Slutty Vegan CEO Pinky Cole gets engaged at Essence Fest

Cole is expecting her second child this month with now-fiancé and fellow restaurateur, Derrick Hayes.

Slutty Vegan CEO Pinky Cole got engaged to fellow restaurateur Derrick Hayes over the weekend during the 2022 Essence Festival in New Orleans. 

Cole’s partner of two years presented her with an engagement ring on bended knee while the pair were on stage (in matching outfits) with a panel of speakers on Day 2 of the Essence Festival of Culture. The moment was captured on video and shared on social media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. 

“I just want to show you that these last two years, you changed my life,” Hayes says. “You did a lot. You’ve been having my back a long time, more than anybody in this world. So, I want to make this real.”

A visibly emotional Cole responds, “Of course I do! F–k yeah, I do!” 

Hayes also posted on Instagram a short clip of his future wife’s engagement ring along with the caption, “How I do?”

Actress Naturi Naughton replies, “You killed it.”

Sabrina Jackson of The Glam University comments, “Great job 🙌! So proud of you,” adding “Thanks for being a man for her.”

Another IG user says, “you did amazing and the matching outfits help set it off.”

Cole and Hayes are parents to a daughter, D Ella Hayes. Hayes also has two daughters from a previous relationship, PEOPLE reports. The couple is expecting a second child this month, according to the AJC.

“Derrick thought he could only make girls, so when we found out we were having a girl, we decided to make her a girl junior,” Cole previously told PEOPLE. “[She’s] such a special baby with a simple but unique name.”

Hayes is not only a proud girl dad, but he’s also a beloved member of his community and the CEO of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks in Atlanta. According to the AJC, the cheesesteak eatery provided free meals to “health care heroes” and distributed medical supplies to nearby hospitals during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 “Although Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks has earned its popularity through its delicious food, this Black-owned business aims to not just feed its community, but actively participate in uplifting the community,” the company’s website says. 

Meanwhile, as the founder and owner of the popular Slutty Vegan plant-based burger chain, Cole wants to venture beyond Atlanta and Georgia. According to various media reports, she plans to open locations in Birmingham, Alabama and Brooklyn, New York.

In the January/February issue of Essence magazine, the couple dished about their different business models when it comes to the food they serve. 

“To be honest, there was a business concern that I am in the vegan community and he’s not,” Cole told the publication. “But what I realize is who cares what people say. Even though we’re different, we can still exist together and still love each other — because we are tapped into each other’s hearts.”

She added, “And whoever’s got something to say about that can kick rocks.”

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