Nicole and Bruce

Image 1 of Nicole and Bruce

How We Met

I met Bruce when I was 19 years old on New Year’s Eve. I remember him singing karaoke, and I thought he was so cute! It was about midnight, and how lucky was I; he came and sat next to me, handed me a white rose and kissed me on the cheek and that was the new year. He gave me his business card, and months later, I called him. We began dating and dated for 3 1/2 years. At that time, we lived in LA while I was going to fashion school and he was an actor. A few years later, my brother died in a car accident, and I had to move back to the midwest to help my mother cope with the loss and take care of things. That was when we said our goodbyes and did not speak again.

I met someone else within that same year and actually had a little girl! It was so fast, and he was in the military. After going overseas twice, he did not come back the same, and I spent 7 years in a mentally and physically abusive relationship. It’s really hard to type this without breaking into tears. I almost lost my life in December 2012. I will never forget that day, even if I want to, but that’s a lot of detail I wont go into, too painful. That December of 2012, I got out of the relationship thankfully with the help of my sister-in-law, and I moved back home again. A few months later, Bruce and I found each other on Facebook. He was like the little light of grace for me! He had told me he wondered were I had been for all of these years, and we soon decided to meet each other. I was going out to California, at the time I was a finalist to be on the show Project Runway in 2013. When I got to LA, I met Bruce and seeing him again for the first time in so many years, I just cried. It was like I found the other half of my heart again. I can’t explain to you the feeling of being with someone who loves you for you, your faults and imperfections and is your best friend. But I will say that when you have had the worst and almost lose your life, you recognize real true love when it is for sure. Bruce and I have been dating ever since. My little girl, now 8 years old, knows him as the wonderful male role model in her life, from helping her with her homework, to taking care of her like she is his own. Bruce moved all the way from LA and changed his career just for me. He became a videographer specializing in weddings, and I am a bridal designer and seamstress for bridal alterations.

Image 2 of Nicole and Bruce

how they asked

Oct 14th was a busy day. It was my fist time at KCFW, and it was my first bridal collection for all sizes, focusing on plus size. So many people say, “Why plus size? Why all sizes?” and honestly it’s because doing alterations, I know how it feels when my brides cant find a dress to fit that is flattering and just as beautiful as the smaller size gowns. I do a lot of custom plus-size gowns for that reason. I wanted to do something that would change the standards of beauty. It’s not just women who are skinny that get married, it’s women of all sizes and shapes.

Backstage, I was so busy I barely had time to do my own hair or get ready. That day, Bruce, my now fiance, knew I had nothing to wear. He went to Macy’s and bought me a dress and made sure I was going to look nice, and the hair and makeup team from KCFW Gaia Salon tag teamed me to make sure I looked good going on the runway with my models. I was so grateful, because little did I know when I walked out with my models for the finale that my boyfriend was going to run up on stage and get down on one knee and ask me to spend the rest of my life with him!

Image 3 of Nicole and Bruce

Image 4 of Nicole and Bruce

I was so in shock and happy I could barely breathe, he had to hold me and kiss me and tell me he loved me, and I said yes. I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, and I hope that this shows other women that there are wonderful men out there, and you can have a happy ending too.

Special Thanks

Josh Santiago
 | photographer