Meet the Winning Couple of our #LoveWinsContest!


In April, we asked couples to send in their #LoveWinsContest story, and we were bowled over with those who shared so much about their loving relationships, both the hardships and the happiness that has been a part of their histories. The winners receive a trip to the Hilton property of their choosing and $500 in beauty products, enticing for many pairs who had incredible stories to tell.

After bringing in some celebrity judges to help narrow it down to five deserving couples, we had AfterEllen readers vote on the most deserving duo, whose perseverance and genuine support for one another filled out hearts with love and hope. We’re happy to announce that couple is….

Starr and Anastasia.

Starr-Ani-1photos by The Mullers Photography

Starr and Anastasia long-distance love prevailed as they started dating just a few weeks before Starr moved from Bowling Green, Ohio where they met (at Home Depot, of course!) to go to school in Boston. Despite the 760 miles between them, they made it work while both working towards their Master’s degrees.


“Our relationship isn’t always easy and we have to put in the work,” Anastasia says. “It is important not to just love someone for who they are but to continue to love them as they grow and evolve.”

Now living together in Omaha, Starr is a new member of the local women’s football team while working on her Doctorate and Anastasia is a teacher. They are moms to a four-year-old pug, Charlie Rose, and share an interest in books, reading a lot of the same authors.

We spoke with the couple about their win and advice they would give to others who may be in similar long-distance situations that they’ve had to endure. How did you feel when you found out that you won?

Anastasia: Starr and I were both shocked and so excited! We know so many others submitted their love stories, so winning was really cool!

AE: What plans do you have for your Hilton getaway? 

Anastasia: Starr and I have been together for five years and never taken a vacation, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to have won the Hilton getaway! We are taking our time to decide where we want to go, but since we just got married, the getaway would be perfect for a honeymoon!


AE: What advice do you have for couples who, like you, may go through periods of long-distance or even hit some road bumps in their relationship? How do you make your  relationship work through those times?

Anastasia: Our advice is to really communicate. It is so important to know what you and your partner both need from a relationship and from one another. You need to seriously discuss how you can both work to meet one another’s needs while being physically separated. You need to be honest and devise a strategy to have those needs met while away. You have to make time for one another! Phone calls, video chats, emails, letters, etc. are all great ways to stay in touch. Switch up the way you communicate so it’s not always the same and get creative with showing one another how much you care. We would make little hand made cards to send to one another. Always remind your partner why you love them! It isn’t easy doing long distance but it is not impossible. 

AE: What is the thing you love most about one another?

Anastasia: I love Starr’s generosity and intelligence. 

Starr: The thing I love most about Anastasia is her upbeat personality. She is honestly one of the most kind and warm people I know. I think she makes the people around her happy! She’s got an infectious personality and it’s hard not to love her. 


Congratulations, Starr and Anastasia!

This post is sponsored by Hilton