Clowning around as a business
By Kelly Yamanouchi
Santa Teresa Times

Roberta Navarro of Santa Teresa gave up her desk job in San Jose's city hall and traded it for oversized shoes and a big red nose. "All my life I've wanted to be a clown," Navarro said.
After twelve years working as a data processing control clerk for the City of San Jose, Navarro, 35, switched professions and spent the last eleven years as "Dottie the Clown."

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In preparation for the new job, Navarro took classes in small business management and the psychology of dealing with children. She also spent a year reading books and watching videos on clowning, practicing with her nieces and nephews.  "While I was growing up, I liked making people laugh," Navarro said. "It's a lot of fun."

Navarro works three to four birthdays a week and more on weekends. "Starting in the spring and summer, however, it gets really busy. I once worked six birthdays in one day. I didn't get home until way past seven that evening!"

Navarro entertains at convalescent homes, schools, private redidences, company picnics, and community events. Her act includes a puppet show, a magic show, animal balloons and face painting.
"The neat thing is that you feel that you are contributing to the happiness in the community," Navarro said.
Navarro is currently attending college, studying to be a teacher." It would be good to work with kids," she said, "to bring a fun angle (to teaching)."  Navarro also runs a children's summer program for working parents. One of the themes, to no surprise, is clowning.
Navarro's husband is also a clown. His name is "Homie the Clown" when he accompanies Navarro on jobs. He recently retired from the City of San Jose Parks and Recreation department.
Dottie and Homie entertained crowds at the San Jose Holiday Parade, and at the Morgan Hill Parade. "It was really special, seeing them all smile as you went by," Navarro recalled.
Navarro said her customers are very diversified. "It's not just upper and middle class," she said. In every race and culture, and all economic status, everyone loves a clown!

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This page was last updated on: 4/16/2018
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