My First Kiss Was a Stage Kiss

first kiss

So, I’m about to really embarrass myself. Alright, here goes. My first (and — so far — only) kiss was on film. That’s right: I was cast in a film wherein I kissed a guy. For the first time.

Let me start at the beginning. I spent last summer in an internship program. When I found the casting call for this film, it was right before I had to go on a trip with the students, but I applied regardless. They emailed back while I was on the trip in the mountains of North Carolina, asking me to submit a video audition. At first, I declined because I did not think I had time to shoot but they said they’d work around my schedule, so after I filmed a quick video, they cast me. In the side (a section of the script) they gave me, my character got married, but I honestly hoped that the older version of my character would kiss the groom, not me.

I was really nervous when they sent me the script because I realized that it was me who would do the kiss. And I had never been kissed anyone before. Think Drew Barrymore meets Laura Ingalls Wilder; that was me. I had never been on a date, never held hands, never even kissed a guy on the cheek (unless you count my family members). I hadn’t had a boyfriend of any type. The closest thing I had to intimacy was a crush who liked me back but never made a move. Let’s just say I had no experience with boys. At all.

I found out we would be shooting just a few weeks after I was cast, so I started freaking out. I applied lip balm non-stop and asked people how to kiss. And if you’re wondering yes, I practiced on both my hand and my pillow. I think the hand trick worked better. I also tried my arm, but that got a little weird. Hey, at least I didn’t use my teddy bear, right? One of my wisest friends told me to just let the guy lead, and that is the advice I ended up taking.

The day before filming, I bought a big pack of mints. The day of the filming, I brushed my teeth super well and began chugging mints. I had literally never been that nervous in my whole life. I got to set and went straight to makeup. In walked my soon-to-be fake husband. I was introduced as his “wife” and we laughed and shook hands. I was too scared to talk to him, so I just mumbled to the nice lady doing my makeup. About three minutes later, I hear that we were going to do the wedding scene first. So I was going to kiss a guy I had just met and had said about two words to. Keep in mind, this was not just the scene with my kiss in it, but also the scene with the only line that I had to say with a British accent. Can you say unnerving?

So, I was in my costume (three mints in my mouth), and finally took the elevator with my fake fiance to the room that we would film in. There was a green screen, which, for some reason, made me even more nervous. Also, my hair was up, so I had nothing to pull on nervously. Did I mention that my fake fiance was older than me? So we got in our spots to be fake married. The ceremony was beautifully done by a great fake priest. The guy holding the boom mic was my age and really close to me, along with about ten other people just staring at me and my almost-faux-husband. It was really awkward. So, we did three or four takes with just me saying my line, cutting off right before our kiss. After the last take, I got excited and thought maybe the kiss had been cut. I asked my faux beau if it was cut and he said all his script said for this scene was a passionate kiss. He didn’t even know that I had a line. That, of course, was the exact time that the director said it was time to do a take with the kiss. My stomach dropped. When we went in for the kiss, I kind of forgot what we were doing and sort of went in for a hug at first, but then I remembered and kissed him.

Guess what? There were no fireworks. Just lips on lips. Actually, my lips definitely hit his teeth the first time. Oops. It was really weird, but not terrible. I mean, I guess he was a good kisser. I don’t really have anything to compare it to, and I’m pretty sure any weirdness was all on my end. However, the next take, the close up, went much smoother and (hopefully) looked good. I didn’t have the heart to tell him or anyone else that it was my first kiss. In fact, they still don’t know…well, I guess they will if they read this.

This film has not been released yet, and I am alternately excited and scared for its release. Basically I’m waiting to see if I’m a good or a bad kisser. So, cross your fingers with me that I am so that I’m not humiliated when it is released. My first and second kisses are documented for the world to see. World, please appreciate what I did for you. Oh, and just for the record, I regret nothing.

P. S. – If you’d like to know what music I jammed to during the shoot and for about two weeks before and after, it was Sara Bareilles’ new album at that time. Whenever I listen to that CD now, all I think about is my lost lip virginity.

P. P. S – So, hey, don’t be embarrassed if you’ve never been kissed. I did some research and a lot of actors had their first kisses on-screen (although most of them were pretty young). Some of my lip-locking fellow actors are Josh Hutcherson, Kirsten Dunst, Mila Kunis, Keke Palmer, Ashley Benson, and many others. I personally relate most to Jesse Eisenberg, my biggest celeb crush, who didn’t get his first kiss until he was 18, on-screen, same as me! So, if you haven’t been kissed chillax. Talk to someone who has, and you’ll find out first kisses are usually supposed to be a little weird.

Photo by Thomas Leuthard

Celina Tolbert
Celina loves everything creative, especially writing and the performing arts. She is a Christ-follower, actress, dreamer of big dreams, vegetarian, and lover of travel. Site: celinatolbert.webs.com