If you’re anything like us, you’ve been checking in on friends a lot more regularly than usual—not to mention doing a lot more of, well, pretty much everything one does when they’re stuck at home. With both of those things in mind, we’re launching a new series where we drop in on a few of our friends to see how they’re holding up—what they’re watching, reading, eating, drinking, feeling, and more.
Today, we’re headed over to Brooklyn, New York, to chat with model couple George Okeny and Yanii Gough and their two-and-a-half-year-old son, Zola. Having starred in a number of Ralph Lauren campaigns as a trio, not to mention all walking the runway at the 50th Anniversary Show, they know a thing or two about the importance of family time. House-bound like most of us, they make a point of connecting daily with relatives and friends all over the globe, in addition to staging epic family photo shoots, board game marathons, and lasagna nights. Below, a look at how they’re spending their days and staying optimistic and motivated.
Where are you right now, and what’s your current view?
We’re at home in Brooklyn, New York. Our view is a large park with a football field right across from a middle school.
Who are you spending this time period with?
Physically it’s just us, but virtually we call our family members from all over to check up on them every single day.
How are you staying creatively engaged?
We partake in mini home photo shoots! Zola is usually running around the house dancing and singing while we struggle to capture some good shots. Overall it’s pretty fun.
It’s a crazy time that we’re in right now—what are you doing to stay optimistic?
We’re planning future trips with the family and working on our business plans.
What’s something that you want to tackle during this time?
Zola has been learning Arabic from George and his grandparents. We’re currently taking an online course for public speaking and George is taking a course on his own on becoming a life coach.
Where’s one place you can’t wait to explore once we’re able to travel again?
We’ve had plans to visit family in Riverside, California. Instead of flying, we’re going to take a road trip from New York City and drive cross-country.
What’s keeping you grounded and feeling supported?
George is always throwing positive energy out there and telling me not to stress and to look forward to what amazing things will come after the quarantine is over. Hugs are definitely helpful and more relaxing during these times. And when we speak to our families virtually, it’s always great to hear their voices, see their faces, and know that they’re doing just fine.
What are you currently reading? Rereading? Watching?
George is currently reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, while I’m reading a comic on Webtoon called “The Wrath & the Dawn.” We’re always catching up on The Bernie Mac Show series.
Any recipes or cocktails that you’ve mastered during this time?
Yanii made a bomb shrimp dish with white rice and broccoli on the side. We usually experiment and try to create our own new dishes in hopes of them being a hit.
What’s your go-to WFH uniform?
George: Fitness attire
Yanii: Last night’s PJs
If you were to look back, what would be the three songs that epitomized this time for you?
“What You Won’t Do for Love” by Bobby Caldwell, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2, and “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye.
What has been the most interesting or funny thing that you have learned about your partner through this new reality?
Yanni: George loves to play tricks on me and crack a lot of jokes.
George: Yanii is very competitive!
What’s the most relaxing, fun thing you’ve been doing to take your mind off things?
Definitely board games and family movie time.
This is sure to change the world, our culture, and our individual lives. What are your thoughts on this?
We’re hoping everyone comes out stronger and better than ever. Instead of looking at this time as a setback, let’s look at this as a pause in our lives—a time needed to regenerate, to create, to think.
- All images courtesy of George Okeny and Yanii Gough