Fanciful personas enliven a Georgetown area mom’s days
Even though she didn’t begin performing magic until two years ago, Renae Kingsley leads a magical life through an alternate identity. A married mother of four, she is also a performance artist known as Sunny Blossom. For many years, Renae expressed her artistic talent by face-painting at parties, but she says, “I realized I needed to be more competitive in the party entertainment industry. Clients prefer to hire an entertainer that can do several types of entertainment.”
And voilà! Sunny Blossom added magic skills to her repertoire. “I always loved watching [magic shows],” Renae says, “but I never thought I’d actually do it myself.” Though intimidated at first, she began learning how to twist balloons and do fun, silly magic tricks. She learned magic from a variety of sources, from YouTube demonstrations of easy tricks to classes with professionals. “I was honestly very surprised how much I loved doing stage magic,” she says. “Now it’s my favorite part of the business.”
Depending on the client’s preference, Sunny Blossom can be a clown or a fairy, but as Sunny Blossom the fairy, Renae sprinkles lots of fairy stories into her performance. “My fairy character has a complete backstory I wrote on why she paints faces at parties, and how she came to be so big, and why she can’t fly anymore. She knows many classic fairy tale characters and tells the children stories of how the fairy tales really happened.”
Renae loves both characters, but currently she prefers Sunny Blossom the clown. “Only because the wings for Sunny Blossom the fairy are too big!” Renae clarifies. “I need to redesign my fairy costume and invest in smaller, more horizontal wings.” Sunny Blossom’s magic show is so full of movement that her big wings always get knocked askew. Sunny Blossom the clown also has a handy apron with pockets, which are fantastic for certain magic tricks.
Besides Sunny Blossom, Renae is most often hired to dress as a princess for “royal parties.” She works with a costume shop that offers more than a thousand costumes to rent. “Basically, I can be any character a client requests to fit in with their theme,” she says. “One time I was hired to come in costume as Queen Amidala and help train party guests in the Jedi art of fighting.”
As much as Renae loves to perform, she doesn’t have time to make Sunny Blossom Parties a full-time career. “Family is very important to me,” she says. “I try very hard to protect it and keep a work-home balance.” Besides being a wife and a mother, Renae teaches art lessons out of her home and is actively involved in her church. She’s also a Destination Imagination coach, and until this school year, she homeschooled her three children. Education is very important to her.
During the summer, Renae performs “Reading is Magic,” an hour-long educational magic show at libraries all over Texas for their summer reading programs. “‘Reading is Magic’ teaches kids to love reading and takes them on a journey to explore different genres in the library,” Renae explains. “I frame every magic trick around a different book and teach the children about fiction, nonfiction, biographies, poetry, reference books, and fairy tales.”
The Kingsley family works off a well-regimented calendar, but Renae uses her performances as another way to spend quality time with her family. “Sometimes I take them with me, and we make a day trip out of my work. Sometimes I take one child with me, and we have one-on-one time to talk while we drive to a performance, and we go out to lunch together or pick up ice cream on the way home.” Her son, Matthew, thinks he has a pretty cool mom. “I like working with her because it’s fun being a line manager at big parties,” he says.
But his older sister Sarah, who is 12, says that while her mother’s magic tricks are cool, it can also be a bit embarrassing “when she does magic tricks at random public places, like for kids crying in the grocery store.”
Renae is usually just Mom at home, but sometimes she does slip into character when she’s teaching art classes or the nursery class at church because “it keeps the kids captivated and makes class more fun.” Renae understands the importance of keeping children engaged and involved. “In my magic show, I always involve the children in a variety of ways,” she says. “They’re never just a passive audience.” During a Sunny Blossom performance, the children are never expected to sit quietly and still. “They’re often in charge of making the magic happen, and I ask them constantly to move around and help me out. . . .They’re the ones making the magic happen.
Renae explains, “I feel like our world can be so negative. I like to counteract that negativity by bringing a bit of magic and delight into these children’s lives.” And Renae is not immune to that magic herself. “There is a powerful, positive energy that comes from a crowd of laughing children. It’s almost intoxicating.”