Blog - Portrait : Salomé Kiner

22.09.2016 By Margot Delevaux
Portrait : Salomé Kiner

Every word she says is reinforced by eloquent gestures. Her talkative hands make her pullover slip on her left shoulder. Her wavy hair and her frank eye could convince anyone. Passionate? She is. Without compromise? Too.

Salomé Kiner was born near Paris. From a Russian father, she grew up in Tolstoy’s language and used to visit her Russian family every year. “And as a teenager, I discovered other countries with hot temperatures! So I started to travel elsewhere.” Salomé was raised by an American after her parents' divorce. She split her childhood summers between Russia and the United States. “I have more cultural affinities with the United States and many friends living there. But I keep a deep attachment for my Russian origins. I grew up in a melting-pot of extreme geopolitics!” she says laughing.  

However, when we ask her to name her ideal place to live in, Salomé’s choice is irrevocable: New Orleans.“I love the city. Culturally, it doesn't look like the US ... more like the Caribbean. The musical tradition is fascinating and the houses look like artworks. People are really welcoming and the food is great!”

But Switzerland remains the only foreign country where Salomé has lived. “And that’s a long story!” she exclaims. Her maternal grandmother was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds. “She grew up in Switzerland before moving to France in the 1950’s. Then my big sister chose to study in an art school in Fribourg. She helped me find a job as a volnteer at the Montreux Jazz Festival! I tied links in Switzerland and started the back-and-forths.” Today, she juggles between the two countries thanks to her professional network. 

After a bachelor in literature in the Parisian university La Sorbonne, Salomé starts the competition process for the journalism schools. She is accepted in the journalism school (CFJ) in Paris. She works then for Arte TV and France Culture and she joins a project of online library in 2010. “I was editorial manager. But unfortunately, we went bankrupt in 2012. I travelled a lot thanks to this project. I wrote book reviews, I created thematic dossiers”, she says with a nostalgic touch. On the Swiss side, Salomé worked for the film festival Tous écrans in Geneva, Le Temps or Payot bookstores.

Salomé is now a freelance journalist. She works on reportages abroad to calm her discovery thirst. “Mexico, Israel, Iceland and Sarajevo. I  spent time there and really dived in civil society.” The need to tell the world is almost visceral Salomé. She has great adaptability and she loves immersing herself in unknown environments. Salomé admits her choice for journalism was to solve a ubiquity complex: “As teenagers, we dream about all the lives we could have: having a bed and breakfast in Morocco, becoming a social educator or a literature researcher. My mother and I traveled a lot together to broaden my horizons. And the more I was seeing things, the more I wanted to live all the lives at the same time. I met a photographer and I immediately wanted to become one. I went to the theater and I wanted to become a director. Journalism is a way to live all these lives at the same time. During a reportage, we penetrate people’s life.” Journalism? A means to fill Salomé’s appetite and curiosity. 

With the book Journées parfaites en Suisse/Perfekte Tage Schweiz, Salomé slipped into the lives of city guides she carefully chose. “I wanted to find balance between tourist recommendations and a human encounter. A kind of diffracted portrait in the light of the city. I am a journalist of subjectivity and to me the human being carries the world’s map himself.” Put the humain in the world’s centre, here is Salomé’s passion without compromise. 


3 things Salomé couldn’t do without them: a book(Au-dessous du volcan of Malcolm Lowry), a pen and a notebook

3 weaknesses : anxious, disordered, demanding

3 qualities: emphatic, altruistic and enthusiastic “to deceive anxiety and stimulate my entourage.”  

Something that Salomé isn't? Competitive. “I’m just doing my own thing.”

Food that she could eat everyday ? Parmigiana and tiramisu.  

Music which accompanied her in decisive instants of her life:

Nina Simone - Baltimore

IAM - L' Ecole du micro d'argent

Gabriel Fauré - Cantique de Jean Racine  

A quote: “Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers, those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine.” Shankar Vedantam   





 Author of the book Journées parfaites en Suisses / Perfekte Tage Schweiz. 



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