One of the biggest things I lament in my lame attempt at calling myself a writer is that nothing ever happens to me. I don’t have a wild youth. I’ve never really gotten in trouble or had much in the way of adventures.
Except for that one time I was a clown.
Photo by James P. Jordan, just like the watermark says.
Let’s back up.
Clowns give me the heebie-jeebies. If a man carrying a chainsaw was walking down one side of the street, and a clown was walking down the other, I’d probably side with the chainsaw. I don’t trust people whose faces I can’t see, and clowns and mascots are at the top of that list (I initially said “a man wearing a mask and carrying a chainsaw”, but I had to change it because the mask would freak me out as much as the clown).
So when a friend of mine said she really wanted to make a Steampunk Clown costume, I was all, “You’re crazy nutso.” And when she asked if I’d do them embroidery, I was all “Of course, but you’re still crazy nutso.” You already got to see some of the embroidery, so obviously I obliged. And really, the embroidery was awesome.
And then I dropped the embroidery off at her house.
And she roped me into even more embroidery, which was fine, because it was even more awesomer. But while I was there, she somehow managed to talk me in to modeling the costume for a photoshoot. Hindsight tells me that when she said “Oh, if only someone in our group were my size” what she was really thinking was “If we just pad out the chest a little, DK will be perfect.” I’m on to her.
So because I’m the very best friend in the world–and because despite the fact it was a clown, I knew this costume would be amazing beyond belief–I agreed to model. Which was silly, because I’m almost as uncomfortable in front of a camera as I am in front of a clown. Thank god I didn’t actually have to look at myself the whole time, or I would have been downright terrified.
We met Jim, photographer to the peeps in the know out at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, at Starbucks at about 9 Saturday morning. I got myself a green tea latte (because they’re awesome), and we hit the road for a nearly two hour journey to the wilds of Mantorville, MN where we would find ourselves at the Mantorville Opera House. Once there, I spent 78 hours having my hair and makeup done and then another 46 hours putting the costume on (give or take). The dear, sweet women who met us at the Opera House to do hair and makeup were phenomenal, but none of us really had any idea it would take so long. Poor Jim.
124 hours later, I was on stage. Literally. Under stage lights and in front of photographer’s lights, with a man on a ladder telling me to be a clown. Have I mentioned I don’t like clowns?
I tried to research how clowns emote and how they act, but I ran short on time. Getting ready took so long, I really had no chance to practice looks before going in front of the camera. The makeup was very unique, and I really wasn’t sure what it would look like if I did certain things on camera. I know I shouldn’t have cared, and I should have just done anything, but I’m a self-conscious person in general; putting things on camera makes it that much more permanent (though, really, almost everything is digital now, I should relax about that sort of thing).
Once I loosened up a bit, and once people started shouting out suggestions, it became a little less weird. And honestly, despite my unease, I had a freaking blast. And as I look back on it a bit (and as I see the interwebs growing more and more enamored with the project), I realize it’s one of those things that few people can say have happened to them. Maybe it’s not a story I’ll tell at parties, and maybe I don’t have a very promising future in modeling or being a clown, but it’s still unique.
You really should read all about the project on Laura’s blog. The work she did was incredible. Honestly, the embroidery I did for the project, and even modeling the costume, are small potatoes compared to the vision she constructed.
Photo by James P. Jordan, possibly the world’s most patient man.