We all can agree that the dating jungle can be treacherous at times, so much so that many simply throw their hands up and give up on it all together. There is however, a beacon of light; The Shawn Mackenzi Agency. “The Shawn Mackenzi Agency is an upscale matchmaking company. We work with African Americans and Latinos all across the country. Some of our clients are professional business people, celebrities, athletes, and basically anyone that is looking for love.”
With a client list that reads like a who’s who in Hollywood, (you may have also seen her on the current season of LisaRaye: The Real McCoy) it’s obvious they know what their doing. “You know, it’s quite funny. I never really saw myself becoming a matchmaker. I worked in the entertainment industry for 12 years doing many different things; from artist management, artist development and music marketing. Throughout my career I’ve always been the go to person for relationships. So, when it came to deciding the next step in my life, I was watching Millionaire Matchmaker, and I said to myself that I don’t really know of any African American matchmakers. Now, I’m married and have been for almost nine years, so I don’t have the single problem, but I do recognize that a lot of my friends do. So, I thought this would something cool to do, see where it takes me and I started the agency November 2009 and since then I’ve been moving full steam!”
The use of a matchmaker is not something most people are used to and probably don’t even know how the whole thing works. “Well, matchmaking is different from online dating in many ways. We work individually with each client. We have a database that we utilize when we are matching a client with other compatible singles. Another thing we do is scouting on behalf of our client. If I don’t have your particular match, then I go out and I search for it. Whereas with online dating, you’re really left on your own to weed trough the crazies. We search individually on each person; we make sure they are cleared in their background. We want to make sure they are legitimate people. We want to make sure that if we are matching you with someone that you are who you say you are. That’s something that you really don’t get these days with online dating or just dating in general.”
What’s the process after I’m officially a client? “The process we have is that we work with everyone to try and make sure we listen to what the client says they are looking for and find them that person that they need. Also, my job is really to push them to do things outside their normal pattern. If you’re used to dating a certain type and you find that that type is not working for you, then I want to challenge you to go outside of your norm.”
As with any profession; no matter how excellent you are at it, there are always challenges. I asked her had she ever come across anyone that was “unmatchable”. “(laughs) You know, I can say that there are clients that are more ‘matchable’ than others. It really comes down to a couple of things; as much as we want to say that matchmaking is not superficial, but the reality is that we are in a world where image is everything. So, sometimes you may get a client that may not look her very best but still want to give her the best possible service. If I find that sometimes she’s not what men may consider an 8, 9 or 10 then that makes it a little bit harder for me to sell her. Then again, I could have a beautiful woman who is gorgeous in every rite, but just may have unrealistic goals and aspirations of a man may be unmatchable too. It can be difficult all the way around.”
Seeing as though the agency caters to dating needs of very affluent and celebrity clients; the threat of gold diggers may be an issue. “I’ve been living in L.A. for almost twenty years. Gold diggers are really easy to spot. Women are all superficial in some ways; we all like nice things, nice cars, etc, but then you see the ones that are really looking for something specific. Most women who come to us…even men (there are men gold diggers too!) that come to us and they say ‘I want a man that makes 7 figures!’, but she has never graduated college; that is a question mark to me. That’s not to say that you can’t be someone who has had success without a college degree, but if you are asking for the world, but you can’t give it….that’s a red flag to me.”
With the web and television being inundated with online dating services and other matchmakers what is the real evidence of success? “I think what qualifies success really is in the happiness of your clients. The success of matchmaking comes in terms of numbers. A lot of people as ‘what is your success rate?’. While it’s great that you can say you’ve married people or matched a certain amount of people, really it comes down to how many of your clients are happy. If their meeting people and their happy…that’s success in my book. I don’t think I have one client that is unhappy. If I find that someone isn’t happy; I’ll do everything I can to make sure they are.”
You can get more information about The Shawn Mackenzi Agency on their website at www.shawnmackenzi.com or follow them on Twitter at @BlackMatchmaker.
Vonda Howard is the author of four novels, including the widely popular, D-Cup Dives Series that features sexy, and confident plus sized women. She is also the Editor-In-Chief of Black Literature Magazine. She also enjoys appletinis, gummy bears, Chipotle and all things filled with glitter and sparkles.