Kern high school senior 'serious' about career goal

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) One Kern County high school senior isn't fooling around about picking a career after she graduates. Holly Kapler will get her diploma from Liberty High on Thursday, after earning a 4.0 grade-point average, and now has her sights firmly set on getting a job as a clown.

No joke, that's the career she wants, and she hopes for help to head back to clown school.

"I saw Ringling Brothers (circus) when I was 11, and I thought it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen," Kapler told Eyewitness News. "And I just knew that's what I was going to do."

Since then, Kapler has learned to juggle, ride a unicycle, and play the ukulele. She hopes it adds up to the job she wants, and she's worked to learn more.

Last summer Kapler went to the Mooseburger Clown Arts Education Camp near Minneapolis.

"So many of my heroes were there teaching me," Kapler said. "We learned physical comedy, and movement, slapstick, partner juggling, and started working on soap." Asked about the soap, the clown-in-training says that's lessons on how to make the pies that get thrown in the face. Kapler said there are certain types of soap that work best.

And there's more science to clowning she wants to learn this summer at the camp.

"To have a technique, understanding movement, and how to be funny, and why it's funny," she explained. "Not just, 'That worked.'"

Kapler says she's worked hard already, estimating she spends up to five hours a day practicing.

But, the 18-year-old says the summer session at the clown camp will help nail down a job. "It's not required, but it really helps," she said.

Asked about job openings, Kapler wasn't sure, but said eight students from the Mooseburger camp auditioned after last summer's session and three got clowning jobs.

The camp is set to run at the end of July, and Kapler hopes to audition for Ringling Brothers in August.

But, she needs money for travel and tuition, and Kapler has set up a crowdfunding campaign on the Indiegogo website. She calls the campaign "Mooseburger or Bust."

Kapler's mother told Eyewitness News she was surprised when her daughter got that all set up, complete with a video about her goals. The teenager says her mom supports her.

"She thinks it's pretty cool," Kapler said. "She thinks it's great that I want to use my life to help people. You know, the best medicine is laughter."

Kapler has a bright orange and green clown suit, a hat, clown makeup, and -- of course -- a red nose. She hopes to get a job with a circus that tours the U.S., and later also work in Europe.

"I'm going to audition for Ringling this summer and hopefully I'll make it," Kapler said. "And if not, there's plenty of other circuses that I'd love to join."

Asked what could happen if there's no job?

"If this doesn't work out, then I'm going to go to Bakersfield College this year and still work on my skills," she said. "And hope to join a circus in the future."