Amiaya Carey vowed she wasn’t going to date anyone for a long time.
Then she started bonding with Jaide.
Last year, I profiled Jaide Hinds-Clarke, who was a standout basketball player at the University of Richmond. Clarke scored 1,130 points in four seasons — 17th in school history — and finished her career with the sixth-most blocks (72) in Richmond’s history as well.
Meanwhile, Carey was on the track and field team at rival VCU, securing multiple top-10 finishes in the high jump during three separate Atlantic 10 Championships.
The two athletes were first introduced four years ago, and as Carey puts it, “there was no interest at the time.”
But that started to change in mid-2019 — about six months after Carey had vowed on New Year’s Eve to stay single for the foreseeable future.
Good thing New Year’s Resolutions aren’t binding.
“They say when you fall in love with your best friend, it happens by accident, nothing has to be forced,” Carey said. “That’s exactly what happened.”
The couple got engaged May 28, just days before the start of Pride month. At the end of their dinner, Hinds-Clarke brought out cupcakes with the life-changing message: “Will you marry me?”
During their engagement photo shoot the following week, Carey surprised Hinds-Clarke with her own proposal — and flowers.
“Amiaya is very caring,” said Hinds-Clarke said. ““Just noticing the little things she would do to go out of her way for literally anybody. That’s when I knew this is the person I want to be with. You don’t have to question her love and care for people — and especially me.”
It was a whirlwind senior season for Hinds-Clarke, who played her last basketball game on March 7, 2020. One week later, Richmond closed campus due to Covid-19, and Hinds-Clarke was on her way home to New Jersey.
Fortunately, Hinds-Clarke was slated to attend graduate school at VCU in the fall. She drove back to Virginia about two months later to reunite with Carey.
And she hasn’t left. The happy couple recently moved in together.
Crucially, Hinds-Clarke and Carey support each other in all of their endeavors, and both women are busy. Hinds-Clarke, who started an organization at Richmond for LGBTQ students of color, recently graduated from VCU’s Center for Sports Leadership.
Carey works as a behavioral specialist for children with autism.
“Amiaya means a lot to me in the cliche sense — she’s now my fiancée — but being with someone who’s able to accept you for who you are, all the quirks, and all the little weird things I do from time to time, she doesn’t really make much of it,” Hinds-Clarke said. “It’s good to be in a relationship with someone who’s going to support you through whatever it is.”
The devotion is mutual. Whenever something happens to Amiaya, she knows Jaide will want to know about it.
They are partners in every sense.
“I’m not big on the ‘best friend’ label,” Carey said. “But if I had to describe what I thought a best friend is supposed to be, that would be Jaide.”