Clowns are a classic character. Many people have memories of them starting from childhood, when they found clowns to be an integral part of birthday parties, circuses, and fairs. But not all clowns are the same. They are as unique as the individual behind the costume. In the case of Susan Mangum, the clown persona goes beyond being funny and entertaining. For her, clowns are magical. In character as Corky the Magic Clown, Susan is able to connect with others by bringing children into a world where they are made to feel valued.
Susan has been a professional entertainer for 27 years. She started off doing magic but didn’t enjoy performing magic for adults, because they weren’t willing enough to suspend belief. “They are always trying to figure out what you are doing,” she said. “The first time I ever performed something for a child- their spirit, and they way they lit up, and they accepted it, and they didn’t care- it was just special. Once I saw the sparkles in their eyes, I was done. I loved making them happy. There’s nothing else I wanted to do.”
From there she modified and expanded her act by tailoring her characters to children, and learning to do balloons and face painting. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Susan considers herself a Charlottean at heart. Now living in the Wesley Chapel area, she has been in North Carolina for her entire professional career.
Susan’s website states, “When I am Corky, I’m not just a person dressed in a clown suit. I am a character that comes alive in the hearts of children and adults!” Susan explained, “I can energetically respect where a child is, and let them be, and let them come to me on their own. I have a way to honor them and make them feel ok.” Susan believes she is very intuitive and can read people’s energy. “My real job is to make other people feel special. That’s what I like to do,” she said.
Besides being Corky the Magic Clown, Susan can entertain as a fairy, pirate, or certain seasonal characters. And for children who may be too young for her full Corky costume, or for those who still have reservations about clowns, she also has a “Lite” version of Corky that involves less makeup and costuming.
Susan takes her work very seriously. Being a clown is not a hobby, it’s her profession. Performances are $175 for an hour and a half of entertainment. Susan said, “I do a magic show that gets the children involved. I juggle. I produce a dove. She [the dove] does tricks. She can wave, high-five people in the head, and play dead. And I do balloons for all the kids. And I can do face painting.”
But the business is really a family affair. Corky the Magic Clown is sometimes joined by Bongo the Clown, played by her 11-year-old son, Corbin Mangum. Her 14-year-old daughter, Daisy Mangum, does face painting. And her husband, Jeff Mangum, is a caricature artist who also makes appearances in character as Arty the Clown.
A full range of Susan’s services can be viewed on her website, www.corkymagic.com. For those interested in booking her for birthday parties or other special events, she can be contacted at 704-756-4257 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.