What a proposal! Their love stood the test of Times Square
When Miss India SA 2014 went to New York, she never dreamed she'd both be on a billboard and get engaged
Johannesburg model and banking analyst Shivani Govender, 25, always hoped to have her name and face on a billboard, as she was a winner of Miss India South Africa in 2014.
She didn’t think it would be in Times Square on Thursday surrounded by work colleagues on a work trip.
Amidst the crowds and people with selfie sticks, she noticed group of dancers in costume and was “intrigued”.She loves dancing so the masked dancers caught her attention amidst the bright lights in the big city.
She thought the guy in his jacket and white mask was a Chinese dancer.
But then he took off the mask.
It was her boyfriend Tevin Govender (not related) who organised a flash mob in Times Square to catch her attention.He was supposed to be in Atlanta for work.
When she saw him, she knew what was about to happen.
“My knees literally when weak and I dropped to the ground. I realised it was my proposal when he took off the mask and I saw it was him.”
Initially he was wearing a new suit with a new haircut and dancing with a mask, so she didn’t recognise him.
Her asked her to marry him as a picture of her family including her deceased father was flashed in bright lights on a billboard above them.
“The fact he incorporated a family photo with my late dad as one of the photos displayed on the square was definitely a highlight.”
The billboard adverts also showed professional photos of them together. He had them taken a few months ago, so they were ready for the proposal.He danced for her because he knows she loved dancing
He learnt to do so by watching dancing videos sent to him by the US-based photographer he had hired to be there to capture the moment.
He met Shivani by speaking to her on Instagram, the social media site for sharing photos. The very first thing he asked her was about her dancing school , as she often shares photos of herself dancing.
Tevin explained how he thought of the proposal: “I had the idea because Shiv always wanted her name up somewhere as her dream. So I choose the billboard in the busiest city ... But then I needed to get her attention to the board and I also needed to show up to surprise her. I thought a flash mob would get her attention ... But I needed to hide so then I thought they could use masks and I would just pop out at the end.”“When I heard about her trip to New York, I knew it had to be there because it's the only time she would not be suspicious [of a proposal].”
He took three months planning the proposal.
“I used a Los Angeles- based wedding planner to help co-ordinate all the moving parts. It was not the easiest thing in the world as the time differences were not helpful.”
He hired an American-based professional photographer to capture the moment. The wedding planner helped him book billboards at Times Square.
Shivani says: “When I looked around, he had brought the whole of Times Square to a standstill and there was a huge crowd congratulating us and asking for photos.”“It was so extravagant and unique. It was so extra! It was so me and I loved it!”
Shivani and Tevin share many friends and went to universities in Johannesburg only a few kilometres from each other
They partied at the same night clubs at the same time.
She says: “It is weird we had never met before ... because once we got talking our friends’ circles overlap .”
He had actually dated someone related to her ex-boyfriend.Then he sent her a message on Instagram in October.
It could have been creepy having a stranger messaging her on social network site, but she says but Tevin was charming.
She had always said she would never meet someone on social media or apps like Tinder.
They started out deciding to be travel buddies as they both love travel, “but his charm quickly took over and I loved how he knows what he wants”.
Two months after their first online chat, they went to Thailand and her asked her in out last December on the island of Phuket.
Both had come out of years-long relationships.
She was expecting a proposal after only seven months, but not in New York because she was there for a work .
“When you know, you just know [it’s the one],” she said.