Shawnee and Jen Kish are an Ontario power couple. With over 800,000 TikTok followers, two-spirit Mohawk musician Shawnee has been delighting fans with her powerful music, and former Canadian rugby player Jen has gone from leading her team to an Olympic bronze medal in 2016 to an inspiring career in mental health advocacy. Now, following the release of Shawnee’s newest and most vulnerable EP yet, the pair share how destiny helped them find love together.
How they met
Jen: Shawnee and I first connected online back in 2015. Shawnee was performing nearby while I was playing rugby at the Pan Am Games. Destiny works in mysterious ways because in 2019 we reconnected online, and it was like no time had passed at all. A few months later, we both decided to do what many lesbians do — we grabbed a U-Haul together!
Jen: One of the most amazing experiences I had with Shawnee was when we decided to unplug for Christmas 2019. I spontaneously hopped on a flight to Toronto, and it turned out to be the most incredible Christmas I’ve ever had. That was the moment when I realized she was the person I had been searching for.
Shawnee: What a Christmas! We are always up for spontaneity that creates such special memories and adventures with each other.
Jen: We actually got engaged in April 2020, right in the midst of the pandemic. It was a really special moment because we were just lying in bed, having a nice chat, when I suddenly felt like it was the perfect time to ask her.
Shawnee: Jen is the most hopeless romantic I have ever met. Which I think, looking back, is what drew me to her so strongly. Her proposal was no surprise to me, seeing as within the first few months she stated that marrying me was her intention and spending our lives together was the plan.
The wedding and honeymoon
Jen: The ceremony took place at Alexander Circle in Glenora [in Edmonton] on a Saturday, May 15, 2021. We had the privilege of having former Alberta premier, Rachel Notley, officiate the ceremony. Due to the COVID, we postponed our honeymoon and travelled to Mexico one year later.
Shawnee: I feel like we planned three weddings and tossed ideas upon ideas back and forth. We came down to the realization that we only needed each other and it would be special for its intimacy.
Balancing careers and a relationship
Shawnee: One of the things I love about our relationship is how ambitious we both are. We both are caregivers to my stroke-surviving mom, and that comes with a lot of physical demands on us both. We are also currently fully self-renoing a home to fit our family’s needs. There is a lot that pulls on the relationship, but taking time to get dressed up, laugh, connect and be silly together is so crucial to this relationship. We schedule it in, if we have to, and the busy life requires us to plan for that time together.
Jen: We talk about our future all the time. We imagine a close-knit family, growing older together as we support our future child in pursuing their ambitions. Amidst it all, we embark on crazy journeys around the world, while Shawnee captivates audiences with her heartfelt music.
Shawnee: Jen forgot to mention wheelchair racing. She promised me we would do wheelchair races in our old age.