With Adele’s Help, Syracuse Elder Proposes Girlfriend On National TV
Quentin Brunson ’12, G’13 knows he has set the bar high. Very high. The whole world is talking about him very public proposal to his seven-year-old girlfriend, Ashleigh Mann, during Adele’s special “One Night Only” TV concert on November 14 at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
He also knows that there might never have been Quentin and Ashleigh without a connection to Syracuse University.
Brunson, whom many refer to as “Q,” is from Rochester. In 2008 he was a SummerStart student preparing to study Mechanical Engineering. He quickly turned to social work, obtaining both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. Right after he graduated in 2013, Brunson’s brother of Omega Psi Phi fraternity in Syracuse called him to tell him about a vacancy at a high school in Los Angeles. Brunson flew away. He got the job. And he was also introduced to the next door neighbor of this fraternity brother, a girl named Ashleigh Mann.
“I told him right away that I had a crush on him. Like literally the first day. I was like, ‘I promise you. You’re gonna be my boyfriend, ”Mann remembers.
The two casually dated for two years before becoming an official couple. It took Brunson seven years after that to come up with something Mann didn’t hesitate to give him a hard time.
Earlier this year, Brunson saw a post asking for a couple who wanted to get engaged in an ‘epic’ way. He asked contestants to share how long they had been dating, if she said yes, if he could keep a secret, who her favorite artists were and other questions. Singer-songwriter Adele was one of many artists Brunson listed. He submitted the one-minute video and waited. Soon after, the producers were in touch, but were very discreet about the details of what would happen.
Brunson says he was able to hide everything from Mann by taking calls after she went to work or while he was at work. Brunson’s work, it should be noted, is on the set of Nickelodeon’s “Side Hustle”. The producers of the show are all graduates of Syracuse. He drives a car with Syracuse plates. He’s bleeding Orange.
Brunson and Mann say their phones have “exploded” since the television special aired with messages from Syracuse to South Africa.
“We received stuff from India, China, Malaysia, South Africa, France, Canada, UK, Hawaii… everywhere,” shared the couple.
What a lot of people don’t know is that there was an epic evening opening act. Before escorting her blindfolded to Griffith Observatory, Brunson had taken Mann to a local park for a picnic with champagne. She thought it was the date. When they got back to the car Brunson told him to blindfold and trust him.
“We do weird stuff all the time,” Mann says. “It’s not unusual for us to do something strange. But, by all means, I did NOT think we were going to see Adele. That’s for sure. Or get engaged, which I never thought he would. I mean, I’ve only waited my whole life.
What took Brunson so long? “I knew it was her, but I didn’t know in terms of timing what was going to happen. I was expecting the right energy. People have been on me for YEARS. When this post arrived, I was like it looked like it was for me, and it ended up being for us!
The producers kept telling him that it would be something romantic and a unique opportunity. They didn’t tell him about the connection with Adele until a few weeks before the special, which was filmed at the end of October.
The celebrity-strewn audience was a surprise to Mann AND her man on one knee. Brunson paid a visit that morning, but the producers didn’t tell him that Melissa McCarthy, Lizzo, Leonardo DiCaprio and Drake, among dozens of other A-listers, would be watching.
The couple have a new Instagram account (@ashandqsayido) to document the details of the wedding planning as it goes. They will announce their date soon.
“We’re trying to get Adele, Oprah to be an officer and have her in Drake’s garden.” If we can get this combination, we think it’s going to be awesome, ”laughs the couple.
And since Mann grew up in Ohio and Brunson in Rochester, it is not excluded that future children will one day choose Syracuse University. If you ask Brunson, it’s a no-brainer.
“Oh absolutely. I love this school and what it has done for me and my life, my career, my everything.