Recognize these smiling faces? College sweethearts Monifa and Will Sims became overnight sensations when their hilarious karaoke prank video went live after Jay Leno’s Tonight Show cameras featured them belting out their favorite tunes for free gas at a Costco in Burbank, California. Within a few days, it seemed everyone in the country was talking about that "super-cute" married couple singing at the pumps. Their free-spirited nature, genuine love for one another and enthusiastic renditions made America fall in love with their love story. Since then, you’ve seen the happy couple, who will celebrate their twelth marriage anniversary in July and are parents to an 11-year-old daughter, all over your television and heard them on your favorite radio stations too. America can’t seem to get enough of Will and Monifa, so we caught up with them to ask the burning question that’s on everyone’s mind right now: How are they so darn happy? And, will they share their secrets? Read on to find out!
ESSENCE.COM: Your video became an overnight success. What has that been like for you?
MONIFA SIMS: It’s been a blessing. The things that really stand out are all the really wonderful comments and things people have said. Things like, “I was having a really bad day and you made me smile.” Or, “I start off my day watching your video because it makes me laugh. That is really awesome and amazing for us.
WILL SIMS: I like the comments that tell us that we make marriage fun and there should be more couples like us in the world. They say, “I wish my marriage was as fun as yours.”
ESSENCE.COM: It’s like the newlywed phase for you two never ended. What’s your secret?
WILL: When we got married, the pastor told us that the best thing you can do for your marriage is take a vacation.
MONIFA: He told us to take time for your marriage no matter what and we’ve really lived by that in our marriage. It’s astonishing when we talk to other couples who are married and they don’t vacation much. You have to take the time – whether it’s three days or a week – where you go away from your children and everybody else and it’s just you guys. It gives you a chance to connect and that has bee our saving grace. We look forward to it. When we’re not on vacation and we’re home we act like we’re still on vacation.
WILL: It can just be getting a hotel. Get a Groupon for two days –whatever you need to do. Start saving for those days to yourself. Just relax and connect with your spouse.
ESSENCE.COM: They really got you guys, huh? What about all those 'fake prank' rumors?
WILL: I was just being my normal self; I sing everywhere I go, and I’m always doing something crazy. I just started pumping and looking for my Costco card, and the next thing I know, this dude pops up on the screen.
MONIFA: They edited out the part when I did not want to sing. They edited out a lot. Listen, anybody who knows me, knows there is no way I would have ever been on live TV with that bandana on my head and that big old sweatshirt. That’s definitely what I wear to the gym, but there’s just no way that if I had known it was going to happen like that I would have looked like that when it did.
WILL: I think the video is so popular because people forgot how to have fun. There’s so much negativity out there that people are always skeptical and cynic. It’s alright to have fun. That’s what it’s all about. When the world saw us on TV, they saw a genuine, loving couple having fun. You don’t see that a lot.
ESSENCE.COM: If you could advise newlyweds on what to look out for in a marriage, what would you tell them?
MONIFA: Your marriage is between you and your spouse. Yes, your family and friends love you, but when you make that commitment to your marriage, I’m a firm believer that that’s your commitment to your spouse. You have to keep everyone else out. No marriage is perfect. So , when you do argue, don’t run to your friends and tell them your business. People feed on negativity.
WILL: Slow down and take the time to have fun. Help your spouse with the dishes; help them fold clothes.
MONIFA: A lot of times, because of our schedules, those are the only things we get to do together. So we make the most of those very little moments.
ESSENCE.COM: What does your daughter think about your newfound fame?
MONIFA: She’s proud of us. She thinks it’s really funny, actually. She’s like, “I can’t believe people find it so funny to see what I see all the time.” Before this video came out, she was in the embarrassed-by-my-parents stage, but when she saw this, she thinks we’re fun now, and that’s kind of cool.
ESSENCE.COM: Where can your new fans find more of your singing?
MONIFA: We do have a YouTube channel, so hopefully we’ll have new videos going up there soon. In the meantime, we do have a new Facebook page that we’ll be updating regularly.