One Glendale resident is ballooning her way to YouTube stardom and getting healthier in the process.
Grace Brigham, better known as “Candy Twister” or “Candy the Clown NYC,” hit over 500,000 views on Monday for a video where she fits her full body into a balloon. She considered this a great feat, but more important than her balloon tricks leading to internet limelight was how they helped her battle Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
“I wasn’t sure how the video was going to do at first, but seeing the hits I get now blows me away,” Brigham said. “Ever since I’ve been making balloon art I feel better.”
Brigham started as a balloon artist at 42 years old while transitioning jobs and said she knew she had a niche for it. She is fighting MS, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, but said since she started her balloon art many of her symptoms have gone away.
“Memory is always a big issue for people with MS,” Brigham said. “But I never forget how to make any type of balloon character. Doing balloon art is my passion I always feel great when I’m out there doing a show.”
Brigham began doing balloon shows at restaurants like Applebee’s and Miller’s Ale House in Rego Park, where she is still a main attraction. She has done a great deal of shows around the city and can make virtually anything her patrons ask her on the spot. She even worked on a team with 74 other balloon artists to make a five-story, 50,000 balloon replica of “Jack and the bean stalk.”
She decided to try her famous “Climb in Balloon Stunt 1: Candy Twister,” as listed on YouTube, for the first time last year by a friend’s house to see how it would work out. With its success, both in person and online, Brigham works the trick into every staged show she hosts.
“People are always blown away to see how much work I put into my shows,” Brigham said. “But when you do what you love, everything just becomes fun. That’s what makes it kind of special.”
Brighman will be playing her next show at the Rego Park Center on Queens Boulevard on Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. Along with staged shows she specializes in all types of private events.