Meet Sayra Lopez, the weightlifting UX designer who found love on Instagram - Technical.ly Philly

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Jun. 11, 2015 9:38 am

Meet Sayra Lopez, the weightlifting UX designer who found love on Instagram

Who needs Tinder?

Sayra Lopez at USA Weightlifting's American Open, December 2014.

(Courtesy photo)

Look, Sayra Lopez knows it sounds crazy but she fell in love with a guy she met on Instagram. They’re engaged. He’s about to move from England to Philadelphia to be with her.

But what’s crazy, anyway? Lopez, 25, doesn’t think it’s any crazier than her life up until now.

She grew up in Mexico’s Cuernavaca, a city of 350,000, south of Mexico City, where she spent much of her childhood as a competitive gymnast, training four hours a day, six days a week. She left home for the University of Pennsylvania and now she lives in Philadelphia, where she weightlifts competitively and works as a product designer for one of the country’s telecom giants: Comcast.

That is to say, the world is smaller now. Technology, among other things, has made it so. And for Lopez, technology created opportunity — not just for her career, but for her love life, too.

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The love affair starts on Instagram’s “Explore” tab.

He was a super photogenic weightlifter on the British National team. Lopez, a UX/UI designer at Philly startup Squareknot at the time, was just scrolling casually when she spotted him.

The photo in question: He’s at the British Championships, red sneakers, blue knee wraps. His muscles bulge and his face strains as he lifts an enormous barbell.

“Very cool photo!” she commented.

166 clean at the British Champs this weekend #PBs #clean #weightlifting #strong #crossfit

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A photo posted by Adam Mattiussi (@adammattiussi) on

Lopez, a petite woman with bright red hair and an apparent lack of shyness, wasn’t looking for love. Hardly. She was married at the time, to her college boyfriend, though it was swiftly coming to an end. The comment was just a little harmless Insta-flirting. She didn’t think twice about it.

But then he Instagram direct-messaged her — turns out he liked her photos, too.

A little Facebook stalking showed her that they had some mutual friends from the weightlifting world. From there, it moved to Snapchat (tame ones, she insists). Skype. WhatsApp. Hundreds of selfies. Until finally, they split the cost of a plane ticket and he appeared in Philadelphia. They hadn’t even been talking for two months at that point. They just knew.

Their airport meeting, last fall, was the moment of truth. Even though Lopez felt sure about her feelings, there was still a possibility that, during all those weeks of chatting and falling for each other, they had been under some sort of social media spell. (Not to mention that her friends, and his, too, kept saying they were each going to get catfished.)

But there was no spell.

“He’s even better looking in person,” she remembers thinking as he came into view.

His weeklong visit was perfect: they trained at her gym in Center City, went on a haunted hay ride, visited New York City.

Date night with @adammattiussi #bookofmormon #lovehim

A photo posted by Sayra Mattiussi (Lopez) (@sayra90) on

When the week was up, they said a tearful goodbye. Shortly after, Lopez competed in the USA Weightlifting American Open in Washington, D.C. Then she flew to England to visit him for New Year’s and that’s when he proposed. (She said yes.)

It happened just like that. All her friends were dumbfounded (“Everyone had opinions,” she said) but when they saw them together, they got it. But for real? Lopez just didn’t care what everyone thought.

“People are super judgmental,” she said.

She went back to visit him this spring, working remotely for Squareknot and picking up freelance UX work for a London-based mobile app called DogBuddy and for Ishqr, a dating app for Muslims that graduated from DreamIt Ventures last year.

Now they’re both making moves to live in the same city. He’s applying for a master’s program in sports business at Temple, and she left Squareknot for Comcast. (She wanted a corporate job because she’s going to support him while he’s in school.) The earliest he’ll be in Philly is January. For now, they use Voice Notes on WhatsApp, Facebook chat, Skype and Snapchat. As for Instagram, their accounts have become a chronicle of their romance, a wink to all the haters and a throwback to where they first met.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became Technical.ly's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

  • defastic

    Freaking love it. Whoop! Wishing you all the best.

  • Deez Nutz

    Cool story bro!!!

  • sammybaby

    People look funny when they lift. If you see someone lifting and like what you see, take note: there is a good chance that this is the person for you.

  • DaveVoyles

    Great piece. Love it when you profile talented developers in the area.

  • Ian Stewart

    Amazing… Sayra you’re awesome 🙂

  • TheMadMigetTeaching

    People are super judgemental- do you know why??? Because he was MY 6 year boyfriend at the time and you can sprout all the shit you want but he cheated.. and you knew so whilst great love story.. I think it fails to mention all the people who got hurt in the process. But , at the end if the day you did me a favour but please spare your “it’s a perfect love story shot because it’s not” … He was even still sleeping with me whilst messaging you so good luck trusting him 6years down the line!!!!

    • Cristine Hoffman

      Wow. You’re bitter.
      Look, it sucks to be left by anyone, but clearly it’s over. So if he did you a favor and you’re really done with him, why are you still trying to get a reaction out of her or him by interjecting in their relationship?
      I clearly don’t know you, nor do I want to, but I’m going to give you a piece of advice one lady to another, get over it and be a better person for it.
      This isn’t your place to speak negatively. And your comments only make you look bad. They make it look like you still aren’t over him and that’s sad because he’s obviously over you. So if you’re going for the pity vote, perhaps an article about their love for each other isn’t the place to seek it.
      Pull yourself together and air your grievances to your girlfriends, not in public.

    • technicallym

      See above: we do not allow comments that are sexual in nature.

  • Adam Congratulations

    What a load of shit! Your going to support his studies – you be careful! Adam Mattiussi has been supported for the last 6 years and had money thrown over him. He is a lying, cheating, selfish and manipulative boy – you can ignore this all you like but these qualities never go away!

    • Cristine Hoffman

      This is not the place for this.
      You don’t know her, not them together, and I’d say you don’t know him, but you’re clearly a friend of his ex girlfriends.
      This is sad.
      Are you in highschool?
      Grow up.
      You want to give out advice so badly, I have some for you:
      Mind your own business

    • Shannon McClernan

      First off, it’s about ten different levels of creepy that you created the name “Adam Congratulations” just to bash this post.
      Like, really? That’s just plain weird. Secondly, harassing someone, or an ex of someone you know will never make them want to come back to you, and degrades your own reputation, plus the reputations of your friends. This really is silly, primary school garbage. The past is the past yo, no matter how much it hurts. Keep it that way, and let people move on with their lives. Plus you should probably also do the same.

  • TheMadMigetTeaching

    Delete all you want doesn’t change what happen Sayra… More public you go the more I will voice what you both did – People are super judgemental- do you know why??? Because he was MY 6 year boyfriend at the time and you can sprout all the shit you want but he cheated.. and you knew so whilst great love story.. I think it fails to mention all the people who got hurt in the process. But , at the end if the day you did me a favour but please spare your “it’s a perfect love story shit because it’s not” … He was even still sleeping with me whilst messaging you so good luck trusting him 6years down the line!!!!

    • Cristine Hoffman

      Wow. You’re bitter. 
      Look, it sucks to be left by anyone, but clearly it’s over. So if he did you a favor and you’re really done with him, why are you still trying to get a reaction out of her or him by interjecting in their relationship?
      I clearly don’t know you, nor do I want to, but I’m going to give you a piece of advice one lady to another, get over it and be a better person for it.
      This isn’t your place to speak negatively. And your comments only make you look bad. They make it look like you still aren’t over him and that’s sad because he’s obviously over you. So if you’re going for the pity vote, perhaps an article about their love for each other isn’t the place to seek it.
      Pull yourself together and air your grievances to your girlfriends, not in public.

      • TheMadMigetTeaching

        Your right.. What right have I.. The person who got used and hurt to respond to a post where the person gets to continue their lies about how lovely they are… Everything comes at cost.. I don’t think it’s right that someone gets to go and post that their love story is magical etc when their selfish behaviour hurt so many people.. Call me bitter I don’t care because at the end of the day your defending a liar and a cheat!!!!!

        • Cristine Hoffman

          Oh sweetie.
          Tsk tsk.
          You’re*
          Le sigh.

    • ReggieNoble

      Wow, you do seem crazy. Kudos to Adam for getting out when he did. “I will voice what you both did” As far as I can tell all that happened was he got out of a relationship he wasn’t happy in and got into one he was. How can society sleep at night with these kinds of injustices in the world?!

      But wait, that’s not what’s important to this story. What’s important is “all the people who got hurt in the process” i.e. you. How do I get on the guest list to THAT pity party? To be honest, this just sounds like the story of a heart broken girl who’s having trouble moving on so she needs to bring down her ex to make herself feel better.

    • technicallym

      A final sentence of the above comment was removed by the Editor because it made an unsubstantiated claim that was sexual in nature. Please keep comments constructive. We do not allow comments that are vulgar or threatening. Thank you.

    • Shannon McClernan

      If she did you a favor, then why do you and your girlfriends have a habit of hawking the two of them on social media? That’s my question here.

      Because harassing an ex, does the opposite of making them want you back.

    • Vicky P

      If you want someone to talk to about this, I”m here for you

      just shoot me a line if you’re feeling depressed love, breakups are a bitch

  • Casually Observing

    Love when the comments are more entertaining than the article. Juliana, more like this please. You can finally be the Valleywag of the East.

  • Tam

    Sweet story Sayra 🙂 Best of luck to you two muscular enthusiasts

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