This story is part of GQ’s Modern Lovers issue.
Zack Fox and Kat Matutina fell in love as only a wellness influencer and a viral comedian can: orbiting each other on Instagram. “My first words to him were probably ‘LOL,’ ” says Matutina, trying to recall who slid into whose DMs first. “Or ‘Where’s that sandwich from?’ ”
The L.A.-based duo, who ran in overlapping circles in the music industry, spent months swapping comments on each other’s Stories before Fox invited Matutina to one of his shows. Both are multi-hyphenate creatives with several plates in the air: Matutina DJs, runs a handful of fitness and holistic wellness programs, and hosts a sexual-health podcast, while Zack is a comedian with a verging-on-serious rap career.
The middle of that Venn diagram is music, where their relationship took shape. “One of the first things that drew me to Kat was her extensive music knowledge,” Fox says. His awe came as a relief to Matutina, who was more accustomed to music-industry douchebags being intimidated by her expertise. She schooled him in techno and house history, while he got her hooked on Atlanta rap. They traded ’80s boogie anthems and niche R&B cuts. Even when it came to the music they had in common, their 10-year age gap meant wildly different reference points: When she was collecting Tevin Campbell on vinyl in college, he was falling in love with Campbell’s voice as Powerline in A Goofy Movie.
The two spent their first date back in 2018 ice skating, inspired by Fox’s favorite film, Hitch. “He knows every line,” Matutina swears. The two of them devote more than a few heartfelt minutes to breaking down the moral of the movie to me and explaining how true it rings to their own lives. Of course, they know real romance doesn’t exactly look like Kevin James doing the wave to Usher’s “Yeah!” But sometimes, they admit, they like to lean into the corniness of it all.
Somewhere amid Matutina’s encyclopedic familiarity with every music genre known to man were a few picks that seemed almost specially tailored to Fox’s taste, like “Finna Hit a Lick” by Lil B, one of his all-time-favorite artists. She posted a screenshot of the video to her Story early in their relationship—which he took as a sign that she didn’t take herself too seriously. “That’s why we’re compatible,” Matutina adds. “Neither of us take ourselves that seriously.”
That playfulness lies at the heart of their sartorial habits too, whether it’s Matutina’s passion for monochromatic neon or the gold-cat-embroidered corduroy loafers Zack’s been living in since last March. “Kat had this athletic swag,” he remembers noticing when they met. “She looks like at any moment she could be a side character in Tron. You would see Kat outside and, like, your eyes would hurt.” In quarantine, she’s dialed things down a few watts, but her silky pants and sweats still get the monochrome treatment.
Fox, on the other hand, has leaned further into a particular brand of soft, nerdy style that Matutina clocked as instantly attractive when they first met—think corduroy, printed fleece zips, high-water pants. He says he likes to look “aerodynamic” but admits it’s closer to “divorced dad” than cyberpunk. “I look like I work at Blick, and I’m cool with that,” he asserts. “The dad shit is more fun.”
They take a break at this point because Matutina’s chihuahua, Kiwi, who’s been sitting in her lap, seems to be getting bored. Fox moves the pup to his lap.
Less than a month after they made the relationship official, Zack moved to New York to host Vice Live, and the two went long-distance. Matutina would join him for a week at a time on the East Coast, and after the show got canceled, she’d meet him on tour, where they’d squeeze into those coffin-like tour-bus beds. Anyone who’s traveled with a significant other will tell you it’s the ultimate relationship test—and they passed with flying colors. “We traveled really well together,” Matutina says. “We made a good team.”
Finally, at the end of 2020, the pair settled into a roomy Los Angeles apartment together. Cohabitation hasn’t been much of an adjustment for a couple who’s embraced radical transparency from the start—a necessity for two public figures whose sex lives feature prominently in their professional work. An old clip of Fox on Comedy Central centers on an elaborate riff about ass play, and Matutina is just as frank on her podcast, where she openly discusses relationships past and present, and where Fox is sometimes mildly surprised but never upset to hear his name come up.
“I always felt comfortable talking about anything,” Matutina says, which set the tone for openness within and without their relationship. Skipping all the courtship rituals of hiding intimate details, Fox says, was new for him and ultimately helped bring them together. And while they don’t necessarily set rules about what does and doesn’t get to be public, neither of them is concerned that the other will cross a boundary. “There’s stuff we would keep private,” Fox says, “but definitely not the fact that we have sex.”
So their rom-com story is a little more racy than Hitch. But they make room for plenty of chaste, cornball antics every day. And at the end of the day, like any loving couple, they slip into their matching flannel pajamas and go to bed.
A version of this story originally appeared in the March 2021 issue with the title “Big Love and Huge Fits.”
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Photographs by Julian Burgueño