First Encounter: Carla Smith & Anthony Lewis

Photo by Stacy-Ann Ellis.

For the first episode of First Encounter, a new series exploring the origins of relationships, ILY takes a trip to the very beginning of Carla Smith and Anthony Lewis’ love.

Words and photos by Stacy-Ann Ellis

Although the sting of being curved doesn’t feel too good in the moment, it doesn’t mean love can’t grow where the seed was planted. Just ask Carla Smith, who after enduring mild rejection from her then-crush Anthony Lewis in her teens (or simply male obliviousness), later wound up in a four-year-strong relationship with the same man years later.


Their journey started in the Upper West Side at Fiorello H. Laguardia High School as colleagues testing the waters from the boundaries of the friend zone. However, when they went their separate ways for college–her to Howard University in D.C. and him to Indiana’s DePauw University and The Art Institute of New York City–their friendship would snake through twists, turns, ups and downs before settling into the comfort of unflinchingly choosing each other.

While Carla and Anthony’s road to love was neither cookie-cutter nor easy–but whose is these days–the beauty of what they have right now was well worth it.

For the first episode of “First Encounter,” a new series on ILY exploring the origins of relationships, Carla Smith and Anthony Lewis tell the story of how they first met.

Co-produced by Stacy-Ann Ellis and Jessica Rovniak. Directed by Jessica Rovniak. Director of photography and editing by Mayellen Matson

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