Couple-Care: Quinton Brock And Kayko Donald

Image courtesy of Kj Evans

Couple-care is a monthly series highlighting inspiring couples in our community. Each discusses how “couple-care” sustains their relationship, the self-care lessons they’ve learned from one another, and more.

A creative couple born out of New York is the romantic story we all dream of. For Quinton Brock and Kayko Donald, it’s their reality. Donald is a digital marketing magician who spends her time working with artists and creating playlists: “I feel like my goal is to just make hot shit,” she tells ESSENCE via Facetime. As for Brock? He is a hustler, too, thanks to his budding career as a rock musician, music producer, and talent manager. 

“How did we meet? She followed me to the bathroom,” Brock jokes. “Lies,” rebuttals Donald. The truth is, they were on set for a music video with Brock as background guitarist and Donald working production; the rest was history. “I’ll say that there was definitely this connection there,” she says. Now, two years into their relationship, the duo proves opposites do in fact attract, as Donald has roots in sunny Granada, while Brock is kin to the mountains and snow of Buffalo, NY. 

For them, couple-care goes beyond making her quesadillas at 1A.M. and their intense workout routine. It’s all about the intimate moments of attention in between. “I think we do a really good job of trying to keep up with ourselves as individuals to be the best person for our partner,” Brock says. “Being able to cherish the time that we’re able to spend together and be our best selves is what strengthens our relationship.”

Here, the busy couple took time to talk to ESSENCE about their couple-care. Read on to learn more about their relationship and how they show up for each other. 

Couple-Care: Quinton Brock And Kayko Donald

Their favorite couple-care memory:

Quinton: Our first date was to a jazz club. We went to jazz night at this little cocktail bar. Then she said, ‘I want to take you out on a nice date and surprise you.’ And I said, ‘Okay, cool.’ She didn’t tell me where we were going. And then, next thing I knew, I was in Jersey. I thought it was a set-up because we were in Jersey. But she took me to the Sojo Spa. She had a day pass and it was really nice.

Kayko: When he came to Granada, we had this really deep conversation about what this means for both of us. We were realizing that we are willing to really learn and understand each other and how we were each brought up in very different cultures. It was really special to me to see him literally day three in Grenada singing all the soca songs. He didn’t even know what he was singing, but he was singing it. He was singing it loud and strong, and I was so happy.

What self-care means to them individually:

Kayko: I would say it’s important, because it’s impossible to be the best partner if you’re not your best self. I think about where I want to go with Quinton, and it’s like I do want to live as well as possible, as long as possible with him, and that means sacrificing sometimes the things you want to do for the things you know you need to do. And I don’t always want to wake up at 6:00 AM. Sometimes I was waking up at like 5:00 AM to make sure I could do what I needed to do to work out and be okay for this Half Marathon.

And honestly, it’s a sacrifice, but at the end of it, you can walk out saying that you did something that you’re proud of, that boosted your confidence. That’s something no one can take away from you. You can walk out being a better person and better partner, too. So, I would say that confidence is what self-care does for me. It’s important because when I don’t feel confident, I don’t feel grateful, and I don’t feel like myself when I’m not grateful.

Quinton: I love to travel. If I get a call tomorrow that says I’m going on tour to Seattle, I’m out. And it’s happened before, it’s happened multiple times for us where I’ve just been gone on the road for months on end, and I think that us being able to really cherish the time that we’re able to spend together and be our best selves is what strengthens our relationship and has created such the foundation that we’re comfortable being apart for so long. I think that having those times and those memories and us building that type of bond together through caring for each other; doing my hair, or us just working out together, etc. are what really make everything important in the long run for us.

Their wellness routines:

Kayko: I run and then I go to the gym. But I think running for me is so spiritual.

Quinton: I work out six days a week. Shout-out to Shaun T’s Insanity. I do the same workout I started in September. More than working out and stuff, I really love cooking. I cook every day.

Kayko: To his cooking point, one day, when it was like 1:00 AM, and I was like, ‘I’m so hungry.’ And he was like, ‘Want a quesadilla?’ That boy went downstairs and made me the best quesadilla ever.

Couple-Care: Quinton Brock And Kayko Donald

The self-care lessons they’ve learned from one another:

Kayko: We were sober for the majority of last year. Instead of going out to the club, we spent quality time together in other ways. We went to the New York Philharmonic together, or we’d go spend time doing things outside of the box that you wouldn’t do if you were drinking.

Quinton: I would say the no drinking thing has really changed my life, because I started a new job at the top of last year and there’s just so much alcohol available. There’s always alcohol, because I’m working in these clubs and these different venues. For that, I had to really find a way to re-evaluate my own relationship with alcohol, because I found myself drinking a lot and I put on mad weight, too. I feel like New York honestly has opened itself up to me since I stopped drinking, which is so crazy, but I really feel that way.

The products they’ve introduced to one another:

Kayko: I’m Caribbean, and we like to do a lot of things holistically. I want to say I was very anti-medicine. I don’t want to take a pill. Even if I am sick, I’m good. He’s definitely shown me that not all medicine is bad for you, and some of it can be good. And, honestly, like he said, he’s always cooking for real. When I’m with him, I know I’m fed.

Quinton: The number one thing I can definitely say is that she put me on to moisturize my face and my skincare. I was using any type of lotion or anything on my face, and she was like, ‘You can’t do that. You’re going to look like a gargoyle when you’re older.’ She fixed me up. She put me on to the Mielle hair oil for the locks.

I used to smoke tobacco. She was very adamant about me not necessarily smoking all the time. Now I’ve been completely off of tobacco and nicotine products for over a year. So, I feel really good about that, and I’m very gracious to Kayko for really being both my cheerleader and my copilot on that one.

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