The ‘First Kiss’ Video: Where Are They Now?

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

You've seen David go to the Dentist, Charlie bite a finger, Rebecca Black wax poetic on Fridays, and if you haven't been living under a rock for the past two weeks you've also seen a dozen strangers experience their 'First Kiss' on film, in Wren's viral video of the same name, which happened to be the brainchild of the company's founder/designer and our friend, Melissa Coker:

The Fall '14 campaign video for my brand, Wren, debuted on Style.com on Monday, March 1o. Fast forward two weeks and it has 70 million views and counting—fast. Shows like Ellen, Good Morning America and even CNN covered it. Jimmy Fallon did a parody (with kittens!) for The Tonight Show. What was conceived as a fashion film for my upcoming collection—cast with friends from LA and directed by an old friend I met just out of high school—had turned into the fastest growing viral video of all time. Guys, we've even beat out Justin Beiber and One Direction. Like, woah.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty surreal for me, and I can only imagine what it’s been like for the people I asked to participate. So, I talked to them! Consider this Where Are They Now?: 'First Kiss' Edition.

—Melissa Coker, Founder & CEO, Wren

Soko, Singer [1-3]
Any fun moments come from being in the video?
Suddenly people are actually interested in my music. [Ed. note: Her single from the video's soundtrack, "We Might Be Dead Tomorrow" just debuted at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Streaming Songs list.] Two weeks ago, I was just recording a new album in Venice [California]. We had not a clue how, where, who would ever put it out, and no interest showed from anyone at all. After the video came out, suddenly, all these major labels surrounded me. That's pretty weird...
For fun, I've been getting a lot of lesbian love, which is awesome! Dream come true!
Have you been recognized by anyone due to the video?
Weirdly enough, I've been recognized a bunch. The funniest was when I was calling this rental car company Midway, begging them to lend me a car for a bit longer. Straight up, the girl on the phone was like, "I saw your First Kiss video—it's amazing. I'll see what I can do!" So I guess that helped me get a free, awesome spaceship car for a bit.
What did you think when I asked you to be a part of the video? What inspired you to say yes?
I've been in a mindset where the more I say yes to things, the more awesome things come my way. So, how could I ever say no? Although I didn’t  know that much about the concept of the video, I knew I was going to get my make out on camera, and I'm always down for some kissing action. Kisses and cuddles are my favorite things in the whole wide world! I had asked if I could kiss a girl rather than a guy. I felt more comfortable this way, but I don't remember it ever being confirmed for sure, so I was a bit nervous. Then, I was introduced to Marianna and she was really sweet and about as nervous as me. We avoided talking about the fact that we were about to kiss with our morning coffee breath. We ended up hanging out and spent a good part of the day together and became instant friends. She admitted to me that it was the first time she had ever kissed a girl, which kind of made this whole thing even more special.
What are you up to next?
I'm working on my second album, I have a single coming out soon. I also booked two movies in France, both lead roles with amazingly strong characters—the absolute roles of my life. I feel very spoiled right now. I work so hard, and it's finally paying off. It's that thing—"when it rains it pours," and I have to say, it's a bit overwhelming. But the most incredible thing ever. I'm so grateful for all of what is happening right now.

Damian Kulash, Singer, OK Go [4-5]
Any fun moments come from being in the video?
A nice kiss, obviously. And my parents’ next door neighbors realized that the new chaplain at their kids’ tiny school had been a teacher of mine as a child, because all of them were independently bragging about how they knew someone in the video. Really? A teacher of mine from 20 years ago can still recognize me? And is getting sent kissing videos? And that many people are talking about it?
Have you been recognized by anyone due to the video?
I am actually a little surprised by the comments from our fans on our Facebook page and website. Most of them, it seems, didn’t notice it was me on a first pass. I supposed context is everything, but even Tim, our bassist and my best friend since I was 11, said he didn’t realize it was me until he heard my voice. I bet it’s because everyone’s looking at Nicole. Girls are a lot more fun to watch.
Have you seen or talked to your kissing partner, Nicole Simone, since the shoot?
Nicole and I went out to brunch after the shoot. It just seemed to weird to kiss someone and then shake their hand and say "nice meeting you." And we’ve texted a few times since, mostly about how insane it is to know that at any given moment (at least in those first few days) literally millions of people were watching us kiss—watching a weird moment that went by so fast, and has now been revived for thousands of hours of viewing.
What was it like for you being filmed?
What I remember most distinctly is the end of the kiss. Because if you’re making out with someone under more normal circumstances, after a few moments of introductory kisses, it probably escalates a little, gets more passionate, maybe involves other parts of your body. And I remember thinking, 'Do we do that now?' Or is that too forward? Because I don’t know this girl, and I don’t want to assume anything here…but then, if I stop now is that some kind of rejection? And normally there are natural pauses as you’re sort of falling into your making-out rhythm, so we paused, but then nothing is natural all of the sudden. That’s when you might, in any other circumstance, look at your partner and try to figure out what they’re thinking, or where they want this to go, and how fast. And once you ask yourself, 'Wait, are we done?' Then suddenly it’s even more aggressive and maybe weird to grab the person and start kissing again. So then it’s, wait, was that it? Did we just finish kissing? Because we just started kissing... But it’s definitely too weird once there’s a possibility that she now thinks we’re done kissing. You definitely can’t dive back at this person you just met. So all of the sudden, that was it.
What are you up to next?
OK Go has a new EP coming out in June, and a full album in October. We haven’t named the EP yet, but the record will be called Hungry Ghosts. It’s the best record we’ve made. And of course, it means that I’m now launching back into making videos and all of the attendant stuff that comes with a record. Let’s hope we can make a video that’s half as successful as this one. We’ll be on tour starting July.

Nicole Simone, Singer [4-5]
Any fun moments come from being in the video?
Mostly it has exposed a lot of people to my music, which has been quite lovely. And I've heard from so many old and precious friends telling me how much they loved the film.
Have you been recognized by anyone due to the video?
Quite a few double-takes sitting in LA traffic.
Have you seen or talked to your kissing partner, Damian Kulash, since the shoot?
I have spoken to Damian. The day the video went viral we both were laughing about how truly surreal it is that our kiss has been seen by people all over the world.
What was it like for you being filmed?
Everyone couldn't have been more kind, it was very relaxed, though the anticipation of this looming kiss was certainly in the air. I was very intrigued by the whole experience, as I'm not one to generally go around kissing strangers. It was exciting, awkward, and natural all at the same time.
Why do you think people like the video so much?
It shows the innocence, vulnerability and desire that comes with the quest for human connection, and how romantic it can all be. And I think it shows our capacity to love.
What are you up to next?
I'm about to release a single and music video in the next couple months. More music will be released this summer and I will be announcing show dates very soon!

Langley Fox, Illustrator/Model [6-7]
Have you seen or talked to anyone else that was in the video since?
Well, my best friend Z is in it, too, so we’re going through it together. I didn't get my stranger’s number or anything after—I literally ran away. But he grabbed my email through Instagram, so I guess we're kind of chatting. No big life-long schemes in the making, though.
What was the experience like being filmed?
The experience was super awkward, as you can image. I walked in not knowing who I was kissing. It really could have been anyone from the camera guy to the sound guy to the stranger outside walking on the street. Then we were both standing in front of rolling cameras, meeting for the first time, expected to kiss "whenever we’re ready." It’s quite the introduction, especially with four different cameras pointed at you, about 10 people staring at us, and complete silence other than our smooches. I would definitely say that it was somewhat surreal and overwhelming and awkward. I'm pretty sure you can see the fear in my eyes at the end when I'm smiling—my smile is saying "Get me the fuck out of here!" and instead I say, "Do we make out again?"
Why do you think people like the video so much?
The video is an honest display of two people meeting for the first time and sharing a kiss. A first kiss is already hard and most of us do after maybe a couple of drinks, or in some nervous situation where you want it to happen but you don't know if it will. We all love kissing because it's magical and fun and something that you want to do all the time, but you really can't go up to people, even that you know, and be like, "Wanna make out?" This experience kind of eliminates all the bullshit and allows you to just experience someone somewhat intimately right off the bat. I feel like the only part that made it awkward were that cameras and people were watching us, but really it is such a beautiful concept about human relationships. It’s intimate without being sexual.
What are you up to next?  Any work or personal stuff you feel like mentioning?
I'm doing a couple of things! I have a sock collaboration with Stance in the works, maybe some more t-shirt illustrations in the making (I wore my Kitty Stardust shirt I did with Wren in the video!), and many commission drawings on the horizon.

Greg Schoenecker, Sales Consultant, A.P.C.  [8-9]
Any fun moments come from being in the video?
A bunch of old friends and past acquaintances—people I haven't talked to since grade school—came out of the woodwork to say they saw me in the video. It's funny, I actually found out after the fact that I know one of my kissing partner's ex-boyfriends... small world.
Have you seen or talked to anyone else that was in the video since?
I've talked with Justin Kennedy, who's been a good friend of mine for years, about the crazy success of the video. As far as my kissing partner, I haven't seen or spoken with her since the day of the video.
Why do you think people like the video so much?
I think a lot of people have a romantic side and it's fun to watch something like this: a guy and a girl thrown together randomly. Will they have any chemistry? Are they going to hit it off or aren't they? Will they ever meet again?
What are you up to next?
I'm thinking of opening up a kissing booth 'round the corner from my place.
What did you think when I asked you to be a part of the video?
It sounded like a cool idea. Besides, I could think of worse ways to spend an afternoon than kissing a pretty girl.

Z Berg, Singer, JJAMZ [10-11]
Any fun moments come from being in the video?
Mostly I've just received a barrage of emails and texts from the most random cast of characters. Nothing like someone you haven't seen in 10 years opening an email with, "Nice makeout!"  I suppose it's not the worst way to be seen. Though, I was a little embarrassed at first to see how much more…pornographic my kiss seemed than a lot of the others! The internet seems shocked that Corby and I are not now dating.
Have you seen or talked to anyone else that was in the video since?
Langley is my best friend, so I've probably seen her every day since. Both of us kept texting each other over the course of the week going, "100,000, 600,000, 5,000,000, 20,000,000?? 60,000,000? 60,000,000 people have watched us make out with strangers?!?" I texted Justin Kennedy to congratulate him on his kissing skills. He said, "I feel as though I've been preparing for this role all my life!"
What was the experience like being filmed?
The week before we filmed I really couldn't stop thinking about it. I was actually nervous about it. And I don't really get nervous about anything! That's what made me want to do it in the first place. I think that anything that takes you out of your comfort zone, anything that challenges, unnerves, or throws you off balance is usually worth doing. What a trip this was! I'd never kissed someone on camera before!
Why do you think people like the video so much?
For some reason, putting us in a situation that is the opposite of intimate forced us to be truly real and forge an immediate intimacy so as to survive the situation. It's an experience unlike any I've had before and I think that's what makes it wonderful.
What are you up to next?
When I'm not making out with strangers on camera, I'm working on a new record with my band…and occasionally making out with strangers in real life.

Justin Kennedy, Signer/Songwriter, Army Navy [12-13]
Any fun moments come from being in the video?
The video was on Ellen, which my parents loved. I was pretty excited that Mad Magazine online spoofed us. 10-year-old me was very proud.
Have you been recognized by anyone due to the video?
I did think a few people at this party the other night were pointing and looking at me, although there was an adorable dog standing behind me.
What was the experience like being filmed?
It was really quick. I think my call time was 9:45am. I literally got up, took a shower, stopped and got coffee, and went to set. I chewed a handful of Altoids and walked onto the stage. I met my kissing partner, Elisabetta, and Tatia, the director, said we could start whenever we wanted. I wasn't quite sure how to get from point A to point B. An awkward bow/handshake introduction was the route I chose.
Why do you think people like the video so much?
I think it’s one of those simple experiences everyone can relate to. Those innocent and exciting moments are very strong in our memory, and seeing it on screen takes people back to their first kiss and all the nervousness that comes with it.
What are you up to next?
I have a band called Army Navy and we are getting ready to put out our third full-length album! I have also been hired as the worldwide ambassador for Carmex. This may not be true.

Natalia Bonifacci, Model/Writer/Actress [14-15]
Any fun moments come from being in the video?
None of my old lovers have reached out to me to comment about it, but I did get funny proposals from old buddies of mine being like, "Now I want to kiss you, too." Some messages made me blush. It's weirdly flattering. Weirdly flattering.
Have you been recognized by anyone due to the video?
There was this woman at a party. She was staring at me for quite a bit before finally coming up to me to introduce herself. She said I looked familiar and asked if we had met before. I'm usually coy about these things, but I told her, "Well, you know, there is this video going viral…" And she yelled to her boyfriend, "OMG! This is the girl from that kissing video we watched all morning!"
Have you seen or talked to anyone else that was in the video since? 
As far as Karim, my kissing partner, I haven't seen him since the shoot. He did friend-request me on Facebook, though, and we chatted a few times since.
What was the experience like being filmed?
I have kissed men on set in the past, but always for acting purposes, which is also way different because you are protected by a different identity when you act. The day of the shoot I woke up wanting to cancel because I was incredibly nervous. Karim had forgotten about the shoot, so he ended up showing up over an hour late. I'm really punctual, so I had a good amount of time to get more nervous and shy and giggly. We introduced ourselves to one another on set in front of five rolling cameras. I kept laughing, and talking, and I was barely looking at him, and then I realized I had completely forgotten his name. It was nerve-racking. Eventually, I was the one who leaned in to kiss him. I did feel really good afterwards, though; I love feeling bold.
Why do you think people like the video so much?
In a world where people communicate via WhatsApp, where people screen their phone calls before calling you back, where people flirt through Facebook but then ignore one another face-to-face, where we all tend to protect ourselves from a deep human contact, I imagine that seeing vulnerability—true and pure vulnerability—can be very touching. Someone even said, "It made me believe in love again; it gave me hope."
What are you up to next? 
I'm a full-time model, but when I'm not traveling, I'm the perfect, walking LA cliché: model/wannabe actress! Besides that, I write. I have two interview columns for a Milan-based online magazine called RedMilk. My Instagram is connected to Italian magazine Grazia.it, where they feature my day-to-day visual diary. I also write articles for them every once in a while.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • michael perry

    im glad they had a fun shoot. im shocked z berg isnt dating her kissing partner as well. but to each is own.

REPLIES

Dearest ITG Reader,

We're working on something new called Glossier. It's launching soon(!) and we want you to be the first to know updates.

xo, Emily