It was love at first sight for at least one of the Kazanjians

| January 27, 2022 | 0 Comments

THE KAZANJIANS will celebrate their 20th anniversary in May.

It was love at first sight for Olivia when she met Steve Kazanjian at a dinner party in 1999.

Things could have gone terribly wrong. Olivia was helping in the kitchen, when the host — a mutual friend of the couple though the pair had never met — got a call from Steve inviting himself and a few of his friends.

Olivia, who is half French, was not okay with this abrupt change of plans. “With French people, food is really important, and so is who is coming,” she explained in a telephone interview last month.

“Some guy is coming over with five guys from work … la-di-da … I don’t have enough food,” she remembers thinking at the time.

But when the last-minute guests arrived with savory whiffs of five rotisserie chickens and carrying an assortment of cheeses and baguettes, “I thought, this guy knows what he’s doing!” said Olivia.

“He’s polite and kind, and he knows how to command a situation in the best way, and he continues to do so today. He makes stressful situations all okay. I feel very, very lucky I found my Steve.”

So when did Steve fall for Olivia?

“Maybe three years ago,” he jokes on the mutual call.

“He keeps me laughing,” Olivia says, adding fun to her husband’s long list of attributes.

Admittedly, Steve fell in love much more slowly, but fall he did, prompted by a life milestone and a magical ring.

About a year after the dinner party, he invited Olivia to a large party for his 30th birthday, and he suggested they have dinner before.

Also, around that time, Steve saw a diamond sparkling on Olivia’s pinkie finger. The ring had been her grandmother’s, and the couple was surprised to learn Steve’s grandfather, a jeweler, had sold the ring to Olivia’s grandfather years before.

“My grandfather is the biggest person in my life,” Steve said. He had miraculously escaped the Armenian genocide, arrived in the U.S. via Ellis Island, and, with his brother, founded a jewelry business and eventually settled in Beverly Hills.

So when Steve saw the ring on Olivia’s finger, it was as if his grandfather was telling him to “propose, already.”
The couple’s Old World immigrant lineage — her French and his Armenian (the gritty, artistic, roll-up-your-sleeves side) — “is a big part of why we were drawn to each other,” says Olivia.

The other sides of their families trail back three generations from various Southern California locales, including Mansfield Avenue, where Steve’s great-grandmother had lived.

Olivia and Steve, who live on S. Lucerne Blvd. in Windsor Square, also credit communication and listening skills among tools they learned early on, including how a couple gets to write its own book, rather than work from bad habits and scripts from the past.

They also agreed to be equals in a partnership and share mutual respect at home — they have two daughters, Stella and Grace, who attend The Episcopal School of Los Angeles — and in their professions.

Steve is president and CEO of Promax, a nonprofit entertainment marketing company. Olivia is a jewelry designer and an estate jewelry dealer.

They also credit their tight-knit neighborhood with strengthening their bond. “For us it’s like any other small hometown,” says Olivia.

Giving back is also important to the couple; they support NGA Hancock Park, Covenant House and Alexandria House.

“It’s so easy to give back, especially in our neighborhood,” says Olivia.

Longing after Steve before he asked her out has made their life so much sweeter, she said. “We were friends for about a year. If I’d never had to pine away, it wouldn’t have worked out.”

But those were hard times. Being old school, she didn’t call guys, so when he didn’t pursue her, she felt there was nothing for her in the States. Her bags were packed, and she was moving to France.

Until he invited her to dinner.

Things moved quickly after that, and in May they will be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.

“We feel very, very fortunate to have each other and to have this neighborhood,” said Olivia.

Steve agrees. Although he adds that she still can’t pronounce his last name.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: People

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *