When it comes to clowning around, one Southdale resident has broken new ground in the world of makeup, red noses and custard pies.
Deanna Hartmier — a.k.a. Dee Dee the Clown — was recently installed as the new president of the World Clown Association at the organization’s annual convention in Malaysia for a two-year term.
Hartmier, who has been clowning for the past 18 years, is also the first Canadian to be elected to the organization’s top spot. In fact, since its formation in 1982, the WCA has only had one other president who hasn’t hailed from the U.S.
"My role will be running the daily business of the organization," said Hartmier, who is married to longtime clown Cliff Hartmier — a.k.a. Mister Stripes — and co-owns entertainment agency Laughter Without Borders.
"I’ve also been invited to teach in Calgary and Iowa, so there will be a number of things, but basically I`ll be handling the day-to-day business from Winnipeg, such as the administration, contracts and the new website. The hardest part will be signing the cheques, as our treasurer lives in North Carolina."
Hartmier — who started clowning because she couldn’t find a clown to perform at her daughter’s fifth birthday party — "I jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back"— is still passionate about putting on her makeup and costume and getting into character.
"I love doing it. What we do seems to keep us young, as we’re playing with kids all the time," said Hartmier, who also performs closely with Valerie Meiners, otherwise known as Puff the Clown.
Hartmier said the chance to transform into a clown on a regular basis gives her the chance to explore parts of her personality.
"It probably gives me a lot more freedom. It’s very freeing. My character can come out in makeup and I can become an extension of myself," she said.
And Hartmier is no stranger to taking on extra roles in addition to her busy clowning schedule. She was the Canadian central director for the WCA from 2007 to 2012 and a guest performer at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Anaheim, Calif. in 2010.
So what is the best part of the life of a clown?
"The sound of children laughing and the joy that we can bring them. There is nothing that can beat that."
For more information about Dee Dee the Clown, visit www.deedeetheclown.com.