Applause for the Auguste: Contest Winners

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We love having contests for our customers and we love even more when the winners let us share a little bit about their clowning lifestyle. Here are the contestants who won the voters pick and judges pick for the Auguste contest.

Getting to know you:

Voters pick: Damaris Soto

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I started clowning around 1995 to perform at a Christmas play in church.  I was very surprised to see how good it felt and the jokes came so naturally that I knew I was meant to be a clown.

I choose to be a clown because it is the most easy way to reach people no matter their age.  Most people love clowns, and it has opened doors for me to bring a positive message to people of all ages. It has also being a therapy to cope with illness.

The photo I submitted was taken by a 7 year old boy in a party… I call it Chilín through the eyes of a child.  I love the way children look at things and capture details that we as adults miss. I clown at church, schools, fund raisers and private parties.

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What a perfect outlook on the reasons to become a clown and with her lovely makeup and costume we can certainly see why she was the voters pick. We thank Damaris for sharing her story and if you want to find her, she has given us a link to her Facebook page.  www.facebook.com/chilinblin

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Judges pick: Josh Herman

I have been a clown for 35 years.

I loved the circus as a child. My mother would tell the story of how they took me to Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus as a baby and the great circus clown, Otto Griebling, came over and sat next to my mother during the audience  warm up. I was sitting on my mother’s lap staring at Otto. I did not cry. I had a great big smile on my face and then I began to laugh so hard I almost fell off my mother’s lap. I like to think my clown career was born right then and there, some telepathic communication between one of the greatest clowns who ever lived and myself. I never had a choice in the matter, it was just meant to be.

What made me start being a professional clown happened many years later. While I was working as a magic bartender, singer, actor, I started clowning at country music festivals, which led to an audition at Rockaways’ Playland, A classic American amusement park located in Queens, New York. Rockaways’ Playland was looking for a living trademark character based on the clown in their logo. I was lucky enough to get the job. I performed on their television and radio commercials, would MC concerts, make promotional appearances and do shows.

Part of the job was to interact and greet people at the amusement park. I walked  the midway one day and saw all the happy people. I smelled the pizza, hot dogs, and popcorn. I listened to the music which gave me energy in my step. At that point I went up to a mother holding a small child in her lap. The child stared at me and did not cry. He began to smile and laugh so hard he almost fell off his mother’s lap. I remembered my mother’s story about the great clown Otto Griebling. At that moment I knew I never had a choice in the matter, it was just meant to be, and that is what made me start being a clown.

The inspiration, for my clown character, came mostly from the great western humorist Will Rogers. I read about him, saw the movie  “The Will Rogers Story,” and watched old footage of him performing. I like the way he combined his skill with cowboy rope tricks and comedy. As many of you know, will Rogers life story was set to music and became the Broadway show “The Will Rogers Follies.”

The idea of  becoming a western themed “talking clown”, similar to Will Rogers, really appealed to me. I could do rope tricks, clown gags, and other circus skills with a comedy presentation.

The thing I tried to emulate most about will Rogers, came from the motto he was most famous for, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” On stage, doing strolling shows, or in the circus ring, we have to show a wide range of emotions. If you truly “like” what you are doing and show love to the audience, in most cases they will show it back to you.

The entry I submitted is a photo of my son Houston and myself performing together, at a harvest festival, in Montclair, New Jersey, a few years back.

The photo is special to Houston and I, because it was taken by his mother, Dawn M. Spaven, who passed away last year.

With her keen artist’s eye and being a performer herself, she was able to capture a moment between father and son. She is remembered by many as a talented artist, co-producer and co-star of the local children’s television show “The Neighborhood Playground,”as a solo performer, and along with myself, as part of the two person  clown act, Smilin’ Josh and Miss Silly Bubbles.

After Rockaways’ Playland, I designed a promotional character for Welsh Farms of Long Valley, New Jersey. I was local advance publicity clown for The Great American Circus in New York and New Jersey(working with clown hall of fame member Michael “Coco” Polakovs). I worked for the Herriott Circus and I then produced and performed in a local children’s television show.

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Now I perform at many special events and during the season perform at amusement areas and boardwalks, at numerous cities, at the New Jersey Shore.

What an amazing journey Josh has been on so far, how wonderful doing what you love while makeing others happy. With that brilliant smile you can’t help but be drawn to him. Josh has already written one blog post, Learning from a master, and we look forward to him sharing more of his stories and knowledge of the entertainmnet world in future posts.

Web site is: joshhermanmagiccircus.com

Facebook is: Josh Herman Magic Circus

Let’s give a big hand to Damaris and Josh for not only winning our contest but for being such wonderful entertainers.


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