LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Clowns are the binding force of the Universe - An interview with Julie Varholdt aka Lovely Buttons

Julie Varholdt becomes Lovely Buttons

Clown Gathering UK, a week of talks, workshops and shows at the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft in February attracted clowns from all over the world, including Julie Varholdt, aka Lovely Buttons, who flew all the way from Arizona. I asked her about her clowning life.

How would you describe your style of clowning?

I'm a bit of a Tom Boy type clown. I'm very physical and talk A LOT! I started off as a White Face clown for 3 years, then slowly changed to an Auguste Clown. In Arizona it's just too hot to be a white face clown. I usually wear funny shorts and cute t-shirts. I have almost as many costumes as I do real people clothes. Stilt walking is a big part of my clowning also, and face painting, and balloons, and walk a round.

How did the Lovely Buttons character come about and how would you describe her? 

First she never shuts up and loves everybody. The grumpier the person I'm entertaining the better! I just had a birthday and I'm now 1,523, 637,512 seconds old! So I'm still learning and growing. I have what they call ADLS- it means Attention Deficit Look Shiny!  It takes years and years to develop a character and be comfortable with it. Just because you put a clown nose on and a costume does not make you a clown. If I put a stethoscope on it does NOT make me a doctor. Or if I carry a brief case I'm NOT a lawyer.

Do you encounter many children who are scared of clowns and how do you deal with it?

No not really. I'm very approachable and lovely! There's nothing scary about my clown character at all. If I do run into a child that is timid and scared I have some funny lines I use that ALWAYS work and they're no longer scared.

What is it that most interests you in clowns and being a clown?

The shiny medals! There's nothing like seeing 100 clowns in costume and watching them interact with a crowd. It's surely brilliant and awe inspiring! Some clowns are more like family to me then some of my real family. Once we all become friends we keep each other in our hearts forever!

What percentage of clowns are women and do you see many women coming into the profession?

Would you believe that over here in America the majority of clowns are women. Men are in the minority. Out of 100 clowns about 90% are women. When you go to conventions here in the US, about 71% are women and 39% are men.

Why does the world need clowns?

Let's sing a song..... What the world needs now is clowns, more clowns.
We are the binding force of the universe..... Kind of like Jedis! Luke I am your clown father!

For more on Lovely Buttons, click here to visit her website.

For an interview with Simon Thompson's Clown Noir, click here. And for an interview with Bobbo Roberts - 30 Years a Clown - click here.

Bobbo catches up with his reading
at Clown Gathering UK
For more on clowns and clowning read Circus Mania - a book loved by clowns!


  1. That interview and your astounding comments were outstandingly beautiful Julie. You are so like your idol Carol Burnette. You will always be your own wonderfully hugable clown. Silly Willy & Fluffy

  2. Any person who put on make-up who thinks it is cool to deliberately frighten children is just a sicko. Excellent clowns and real clowing is loved by children.