Proud “Nominate a GOODIE” Partner
Paddee Embrey loves to clown around.
Growing up in Hollywood, Embrey always knew she wanted to perform. After retiring from the Department of the Navy in 2005, she took six weeks of classes to learn the basics of “clowning,” a perfect niche for blending her love for people with her dream to be an entertainer.
“In the beginning when people needed clowns, they would give us a call,” Embrey said about her clown college days. “My classmates would do small jobs, grand openings, making balloons and things like that.”
Once in Oregon, Embrey found a clown club, Clown Alley. She now travels to Portland and back to be with her fellow clowns, keeping her routine current, and volunteer for events.
“It’s hard work keeping a clown on the cutting edge,” said Embrey, who constantly practices new skills by also attending conferences and classes. “Volunteering has been my major form of keeping my skill set up. If I volunteer and goof up, somehow I’m almost always forgiven.”
Embrey has two clown identities: Molasses the Clown, named after a brown-nosed goat, who, like her character, is sweet and a little slow; and when it’s time to volunteer at Salem Hospital, Dr. Serendi “PI” T comes along.
“She is nice and likes coloring and talking with patients,” she said of the latter. “People can’t help but smile when a clown walks through the hospital halls.”
Payment, Embrey said, is the appreciation she gets.
Surprisingly, she said clowning can be a lonely profession.
“If you explored the number of clowns in the profession, we tend to have a heavy heart,” she admitted. “It can get lonely working alone all the time. But we are happy-go-lucky people in costume.”
Her goal is to focus on bringing children into the profession through her clown school, where she teaches make-up, costume and character development. Through Clown Alley, she connects with closet clowns and local entertainers who are considering getting into the act.
“Once you learn the spirit of your clown and find what is inside you, that’s what turns you into a happy clown!”
Embrey’s rewards come from passing along that happiness to those she entertains.
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