It’s Kind of a Funny Story: Hannah Bronfman and Brendan Fallis

For more kind of funny things, check out the time when Leandra tried Christmas and Amelia tried Hanukkah.

Brendan Fallis: We met at Art Basel in 2011 at a nightclub pop-up called Le Baron [adopts French accent].

Hannah Bronfman: I wasn’t even supposed to be in Miami. I had just broken up with a boyfriend two weeks prior…

BF: Rebound!

HB: And my girlfriends were like, “We’re going to Miami. Girls trip. Let’s do this.” So we all got one room at the Fontainebleau and crammed four girls into the room, which is good backdrop to the story. [To Brendan]: Keep going.

BF: We got introduced by one of two people. And we both don’t remember much.

Leandra Medine: You were both white girl wasted? [Inches toward a packet of Splenda]

BF: What are you doing? Those thing kill lab rats.

LM: Really? After how long?

HB: Interesting question. I wasn’t expecting that to be your follow up.

LM: I feel like if you live long enough, you will inevitably get cancer. It’s become a condition of American life. What’s worse, this or regular sugar? I don’t know.

BF: There is no worse. They are both terrible. The best is air.

HB: Brendan’s dad, who is a two-time cancer survivor in the throat, is literally like a little boy given a second chance at life eating all the candy he can get. We’re like, “Come on!”

BF: His whole thing now is, “If I made it, I’m gonna live how I want.” Back to love

HB: It was one of those moments where, at least for me, I didn’t know him and we found ourselves in the deepest conversation.

BF: We were both grey-out drunk.

HB: Brendan was telling me about his dad’s cancer, but we both came to at the same time, so he was like, “Oh my god. I just met you. Why are we talking about this?” And I was like, “Don’t worry. I know this seems weird right now, but we can continue talking about this. It’s fine.” I guess we had been talking for three hours already…

BF: But we had been sitting in the back of the club, in a weird corner, and there was no one left in the club, and then Hannah realized she lost her cell phone. She panicked so we went out to the cab, and then I realized I lost my cell phone. I was like, hold on here, I’m gonna go back in and find it.

LM: What time was this?

HB & BF: 4:30

LM: People are always trying to convince themselves to leave a party because they think nothing good can happen after 2 AM but I guess that’s not the case.

HB: So he was like, “You wait here. I’m gonna go back to the club.”

BF: I remember the door being open and her sitting there being like, “Yeah, no problem.” I was like, “Sweet, she’s gonna wait.” I’m banging on the door because they’re closed, and a busboy answers. I go in and shake down every couch in the place and start yelling, “You have my iPhone. C’mon. Someone has it. I’m the last guy here.”

HB: So I obviously left. I was like, “Who is this guy?” And in my head what happened next was I went home, I told my girlfriends I met this really cool guy — and then I saw him the next night.

BF: The next night we saw each other at the SoHo House.

LM: Were you like, “Hey, thanks for standing me up, Dick!”

BF: Yeah.

LM: Were you?

BF: No, I was stoked to see her. And then we ended up having a great night, watching the sun rise on the beach together.

HB: I don’t remember what happened that night either but I remember we ended up going back to the Fontainebleau. I remember we were sitting on the steps and you were about to say goodbye to me and we sat down, and we were both like we don’t want this night to end. Let’s go to the beach. And we both fell asleep. I fell asleep in his arms.

BF: It was cute. We woke up and we started walking back into the hotel, and there were all of these morning fitness freaks out and we were like, “Ugh. People are disgusting.” Little did we know we were those people.

LM: Was this before you were into working out?

HB: I was fully into working out, I just didn’t want to share my enthusiasm for health and wellness just yet. He didn’t either, so we just looked at each other like, “All these people. Up early in Miami.” Secretly we’re both like, “I wish we could go for a run.”

BF: And then Hannah ended up extending her trip without any of her friends.

HB: Oh my god, yes! That’s so crazy. So I never got a new cell phone, and I ended up extending my trip for an extra day, which was so out of the ordinary, and I was definitely like “What the fuck?” I was going to stay with him because I didn’t have a hotel room anymore.

BF: She stayed with me and my friend.

HB: I didn’t have a cell phone and I wasn’t planning on getting a cell phone because I had just broken up with this guy, and I liked being off the grid. We got back to New York. I still didn’t have a cell phone. I didn’t get a cell phone for three months, and Brendan would write me e-mails, we’d make plans…

LM: Wait, you didn’t have a cell phone for three months?

HB: No. I used my iPad and a number that only I knew. Brendan would email me, we’d make plan, I would show up, and we would spend days on end together. It happened seamlessly after Miami. So then, six months later he tells me the real story of what went down that first night in Miami.

BF: After she ditched me, I came back with no cell phone, completely bummed, and I headed over to the Fontainebleau to hit up her room. I get in a cab, go there, it’s borderline daylight. I go to the front desk and say, “I’m looking for Hannah Bronfman, please.” He says he doesn’t have her information. I’m like, “Trust me, she’s staying here. Let me call her.” And the guy tells me there’s no one there by that name. I just thought he thought I was completely bombed — which would be smart, I hope he would do that in the future — but I’m raising a bit of a fit now, so I’m like “Whatever.”

I walk over a few feet, pick up the landline and go, “Room for Hannah Bronfman, please.” And he goes, “I can see you.” I look back — because he’s straight across from me — and I’m like, “Come on, man! I know she’s staying here.” And the guys like, “She’s really not staying here. I can’t help you.” So I’m thinking she’s staying with a friend or that maybe she has an alias.

HB: He really wanted sex that night.

LM: And you’ve been together since then, no breaks. And you just bought an apartment together, right?

HB: Yeah.

LM: That’s so real. So, everything was really seamless. You got back from Miami and it just rolled into a relationship.

HB: We saw each other literally the next night. On our first date, he took me to a concert for this band called The Phony People, a really cool band, and we had pizza at Joe’s Pizza.

LM: Can you tell me about the work trajectory? Because you both rose to success in tandem after the relationship had been established.

BF: Hannah had been deejaying for ten years prior.

HB: I’ve been deejaying since I was…

BF: We’ve all been to the Jane when Hannah was deejaying, we just didn’t know.

LM: What were you doing at the time?

BF: I was deejaying

LM: I feel like you’ve experienced several career changes since then.

BF: Still happening.

LM: Can you detail what’s changed and whether Hannah’s been helpful?

BF: Hannah’s been very helpful. I think the best part about Hannah and me — or in my opinion, dating someone who accentuates and brings out the best qualities in you, not in the cheesy way, “she makes me smile when I’m down”—[to HB]: which you do—but someone who gives you different perspectives on things and makes you think more productively and outside the box to improve your overall business sense and mentality towards life.

HB: I was just deejaying, not really understanding — I had just gotten out of college, I didn’t understand what I wanted to do. I remembered telling Brendan, “I’ve got this idea. I’m not really sure how to go about it. What do you think about it?” He said, “I think it sounds pretty good.” It was Beautified. He said, “I have a friend who you should talk to. She’s been thinking of something similar to this.” When I started my company, I met Annie, my co-founder, through Brendan. It was one of those moments — he never said this to me, but he always knew there was a lot more to me than just my being a DJ and a girl who has come from a wealthy family.

LM: What are your favorite things about each other?

BF: More than one? What? Truthfully, I don’t have an un-favorite thing about Hannah, except for a little cleaning up around the house.

LM: Do you guys cook together? Who’s the chef?

HB: I would say that I’m the chef, but Brendan has very strong culinary skills.

BF: Hannah’s just more passionate about it, so I let her take the reins.

HB: It’s actually surprising. We’re both Scorpios, I say that and everyone is like, “Oh my gosh! You must get in the craziest fights.” We’ve actually never really fought.

BF: I remember we once thought we fought, but I can’t remember what it was about so it can’t be that important.

LM: Well you know what the thing is? There’s a lot of bickering between couples, obviously, “clean up your shit.” “You didn’t do the dishes.” But, it’s never actually a fight if you’re on the same page morally. If you’re not fighting about fundamental things — we’re going to live in New York or this is how I want to raise our children — it’s not really a fight.

BF: Like, are we going to move back to Canada and have kids?

LM: You want to move back to Canada? That’s new.

HB: What’s also really interesting for me when I think about my relationship with Brendan versus how I used to be in past relationships, there was a time when I was so insecure about myself and felt so jealous and insecure in my relationships. It was one of those things where I felt like I was the farthest from being myself. I feel very lucky to have met someone where I can fully feel myself, and really proud of what I’m growing into. I feel like I’ve never been more in tune with my own intentions, morals and emotions, than being with Brendan. I know that sounds strange to say, but I feel more independent being with Brendan than I’ve ever felt before.

LM: I always say in relationships there’s a flashlight. The man or the woman is always holding a flashlight, it’s just a matter of whether your partner decides to shine it on you or hit you over the head with it. You found someone who lets you shine.

BF: It’s true. Even my past relationships — it’s amazing, when you give someone constructive criticism it can go either way, but when you trust someone, and you actually respect everything they believe in, and you love them and it’s for the better, it doesn’t bother you. I always notice that because any ex-girlfriend I have, I’ve said, “You have to be fucking kidding me. Get out of here.” But if Hannah tells me something, I’m like, “You’re right. I should try that.”

HB: Same with me. I hate cleaning. I really do. I’m not a cleaner. Brendan is a natural born cleaner. It is really lucky, but it’s also like, he’s starting to train me. I’m coming around, but it’s hard.

BF: You’re 100% better than you were 6 months ago.

HB: He’ll say things to me that he knows will get under my skin, but I don’t take it personally. Whereas before I would have totally been like, this asshole.

BF: Like last night?

HB: What was last night?

BF: Your slippers. She took her slippers off before bed and I was like, “Where do these slippers go?” She was like, “I was going to put them on in the morning.” I was like, “Yeah that’s fine, but after you shower tomorrow and I have to put them away I just want to know where they go.”

HB: Because you knew I was never going to put them away?

BF: Exactly.

LM: Is that one of the hardest elements within the relationship, then?

BF: Our small apartment?

LM: No, the cleanliness thing.

BF: It’s not hard.

LM: What is hard?

BF: I think the hardest part is the same for everyone, it’s not hard for us specifically, but we have to always reinvent why we’re excited to be together. For us, traveling is a big one. You get in your work zone, and as we all are, your days fly by, and you see each other at dinner and then afterwards zone out and go to bed. Suddenly, weeks go by and…we travel probably once a month. Luckily, we’re super blessed to be able to do that. It’s a good time for us to be able to rehash, get on the same page, pack in our emotional state together. It’s not so much where you go, it’s just about leaving your daily routine together.

LM: It’s like creating little experience babies, and you leave the babies wherever you go.

BF: Just because you have time to reflect on things. Here it’s wash, rinse, repeat.

LM: That’s anywhere. That’s the routine of life.

HB: For me, half the things I’m dealing with on a daily basis, I don’t want to talk about them when I’m dealing with them constantly throughout my week. For us to be able to go away, and for me to be able to have breathing space, I feel like I actually reflect on it differently, and it’s really nice that I can talk about it with him. He’s very good at seeing the big picture and knowing what battles to pick, not necessarily with each other, just with our lives and the situations that we get put into.

LM: So you don’t really see each other during the day.

HB: We try to do workouts together. We’ve been liking a midday workout. I’ll go to the office in the morning and then we’ll meet at the gym. Then we won’t see each other again until dinner.

LM: How did you guys discover that you were both interested in wellness?

HB: I definitely think that when we both got back to the city my drunken late-night healthy snacks came out.

BF: I started running the Williamsburg bridge and she was boxing a lot. Our first date in New York, was her taking me to her boxing gym, then I took her to mine.

LM: I feel like fitness was something my husband was always really passionate about, and I have grown into it as a result of being married to him. It’s a fun thing we do together Saturday and Sunday mornings. But he’s better about the healthy eating than I am. He never slips up. Once every two weeks I’m like I want a fucking bag of candy corn and I want it now.

HB: The alternative sweets, the alternative baking and stuff I’ve always been interested in, but it wasn’t until I got out of college that I was able to commit to that. Honestly, I grew up in the ballet community and it was always the peer pressures of being thin and having the proper body type has always been ingrained in my head. I grew out of the dancing phase and really wanted to do my own thing. My grandmother passed away from anorexia, and that was an eye-opener for me. That’s when I committed myself to being healthy and expanding my palette and growing my knowledge.

LM: Was she a ballerina?

HB: No. But she came from a really messed up home life and was constantly under scrutiny about her weight. A lightbulb went off and I realized something that effects young women at such an early age, they don’t realize that this stuff stays with them their entire life. It wasn’t until my grandmother — she didn’t specifically die because she was anorexic, but she died because her immune system was so weak and her organs failed on her. That was because of her anorexia. It was a real eye-opener. After that, I started cooking a lot for myself and started caring about my body. That was a turning point for me.

LM: If you could give advice to anyone who is either looking for love or in a relationship, what would it be?

HB: As soon as you stop looking, you find it.

BF: Get on Tinder even if you’re in a relationship.

HB: No! Brendan. When you stop looking—

BF: Not true.

LM: Maybe it really is a matter of where you’re looking.

BF: I think that it’s constantly about making things new, experiencing fun things together. Personally I love giving surprises.

HB: I think something that’s been really nice for us, especially with our schedules, is to have a planned date night. Over the last three years, we’ve been really consistent about making time to have a date or even a double date.

BF: Making time for each other. Proper time. Not just having dinner. Making an experience together. And if you’re looking for love, just keep an open mind. Don’t expect that you’re going to find what you’re looking for. If someone told me Hannah would be the cutout of someone I’d meet and fall in love with for the rest of my life… My idea of the perfect girl was not her at all.

HB: Literally the opposite of me. Skinny, model, blonde…

BF: When my friends are complaining about girls they’re dating and they’re like, “She’s not really my type,” I tell them that it’s so much more. Obviously you have to be attracted to the person but that’s half the puzzle. They’ll become so much more attractive to you if they believe in everything you do, inspire you and allow you to become a better person. None of the “type” shit is going to matter.

HB: Was it my energy that was attractive to you?

BF: It was your elusiveness in your hotel room.

HB: I like to say that it was love at first sight for me, but Brendan says it was the complete opposite for him.

BF: It took me time — I wasn’t ready to love at first sight.

HB: So what was it?

BF: It was just you, who I still am in love with.

LM: You guys!

BF: And I’ll always be in love with.

LM: That’s gross.

You know who else has kind of a funny story? Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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