jenn reidel
Cleone Lyvonne (Common Ground Magazine)

Cleone Lyvonne leaned toward the mirror as she patted white makeup on her face.

She examined her pores, then continued to pat her face with her hands. She had been in front of the mirror for about thirty minutes doing this. "I am so fussy with my white," she said. "I've got to look good."

The pall of her face was unearthly, whiter than the whites of her eyes.

In the world of the clown, applying white makeup meant putting your "self" to death.

More white. This time, it's powder. In the clown tradition, she as transforming herself into the "white face" clown. These kind of clowns, she says, are bossy and smart and have it all together.

Lyvonne dipped a brush in a jar and began outlining her lower lip in red. "When we put color on our face we bring ourselves back to life again."

Today was the day of her first paid job in Seattle as Chloe the Caring Clown at the Grosvenor Retirement Center.

Sometimes it takes more than a mirror to see ourselves . . . to know who we really are. Sometimes it takes a clown. A notion found in a new trend called "clownseling" being pioneered in the Northwest by Cleone Lyvonne, MSE, also known as the clowns Chloe, LuLu, and Pistachio.

(Contact me if you are interested in reading this article in its entirety.)