“I thought he was very cute so I just slid into his DMs," she admits a laugh. At the time, Kelianne, a 24-year-old social media personality who rose to fame on TikTok at the start of the pandemic, was in Texas with friends.
She recalls starting off with a simple, "Hey," but Chase, a 27-year-old father of two, tells a different story. He promptly replied, but after one message, realized he needed to make an impression, stat.
"I responded and said, “Hey, what’s up?” and then she sent this long paragraph of what she was doing in detail, and I was like, 'Okay, so I need to respond with more than a sentence or she is not going to be interested!'"
Apparently, whatever he said caught her attention, and the two went back-and-forth on Instagram for a day before he asked for her phone number.
“I FaceTimed her immediately because I wanted to see if she was real, and not a catfish trying to do something to me,” explains Chase. She didn’t answer, but instead messaged him asking if he meant to FaceTime her. “I said, ‘Yes, answer your phone!’ Then she answered, and she was a real person,” he recalls, laughing.
Kelianne and Chase were both raised in Southern California—she in Riverside, he in Ontario—just twenty miles apart. Kelianne grew up singing, dancing and doing gymnastics. She was a member of the U.S. National Acrobatic Gymnastics Team and once competed in the World Championships. Her love of performing inspired her to move to Los Angeles at 19 to pursue a career in entertainment.
Chase, meanwhile, had smoldering good looks that were destined to be noticed. At 16, while working at a Hollister store in his local mall, Chase was discovered by a modeling agent. Jobs for Abercrombie, bebe, Calvin Klein and Jockey soon followed.
Like most twenty-somethings, Kelianne dabbled in social media for years. However, it was not until the pandemic began that her TikTok account caught fire. In April of 2020, she had amassed 3 million followers. By May, that number had climbed to 4 million, and by June, she had 5 million followers. (Today, she has 10 million.)
Kelianne showed off her years of gymnastics training—and her incredible strength—on camera, doing flips, walking down a flight of stairs on her hands and dancing on a hoverboard. "I’ve always loved making videos," she says. "When I was 14, my friends and I would make silly videos all the time. It’s cool now that it’s my job to just make content."
Most of the videos she posted were dance compilations with her roommates and close friends Tayler Holder and Nate Wyatt.
“The Trio,” as they were commonly called, became members of The Hype House, and later, moved into a mansion in Calabasas known as The Triller Compound. Both locations are considered “content creator collectives,” or, in layman’s terms, sprawling mansions where TikTok’s newest stars film videos day after day.
Chase, meanwhile, was living in Orange County with his daughters, Hazel, 7, and Nora, 4, overseeing Zoom school.
His own TikTok following began to grow during quarantine, as well. He shared snippets of his life as a dad, posting videos of himself doing push-ups with the girls on his back, taking them to the beach, and trying to teach them how to ride a bike. While everyday videos, each began garnering hundreds of thousands and, then, millions of likes. (He now has 2.4 million followers and over 100 million likes.)
The two didn’t appear on each other’s social media platforms until July of 2020. By then, they had gone on their first date—in Newport Beach; shared their first kiss—in his garage; and taken their first road trip—a getaway to San Francisco for Chase’s 26th birthday. They both remember his birthday clearly because Chase told Kelianne that he loved her, another first. “I didn’t mean to say it,” Chase explains. “I was like, ‘Oh, shoot. She’s going to run away.’ But then she said it back.”
The relationship moved quickly on account of Covid, while everything was shut down and they couldn't do "normal things," Kelianne theorizes. “We had a lot of time to spend together and get to know each other,” she says. “Chase was such a gentleman. He was very sweet and treated me very well, which I was not used to.” Chase felt a similar contrast to past relationships. “I’ve never been with a girl who always wanted to be with me, who was all about me,” he explains. “It was nice to feel loved and wanted.”
As summer turned into fall, and the world opened up somewhat, the two began doing things that normal, non-pandemic couples have always done. They went out to dinner for sushi and Korean barbecue, Kelianne took Chase skydiving, and they spent Sundays watching his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers on TV. They also traveled together, driving to Palm Springs and Big Sur, and flying to Florida, Hawaii, and Pittsburgh, for a game. "We are very adventurous people and we like to travel," Chase says. "I think every month since we started dating we have traveled somewhere."
Though Kelianne was not a football aficionado before they began dating, Chase made a concerted effort to explain the sport to her.
“I used to watch football growing up, but had no idea what was going on,” she says. “Chase really takes his time and explains everything to me so now I understand what’s happening.” When asked if she was becoming a Steelers fan, Chase interjected, “She IS a Steelers fan. This relationship would not work if she wasn’t.”
Their relationship also works for other—dare we say, more important—reasons.
“Everything with Chase just felt so different than any other past relationship,” explains Kelianne. “It usually takes me a while to figure out if I have feelings for someone, or if I can see something with us, but I knew immediately. We just connected so well.”
Chase felt the exact same way and began dreaming up an elaborate proposal, despite the fact that they had only been dating for six months. First, he cornered her parents in their garage on Thanksgiving to ask for their blessing.
“Originally, I was just going to ask her dad, but I got too nervous and chickened out,” he admits. “Then I decided to ask them at the same time.” Kelianne’s parents, Kelly and Leanne Stankus, after whom she is named, gave Chase their blessing and promised to keep his plans a secret.
Turns out a lot of people had to keep his secret. “We lived with a whole house of creators,” Chase explains. “There were eight of us and they are all really close to Kelianne, so I pretty much asked their permission as well. I told them two or three weeks prior.” Tayler, her frequent collaborator, was a big part of the plan. The morning of December 12th, Tayler told the couple that he had booked a helicopter tour along the coast, but that his girlfriend was stuck in Mexico, so he couldn’t use it. He said he had already paid for the flight, and for a videographer to accompany them, and didn’t want the trip to go to waste.
Chase and Kelianne accepted his offer, and Chase suggested that they dress up a little so they could take photos along the way. Without Kelianne knowing, Chase called the videographer the night before and asked him for a favor. He wanted the videographer to tell the couple that he wanted to blindfold them before they landed to keep the location a surprise. Astoundingly, Kelianne wasn’t the least bit suspicious. “You would think that I would know because…who goes on a helicopter?” she says, laughing, “but it just felt like another day, which is really crazy to say. It just felt like we were making content, so I had zero idea.”
As instructed, the videographer blindfolded Kelianne, but not Chase. “Afterward, we landed on a private hilltop in Malibu that you can only get to by helicopter,” recalls Chase. “I had this whole thing set up with champagne and roses. We walked over there, she took off her blindfold and then I hopped down on one knee.” Fortunately, she accepted his proposal, because Chase had ordered custom hoodies with the words “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” crossed out, and “fiancé” and “fiancée” printed underneath.
The newly engaged couple spent a few hours there before flying back and returning to The Triller Compound, where 100 of their friends and family members were waiting to celebrate with them.
The next day, on TikTok, Chase shared the exciting news, along with behind-the scenes footage of his secret scheme. Likewise, Kelianne posted a video montage, which included a picture of her wearing the 1.75 carat, diamond-framed ring in 14k white gold. While photos and videos from their relationship circulated, “Happiest Year” by Jaymes Young played. The couple’s romantic recaps were viewed more than 14 million times, proving that their relationship is highly coveted content.
How much of the wedding planning they’ll share with their supporters is yet to be seen. Though they posted a few breathtaking engagement portraits taken atop a cliff in Yosemite National Park on Instagram, they don’t want their platforms to be too “couple-y,” to use Chase’s word. “We try not to have our content overly saturated with just us,” Chase explains. “Kelianne does her own thing, and I like to do my thing on my own, or with the girls,” he says. “We like to give people options of what to watch—not just this lovey, sappy couple.”
The pair has set a date and reserved a venue, but they are keeping those details to themselves for obvious reasons. Kelianne has chosen her dress, but is keeping that a secret too, mostly because she does not want Chase to know anything about it—or see her in it—until she walks down the aisle. As for Chase’s wedding day wardrobe? He wants to wear all black but is still deciding between a tuxedo and a suit. “I love wearing tuxedos and suits and wish I could wear them more,” he says.
Here's what they were willing to reveal: They are not rushing to the altar, in hopes that Covid will no longer be a major concern by the time they get married. “I remember when we looked at venues, one was set up how it would be with Covid protocols in place, and it looked very sad to us,” recalls Kelianne. “Only six people could sit together, and they were 13 feet apart from other people,” Chase added. “It was like, ugh.” For those reasons, explains Kelianne, “we picked a date far in the future to make sure the wedding could be the way we wanted it.”
With the help of Los Angeles-based event planner Christine S. Chang of Live.Love.Create Events, they will welcome family and friends into Kelianne’s vision of an enchanted fairytale forest. “We both want our wedding to be a really good time for everyone,” says Kelianne. “We just want to have a fun party, basically, celebrating us.”
In the new year, the couple looks forward to tasting cakes, writing their own vows, and planning their honeymoon. Kelianne is also very excited about the January release of her first single, a pop song called “Boys.” Last December, Kelianne, Tayler and Nate debuted their first song together, “It Feels Like Christmas,” but “Boys” is her first solo effort. “I’ve been working on music for almost two years now, so it’s been a long process of trying to figure out my sound, what type of music I want to make, and what I want to sing about,” says Kelianne. “It has been a long journey.”
Kelianne—who is dropping her maiden name for the purposes of her music career—has a few other songs in the pipeline that she collaborated on with songwriter and producer Sophie Rose. “My entire family is very musical, so music has been a big thing my entire life,” she says. “I am excited to finally pursue it myself.”
Meanwhile, Chase plans to continue taking acting classes online and pursue his dreams of playing a superhero on the big screen. He appeared with Kelianne in the Facebook Watch reality show “House of Creators” this past spring and filmed a cameo in a movie currently in production called “Rose All Day.”
The couple acknowledges that working in social media, while also pursuing singing and acting—and planning a wedding—can be stressful for both of them. “It’s definitely hard to find the right balance,” Kelianne says. “Obviously, we post our life, so it can be overwhelming. To stay sane, we like to do things just for us—and not post them.” They also try to put their phones away each night and simply enjoy each other’s company.
Thinking about their future as husband and wife helps too. “I’m excited to grow old together,” says Kelianne, who has been fantasizing about their dream home, on a farm with chickens and goats. “I know she also wants lots of babies, and I’ve said that we can have two more,” shares Chase, who is hoping for two boys to go with his two girls. If the couple’s vision is realized, there will be plenty more content coming our way!
Photography Valorie Darling
Creative Direction Anna Price Olson
Beauty Direction Lindsey Metrus
Hair & Makeup Emma Willis
Bridal Styling Gabrielle Hurwitz
Groom’s Attire Men’s Wearhouse
Location Neutra Hailey Residence
Production Wonder Partners
Booking Talent Connect Group