wear my hair stuck to my face everyday, and [Dan] used to shave once a week! Now we take serious swimsuit pictures in different countries,” adding that “life comes at you fast.” The likes and comments started pouring in. The post quickly amassed over 60,000 likes and nearly 900 comments. They were both shocked, but when they started going through the comments, they began to understand why.
Wendy and Dan were both used to posting pictures of themselves together, especially since they had reconciled their relationship. So why was this post in particular getting so much attention? The comment section said it all, and they both could not stop reading.
“Did you both age in reverse?? What fountain of youth are you drinking from??” one commenter said. Another wrote “Why does it look like he’s dating the mom in the left and the daughter on the right.” One more “You wanna tell me how you aged backwards?” Wendy and Dan were overwhelmed by the support, and the post gave way to an incredible idea.
With all of the attention being directed on their “glow up,” this social media savvy couple knew that they needed to capitalize on being a . From the start of their relationship, both Dan and Wendy had always been interested in nutrition, exercise and health.
The couple thought that working together on a fitness related career path had always seemed like a natural next step. But this newfound attention gave both of them even more reason to pursue joint careers in the field. They quickly began to devise a plan for their futures that would turn into something huge.
n 2014, Wendy and Dan had begun a small fitness blog. But when their viral post continued to gain likes, comments, and attention, the two decided to kick the blog into full gear. The couple announced that they would begin their own business, called .
Through their blog and other social media accounts, Wendy and Dan were determined to help others through their wellness journeys, just as they had experienced over the last 10 years. Their goal was to make health and fitness attainable for everyone, and used their own stories as prime examples. Little did they know that this fitness blog would only be the first of their big opportunities.
Both Dan and Wendy, along with their fitness blog, continued to gain followers. Their viral 10-year anniversary post was in their past, but the couple was working towards their futures. Then, on a September 2016 vacation in Paris, Dan decided to give Wendy the surprise of her life.
During a visit to the Eiffel Tower with Wendy and a few of their close friends, Dan decided the moment had come. Dan got down on one knee and asked Wendy to marry him. True to form for the couple, they posted the entire engagement on Wendy’s YouTube page for their fans to see for themselves. In that moment, Wendy explained that it seemed that life could not get better. Then, it did.
Beyond fitness, health and nutrition, Dan and Wendy shared a love for another passion: travel. The two started posting videos of their travels all around the world on their YouTube channel. It was on one of those trips that they met another couple who suggested another career path to the pair.
The couple Wendy and Dan met both made a living as professional models. Since Dan and Wendy were already attracting a ton of attention on their social media accounts, their new friends suggested they look around at modeling agencies. Thinking it could be fun to at least try, Dan ended up reaching out to a few agencies. Then, he got an unexpected response.
Dan heard back from a handful of modeling agencies who not only wanted to meet with him, but they also wanted Wendy to come along for castings. The couple made their way through New York City to see if they would actually land any gigs.
The risk turned out to work in their favor, and both were soon signed as models, landing a handful of contracts. Dan was there to support Wendy as she starred in a Dove face wash campaign. Their success led the two to move to New York City to pursue their new modeling careers. And their social media following followed right along with them as they settled into their new lives.
Dan and Wendy followed their passions from the gym mats to photoshoot locations. Dan continued to work in personal training as well as modeling, while Wendy kept up her YouTube channel. And even with all of the global support they have received, both say their biggest supporter is each other.
While users on social media follow Wendy for her incredible weight loss journey and fitness tips, Wendy now says that her journey to self acceptance and self love is a never ending process. But throughout everything, social media was to thank for helping find her relationship, her YouTube celebrity status, and her career.