Girls night just got a little more interesting and educational for you and your girls.

Longtime ESSENCE columnists, relationship coaches and professional matchmakers Kelli Fisher and Tana Gilmore, also known as The Matchmaking DUO, have made history by creating the first board game for single women designed by relationship professionals.

The fun, new interactive game, Race 2 the Bling! and they created it to offer professional relationship advice to help tackle the most pressing issues and frequently asked questions that women present to them all the time. Their goal with launching the game is to help singles bring back the fun back to dating, meet their perfect mate and have the tools needed to make it to the altar one day — if that’s what they desire.

What are some of the issues you hear from women who come to you?

Many are frustrated with relationships that don’t progress to commitment and they want to be pursued by eligible men. They feel intimidated by the new way of dating. Some of the women are tired of missed opportunities where they thought this handsome man was going to approach them but he didn’t and she had no idea what to say either. Then in a flash, he was gone without a way to keep in touch. They are used to the “old school” thought where a man has to pursue and women are seen as loose if they’re too aggressive. Things have changed, now what do they do? Some women are so successful professionally but don’t understand how to effectively communicate on a personal level. They need help bringing their confidence back. Some are emotionally closed off due to bad relationships in the past.

Why create this game now?

We’re so fortunate to have a close-knit following through many avenues such as our ESSENCE readers, our podcast (The LovHER show with The DUO) listeners,  readers of our book, loyal clients, meeting attendees as we travel to lend our expertise as relationship experts at workshops and events like ESSENCE Festival! (We had a blast as always!).  But we’ve realized we need to reach more women worldwide! Many single women think they’re the only one going having a tough time navigating the world of dating and relationships but since we do this every day, we quickly discovered that many of the challenges are universal; so why not create a platform to reach women globally? 

There’s no need to be afraid to date or give up on love! And what do women need more of as we’re climbing in our careers, maintaining friendships and family relationships, volunteering, making our mark on life, etc. We need more FUN! 

Yes, the workshops and speaking engagements are great but this is a season where we realize women have so much pressure on a daily basis. We thought, “Let’s change that!” So we decided to deliver fun questions and challenges to get everyone thinking while also being silly again and letting our guard down at the same time! 

What is the premise of the game?

“Nine multicultural single women embark on a relationship journey and their goal is to complete the four phases of a relationship: Single, Dating, Engaged, and ultimately arrive at the altar to be MARRIED! But only one can win!  Be prepared for lots of laughs and twists along the way.  Who will have what it takes to win the Race to the Bling?”

Why will it help Black women?  

We created the game for all women but it will be helpful to Black women specifically because we hear so often and we know firsthand that culturally, many of us have been raised to sit and wait for a man to aggressively seek us out and court us to arrive at marriage.  We were amazed at how many women were uncomfortable starting a conversation with an attractive man for fear of rejection or looking too “thirsty” and missed out on an opportunity to meet someone new.  Not on our watch! We want to arm our Sisters with the tools they need to confidently initiate a conversation, stay engaged, and “close the deal” (exchange numbers LOL).

Another thing many of us didn’t learn very often is that when we’re found, we have to be just as dynamic and be ready to open up almost instantly so he knows how amazing we are, leaving him wanting more.  It’s not only about who he needs to be. The old school way of only focusing on becoming successful or getting your career in order first before looking for love doesn’t have to be.  We can do both simultaneously and be comfortable in our own beautiful skin while doing it.  

Black women are sexy, we’re sensual, we’re loving, super supportive, and trendsetters!  We just have that flair that is irresistible and our goal as The DUO is to help those who feel confined or in a shell to leave armed with the tools to tackle the dating world with ease and confidence.

Why was it important for you to create your game? 

Kelli: I wholeheartedly believe that women need more fun. We push ourselves in so many areas, multi-tasking and juggling so much and it’s so easy to forget about tackling our love life with the same level of intention.  Secondly as Tana and I are entrepreneurs and owners of our own business, it’s almost impossible to work with everyone individually so in addition to group coaching and workshops, introducing this game is a great way to help women on a larger scale and promote healthy dialogue on a subject that so often has been either swept under the rug or put on a “to-do” list that never comes. Lastly, as a woman, a Black woman, and mom to my three daughters, I wanted to invent something that will not only help others but also leave a legacy for years to come showing my daughters that anything is possible.

Tana: We all want to love and to be loved! I want to be the one to assist in the journey of women and their quest for love. I personally can’t think of a greater feeling than loving someone and having him or her love you back. It pains me to know that many of our sisters have never shared in this emotion. I am the oldest of eight siblings, and inspire to be an example of what leadership, hard work, perseverance, and faith looks like. All of which I attribute to my loving mother! I am a wife to a supportive husband with a blended family of five adult children and a grandson. I want them to be proud to call me wife, mom, and Oma. Long after I’m gone, they’ll be playing our many games we’ve created and reading our books with their children and hopefully promoting love in their own way. It’s my small contribution to the world!

When will the game be available for purchase? 

After 16 months from concept to design, researching the toy and game industry, and finding mentors to help us along the way, our game is complete! It is now in the hands of a major manufacturer in the United States!  It has been play-tested by small trusted focus groups and the feedback has been incredible! We need help with purchasing the first 5 thousand units in order to ship to the distribution center to be ready for holiday purchase! 

What are your goals for the game?

We were so fortunate to do a soft launch of Race 2 the Bling! at Essence festival and we did a life-size version of the game where people from the audience brought the game to life as actual players.  If you were there you know we had so much fun!  Our plan is to secure a sponsor and travel all over the world playing it live and bringing the fun to women everywhere! 

How can people stay connected and support?

We can’t say thank you enough over the years to our loyal ESSENCE readers who we meet all over the country and the world.  You all let us know how our blogs and content have helped you and we’re so blessed to be part of the amazing ESSENCE family.  What a lineage!  Help us get the game into the hands of as many women as possible by backing our Kickstarter campaign for the next 30 days here. And pre-order your game! Stay tuned for new updates on Race2TheBling and our couples edition, Blissful, coming soon at!