Delilah Kaufman and Tricia Sullivan had never met before. Kaufman walked into an empty room through a door on the left, while Sullivan entered the one on the right. They exchanged a brief introduction, let out a few nervous laughs, and slowly inched closer toward each other. Then, they kissed.
This type of immediate intimacy was the subject of freshmen Austin Wilder and Corey Malone’s project, Emerson’s First Kiss. The idea was based off of Tatia Pilieva’s short video “First Kiss,” which went viral this past month. In the piece, strangers are filmed kissing each other for the first time.
Malone, a freshman marketing commnications major, said she and Wilder became interested in doing this kind of video at Emerson after seeing a version done by a friend at Northwestern University.
“No matter where you are, kissing is one of those things that people get,” Malone said. “Different videos across the country can all turn out the same in a way because it’s a human thing. It’s a simple form of connection, so it’s very universal. So I don’t think our video will be too different, but it will have some Emerson character in it.”
Malone and Wilder said there was an application process for participating so they could take into account people’s preferences and availability. Initially, Wilder said, over 250 people showed interest on their Facebook page. He said that ultimately, 90 people submitted applications via email, and 40 people actually showed up to be filmed on Sunday, March 30. The duo said they expected a smaller turnout due to people having hectic weekend schedules.
Wilder said they wanted their video to be more organic and natural than the original. Instead of pairing students ahead of time, he said they would walk out into the hallway, look around, and choose two at random, based on their preferences.
Camille Lerner, a senior visual and media arts major, ended up kissing a fellow senior, James Cajigas, and said the experience was strange, but enjoyable.
“It was fun because you know what’s going on, so people are nervous, and the energy was high,” Lerner said. “And then it was a fun little release of tension.
Both Kaufman, a freshman visual and media arts major, and Sullivan, a sophomore writing, literature, and publishing major, said that they submitted applications but didn’t actually think they’d attend. Kaufman was brought by a friend, while Sullivan said she was in a classroom in Walker next to the room where the event was taking place, and decided she should try it.
“Everyone was so happy after, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m doing it,’ she said. “So it was kind of a split-second decision.”
They both described the moment of kissing one another as scary, but fun.
“It goes to show you how easily you can meet someone and hook up with them,” Kaufman said. “The possibilities are endless. If you watch the videos, it seems like some people had instant connections and maybe they went off and started dating. I’m hoping that happened to some other people. Maybe somebody got lucky today at Emerson College.”
Malone said that the day of filming went well, seeing as there were no rejections, and nobody admitted to regretting their kiss.
“Some of them were kind of awkward; not going to lie,” he said. “I mean, it’s an awkward thing. But some of them were really sweet. There was one where they were laughing and joking around — it was fun. Some people really just connected. A few of them had instant chemistry.”
Wilder said that they plan to post the video by the end of the week. Ultimately, Wilder said he hopes that the video will show that kissing and intimacy aren’t as stressful as people make it out to be, and Malone agreed.
“It really shows that you can meet somebody and just kiss them, and it’s not a big deal,” Malone said. “It’s very human. It’s very simple. In the days of ‘When do I respond to their text?’ and this and that and all of those rules, stuff like this can still be simple.”