Nearly five years ago to the day, Sydel Curry–the younger sister of three-time NBA champ Steph Curry–went on four dates in five days with her now fiancé, Damion Lee, and had a feeling she’d never had before.
“I knew from the date, from our first date. He was nobody that I had ever met,” she told ESSENCE. “He was just so different in a sense that I couldn’t read him. He was such a gentleman on our first date. Wouldn’t let me walk close to the street when we were walking together. He was just such so sweet. So from day one of us going on our date I knew I wanted to be with him.”
From the moment they met (Lee’s account say it was when they both were in a Philadelphia arena to watch Curry’s brother Seth play in the NCAA tournament and she says it’s when he slid into her DMs but that’s neither here nor there) and in the six months it took for him to ask her to officially be his girlfriend, the two have been devoted to making their relationship a successful one—with God as the center of it all.
In November, Lee pulled off the ultimate surprise when he got down on one knee and asked Curry for her hand in marriage, and the moment, she admits caught her off guard but it’s still one of the best moments of her life.
“The engagement definitely caught me as a surprise [because] I thought that it would take him forever to ask me to marry him because it felt like it took him forever to ask me to be his girlfriend. But we had talked about. We both told each other that we loved each other and wanted to get married eventually when the time came. And so the fact that we are engaged, I’m not surprised because I knew it would get there eventually.”
As the Elon University grad and former volleyball star prepares to walk down the aisle on September 1st in Charlotte, she has future plans on leaving her mark on the world as an entrepreneur who hopes to shift the conversation surrounding the stigma of mental illness.
“I’ve always had a passion for mental health, not that I’ve had to deal with it on my own. I’ve always been curious about the mind and helping others but I really want, literally in a sense, to save lives. We’ve seen in the past week or so how many people have taken their lives because [they were] at a point in their life that they thought it’s never going to get better. So with my brand called A Curry Girl and the platform that I have, that’s all I want to do is just change the stigma behind [people] being not being able to speak about how you’re feeling and not being in a culture where social media is just about jokes and people not taking other people seriously. Being able to change the [how people] approach this is as a serious subject. People actually need to be empathetic towards others and sympathize with others and just be open to talking and communicating because even if we’re not licensed or doctors, psychiatrists or all those kinds of things we can still help one another.”
Curry has already surmassed a large network of supporters, with over half a million Instagam followers and counting.
Even after she jumps the broom, Curry and Lee will still rely on their relationship with God to make sure their union remains solid—as advised by her mother, Sonya, and sister-in-law, Ayesha.
“As far as marrying young goes, I’ve been raised to think that age is just a number no matter how old you are because my parents got married when they were 22 and 24, and then Steph and Ayesha got engaged at 21 and Stephen was 22. We’re pretty old compared to them because Damien is 25 and I’m 23. So marrying young is not intimidating because I’ve had such great examples. But it’s really just about communication and just making time for each other. [We’ll] be keeping God in the center of your relationship because you can really accomplish anything knowing that God has a plan and God’s in control. No matter how difficult the situation gets so that’s definitely the one thing that I’m taking from each of their relationships is just how invested in their faith as a couple, not just individually, but as a couple how important it is to be invested and committed to really stick with God before anything [because] that really can get you through it.”
Can we get an amen for that?