If the dizzying carousel of “swiping” for love online feels like a cruel joke, at least one woman came prepared.
However, Jess Harkin, a k a Kazoo the Clown, was given the hook on Tinder, where the 25-year-old single had hoped she’d meet her own “clown man.”
“I’ve seen girls with more makeup than this on,” Harkin told Jam Press, complaining, “Even if you are you, you can still get banned.”
The clown from Ireland’s Donegal county, who proudly wears her face paint and colorful clown garb in public, wanted to be up front about her professional — and romantic — pursuits, by writing her profile in character as Kazoo.
“I heard you were ‘just looking for fun?’ Well pal, the party has arrived!! Where can I set down this birthday cake and chocolate milk?” her bio read.
Harkin said that her unique approach seemed to work as there were no shortage of users swiping right to talk to Kazoo. She later shared some of the best conversations with her followers on social media — where she’s found support throughout the pandemic while out of work.
“It was going well, people were enjoying the videos, people were having a laugh on Tinder about it, and then they banned my account,” said Harkin — who, ironically, chose the name Kazoo “because kazoos are annoying and no one likes them.”
“How am I going to find a clown man now?” she thought of the ban.
Kazoo’s fans called it “anticlown discrimination,” saying that it is Tinder who are “the real clowns here.”
Harkin, who is also a magician, was only 3 years old when she decided on a career in clowning. “I was a very, very shy kid,” she recalled. “Because I was so unconfident, I had this character I could hide behind.”
She began learning sleight of hand on YouTube as a teenager, and soon traded in her classroom for the big tent at the age of 17.
“I went to every circus that came through town. I’d go in my full costume and hand in a CV to the ringmaster at the end of the show,” she said.
Juggling balls is one thing, but school and work was quite another, said Harkin, who averaged just about four hours of sleep per night during her first few weeks of training. “It wasn’t sustainable and I had to choose between college and the circus and I just couldn’t give up the circus,” she said.
Harkin has said that clowning “changed” her for the better. “I’m much more confident now and I love to make people happy,” she said, adding that it’s the “shy” kids like her who have inspired her work. “Every time I do a party, I try to find the shy kid to get them up for a trick.”
What worked for her in life, Harkin hoped, would work for her in love — until Tinder booted her. Harkin appealed the decision to Tinder, who finally reinstated her account on Feb. 18.
“Our community guidelines state that we may remove accounts used for promotional purposes,” said a spokesperson for Tinder in a statement to Jam Press. “However, we want our platform to be a place where our members can share what they’re passionate about with matches.”