Lori Harvey’s Love Life Could Actually Teach Us Something

Photo: Gotham/GC Images.
On 13th January, model and skincare entrepreneur Lori Harvey celebrated her 26th birthday in a big way, wowing her followers with a high fashion photoshoot and snapshots from her FOMO-inducing star-studded birthday party. As always, she looked great, but even more eye-catching than Harvey’s birthday ‘fit was the reveal of her new boyfriend, Snowfall star Damson Idris. The surprise boyfriend probate, tucked conveniently in the middle of an Instagram photoset, showed the celebrity couple smizing for the camera, setting the internet ablaze with hot takes, congratulations, and tears. Lori and Damson — that certainly wasn’t on our 2023 celebrity gossip bingo card.
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Part of the reason this new pairing has the internet all riled up (besides folks mourning the new relationship status of their celebrity crush) is the fact that we know quite a bit about Harvey’s dating history — rather, we think we know about her dating history. In the past few years, Harvey has been romantically linked with a number of people (including Trey Songz, Future, Justin Combs, and Lewis Hamilton), but only a few of those couplings have ever been made official by way of Instagram, most memorably her year-long relationship with our internet boyfriend Michael B. Jordan. (There has yet to emerge a new young Hollywood couple as aggressively and oppressively attractive since their high-profile breakup last summer.)
As she’s been in the spotlight, Harvey’s love life has unfortunately also been the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism, with many glossing over major professional achievements like her modelling career or her skincare line to take issue with the fact that she’s been rumoured to be connected to these different Hollywood men over the years. The sexist running joke is that, like MCU supervillain Thanos with the Infinity Stones, Harvey is collecting boyfriends. Collecting these men for what insidious reason, these jokers couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you what’s driving the negative discourse: misogynoir.
Because sexism and racism are at the core of so much of our culture, dating and the pursuit of romance are notoriously challenging for Black women, who often find themselves ranked last on the list of many people’s dating preferences. It gets even harder if you’re fat, dark-skinned, or poor. As a slender, light-skinned millionaire, Harvey just so happens to not deal with any of those particular add-ons of misogynoir, but as demonstrated by the uproar about her new relationship, that doesn’t protect her from the wave of harmful jokes and online abuse from strangers who have no clue what’s going on in her life beyond paparazzi pictures and Instagram posts. She’s still a Black woman doing her own thing — of course she’s being unfairly condemned.
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In reality, Harvey’s love life isn’t actually all that scandalous. She’s in her mid-twenties, exploring her very (very!) niche dating pool and making the most of it. You’re supposed to get to know new people. You’re supposed to make deep connections. And if the relationship isn’t right for you, you’re supposed to wipe your tears and move on.

“Because I’ve been so quiet this whole time, the Internet has created narratives for me,” Harvey told Essence Magazine just last month of the obsession with her love life. “People are just taking whatever bits of gossip and rumours that they have, and then creating that as a truth. The majority of the time, it’s so far from the truth. So it can be tough.”
In reality, Harvey’s love life isn’t actually all that scandalous. She’s in her mid-twenties, exploring her very (very!) niche dating pool and making the most of it. You’re supposed to get to know new people. You’re supposed to make deep connections. And if the relationship isn’t right for you, you’re supposed to wipe your tears and move on. In an ideal world, one that could also involve me being in the same social circle as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II or Winston Duke and having a shot with them, that’s what we’d all have the emotional bandwidth and resources to do. We’d meet attractive people and connect with them, whether for a good time or a long time, and get back to playing the field in the event that things didn’t work out. 
If anything, one might say that we should actually be supportive towards Harvey’s approach to modern dating. Inspired by it, even. Between groundhogging, zombieing, wokefishing, and all the other truly wretched dating trends people are being subjected to, the 2023 dating scene can be a hellscape, making the search for your dream love story feel more like a nightmare. Though we may not exactly be in the same boat as Harvey, who quite literally dated the Sexiest Man Alive, it wouldn’t hurt any of us to take a page from her outlook towards dating, which she told Essence hinges on being a lover girl while also “not compromising [her] peace and happiness for anything or anybody.” 
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“Love yourself,” reiterated Harvey in the cover interview. “Put yourself on the highest pedestal, and don’t ever come down.”
There’s absolutely no shame in knowing what you’re worth and what you want, and accepting nothing less. That’s the Lori Harvey way, and honestly? I love it for her.
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