Myth busted: not all of them are creepy
It’s not difficult to spot Bryndísa Jara Þorsteinsdóttir, known as Bryn Bryn, in town. Always dressed in a rainbow outfit, she is often the brightest thing on the block! While Bryndísa loves her day job, deep down, she’s a clown. But how does she make money from it?
Bryndísa Jara Þorsteinsdóttir, 32, a live model
I’m a nude model at art schools. That’s my nine to five, if you will. I’m modelling every day and going to these fantastic classes and just posing – thinking and posing. I’m an artist at the core – my side hustle is clowning!
Everyone is a clown
I’ve always been a bit of a clown at heart. I think everyone is a clown. It’s just about finding a way to access that part of you and allow yourself to be silly. I’ve always had that and I’ve always had a unique dress sense. I love supporting artists and colourful clothing.
During the COVID era, I started to wear more colours and be a little bit more out there with my wardrobe. It kind of just attracted this other world. I was, first and foremost, really inspired by a friend of mine. He is a clown for a freak show on the east coast of the United States. He lives in Iceland now and does Coney Iceland. He gave me a few tips and tricks about how to do makeup. After that, I just started going wild. I was like, “I can do this every day! I can just go out as a clown and let that live through me.” Then it just attracted Sirkus Íslands and a lot of side hustles. I applied for a few grants from the city to work in hospitals with children, do circus days, do things for MSS and a few Coney Iceland shows.
I dress very clowney typically, but as far as getting paid or making a living, I do it once or twice a month. I apply for a grant, see if it gets accepted and then I prepare.
My favourite thing is that I get to be silly. I get to be wacky, I get to play with kids, I get to be a character, but also myself. People think I’m a clown, but actually, I’m just being the best version of me. I like being able to be unapologetically myself, be inspiring and have people laugh.
One of the best moments I’ve ever had clowning is watching grownups learn to play again. Sometimes we forget that we can have an imagination, we can play and be silly!
The hardest part is that I’m very shy and it’s a big energy exchange. It can be tough to put yourself in the “I want to be happy” mindset. If I can’t get there, I’ll just embrace the sad part of me. I’ll find a way to be maybe less energetic, less silly and more serious. That’s also okay!
You can basically take any element that is creative into clowning. If you are an artist, you can face paint. If you are into games, you can teach people games. Say you’re good at reading, you can just read storybooks to people. It’s so simple if you allow yourself to be a character. Try putting on a nose and see how you feel!
I dumpster dive for food, make my own accessories, thrift and alter my clothing. Renting is hard in Reykjavík, so I don’t undersell myself. I say, “This is what I need to make rent.” Also, I’m not feverishly spending all the time!
Want to share how you’re making ends meet? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Side Hustle.” We’ll happily keep your identity anonymous.
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