Jennifer and Keith

By Jenn Rose Smith
Keith Holmes and Jennifer Matos

The first thing you’ll notice about Jennifer Matos and Keith Holmes II is that they make a drop dead gorgeous couple. Both professional fitness instructors at the lake shore YMCA in Austin (Jenn is also weeks away from obtaining her cosmetology license), these two make a living inspiring other Austinites to look and feel their best. And the next thing you’ll see is how they’re looking at each other — the longtime couple (six years and counting!) are still very much in love. There’s a tangible warmth when you’re around them, and they have the delightful habit of making each other smile almost constantly. The last thing you’ll notice about Jennifer and Keith is that they’re using sign language — because being deaf is only one of the incredible things this very cool couple has in common.

photographed by kristin kilpatrick
keith’s shirt provided by outdoor voices

We’re dying to know how the two of you first met. Tell us your meet cute!

Keith: This might shock some people (those who believe that love isn’t real if you find it through social media) but I found Jenn on Facebook through my mutual friends.

Jennifer: We inboxed each other for three months while he was in Oklahoma and I was in Austin.

Keith: We talked on the video phone for hours and really got to know one another — not in the flesh but through the flesh, the real me, the real her — and it was like a masks slipped from our faces and we could end up talking until 5 in the morning.

Jennifer: After three months he moved to Austin and that is when we met for the first time in person. We moved in together right away.

Amazing. Keith, what was your first impression of Jenn?

Oh my gosh. Have you seen her?! Making eye contact with her, my knees went weak. You might find it funny, but I see her as an even better version of Jennifer Lopez. Plus, all of her signs are beautiful when she’s signing to me.

And Jenn, what was your first impression of Keith?

He was accepting of my two children by different fathers, and was willing to move here and take care of all of us. Now we are a family of 5!

How long have the two of you been together?

Jenn: Six years. In two or three more years we will get married. We want to make sure our credit and budgets are stable first.

Keith: We’ve been together since 2010 and yet we’re constantly looking forward the years ahead of us. I know it’s going to be fun to see what our future holds.

The couple signing to each other across a table at Austin’s Cafe Alta.

Jenn, when did you know that Keith was “the one”?

Jennifer: He’s a family man. That’s when I knew he loved us and wanted to be a part of my life. He likes to be “Mr. Mom” — he cooks for us every day and washes the dishes (which I hate to do! ). It meant lot to me that he was willing to do those things, because so many other men out there just want to take advantage.

And Keith, when did you first know Jenn was the woman for you?

Keith: I had a good vibe from her right away and that was a good feeling. I’d do anything for her that she asks for without disagreement. She will always be there for me when I need her the most, always will be my backbone. The man above us all in this world brought her into my life.

The couple shows off their matching ring finger tattoos.

How do you balance your budget together as a couple? Any advice or lessons learned there?

Jennifer: We like to split up our taxes every year. We each pay half of bills and food. We really don’t have problems because we make agreements easily together.

Jennifer, who is weeks away from earning her cosmetology license, cut and styled her own hair for the shoot.

What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever been given?

Jennifer: Keep the focus on what’s most important. We are super busy parents so school, work, and taking care our of kids are our top priorities.

How do you two keep the romance alive in your relationship?

Our relationship was up and down during the first and second year of dating. Now we understand each other better. We make adjustments when needed to make life better for our family. We’re great at teamwork and are easily able to reach an agreement. Our communication is primary, and that’s why we’ve been together so long.

Jennifer and Keith teach us the sign they like to use with each other the most.  It means “I love you so much.”

Thank you Keith and Jennifer for sharing your amazing story with us! 

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