Written by Lauren Chang
Kalina Silverman is the founder of viral media project Big Talk- a communication approach to facilitate meaningful connections in life. A documentary journalist, entrepreneur, model and TED-talk sensation, to say that Kalina is a high-achiever is an understatement. We are delighted to chat to Kalina about finding inspirations and building connections while we are staying home and staying apart.
What does your world look like?
I live in Santa Monica, California where I spend my days surfing, hiking, painting, playing piano, and working on Big Talk, a program I created about skipping small talk to ask deeper questions in life and make more meaningful connections.
Tell us more about Big Talk and what inspired you to create it.
I started Big Talk because when I was 18 living in a new city for the first time, I felt very very alone - I thought I was the only one who felt that way, but later it turned out so many of my friends had been struggling too. I heard the quote “The only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone,” and it really resonated. I thought if we all had just skipped the small talk, and been more open and vulnerable about sharing our thoughts, feelings, and stories - we would have felt more comforted. So, “Big Talk” was born out of a hope to fulfill that social need for deeper connections. I made a video where I walked up to strangers and asked them the Big Talk question “What do you want to do before you die?” It went viral and today Big Talk is a video series, a card game, a research project about cross-cultural empathy, a communications and mental health tool, and a social impact educational platform!
How do you like to explore?
I like to explore by making plans that I don’t stick to. It usually involve finding fresh bodies of water somewhere to jump, surf, or swim in, and art to create or explore.
How are you finding inspiration?
I find inspiration by re-reading my old favorite books, reading poems, and talking to strangers.
What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to fulfilling my dream of opening a ranch one day. It’ll be on a hill by the sea and employ people fleeing conflict zones along with war veterans and other people in need.
What is your perspective on sustainability?
In Santa Monica we are big fans of appreciating nature and encouraging sustainability. I carry my reusable water bottle everywhere with me and don’t like to buy new clothes very often.
What changes would you like to see in the world?
I hope people in the world take the opportunities presented to them and aren’t afraid to mess up a little first. And I hope people smile more, and show more compassion and empathy to people who on the outside might seem different from them.
What is one positive thing you have seen through the recent changes in the world?
I see a lot of us becoming kids again. Biking around, saying hi to neighbors, sharing food, getting outside because fresh air is precious. I’m loving it.
Do you have a favourite Big Talk moment and what was it?
My favourite Big Talk moment was when the Big Talk question card game led to a marriage proposal between a captain stationed in the military and his girlfriend back home!
What are three of the Big Talk questions people can start asking their friends and family now to stay connected while apart?
Here are some questions from my “Big Talk in quarantine” list:
- What do you miss?
- What little things in life do you take the time to stop and appreciate?
- Who in this world do you love and what are you doing about it?