Professional clown denounces clown phobia, ‘It’

Holly Viers • Oct 1, 2017 at 2:00 PM

KINGSPORT -– Nancy Rosekrans is not a Stephen King fan.

Though she hasn’t read King’s popular horror novel “It” or seen the new film of the same name, Rosekrans knows enough about the storyline to believe it paints professional clowns, such as herself, in a false light.

“Real clowns aren’t scary,” Rosekrans said. “They’re meant for love and laughter, having a good time and letting your worries go for a little while.”

Her backstory

Rosekrans has been a part-time professional clown for the last 30 years, much of which she spent in upstate New York. She first became interested in clowning after a clown paid a visit to the Sunday school class she taught at her church.

“I kept thinking, ‘I can do that. I can do that,’ ” Rosekrans said. “I was doing fun stuff with the kids in my Sunday school classes anyway; I just didn’t have any makeup on.”

From there, Rosekrans developed several different clown characters for herself, including Nurse Non Cents, which she uses at hospitals and nursing homes; Beatrice Green the Recycling Queen, which she uses at recycling and environmental events; and her main character, Rowdy the Clown.

She also offers “Magic with Nancy,” in which she performs many of the same tricks and talents she would as a clown, only without the clown makeup and costume.

Since moving to East Tennessee nearly two years ago, Rosekrans has clowned at local restaurants, nursing homes and festivals, including Rhythm & Roots in Bristol. She also clowns at birthday parties and puts on educational shows at schools and libraries.


Her Take on “Scary Clowns”

From the beginning, Rosekrans’ favorite parts of clowning have been the children and making people smile. So when she read a recent editorial from the Chicago Tribune describing clowns as “inherently creepy” and “freaks by design,” she was livid.

“Kids are no more afraid of clowns than they are afraid of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny,” Rosekrans said. “It’s just too different at first; you’ve got to (get used to them).”

Though she believes “It” is a strong contributor to people’s fear of clowns, Rosekrans said the fear could also be coming from the historical “white face” clowns, which look similar to King’s evil clown, Pennywise. These clowns have faces that are completely covered by white makeup, as opposed to other types of clowns that only use white makeup on part of their faces.

Rosekrans believes the mysterious clown sightings that occurred around Halloween last year could also be a contributing factor, but she pointed out a key difference between those clowns and real clowns: The mysterious clowns often wore masks, which is not common for real clowns.

“The creepy clown sightings, those were just people dressed up, and a lot of them weren’t proven,” Rosekrans said. “We tell people, ‘It’s just people with masks on.’ ”

Her final word

Though she feels clowns are often misunderstood and misrepresented, Rosekrans believes they provide the kind of humor that both children and adults can enjoy.

“Some (clowns) are sad; some are funny,” Rosekrans said. “They’re portraying a character that can relate to your life, really.”

To book Rowdy the Clown or one of Rosekrans’ other characters, call (423) 358-9370 or email [email protected] To learn more, visit www.nancyr.com.


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