A Yonkers Resident is Super-Bowl Famous
Gwen Dean quit her job on GoDaddy’s Super Bowl commercial... using puppets.
Remember that GoDaddy commercial during the Super Bowl—the one where puppeteer Gwen Dean quit her job on the air, right then and there? Turns out she’s a Yonkers resident and, after 18 years as a machine engineer servicing the HVAC systems of Manhattan office buildings, she’s leaving her day job to pursue her passion full time: puppeteering.
She started small in 2006 when her friend, a puppeteer, had an assistant who couldn’t make her puppet show. “She tapped me,” says Dean. “Once I saw what went on, I was hooked. I said not only, ‘Wow, I think I could do this,’ but, ‘I think I could do it better.’”
And so her hobby was born: “It got bigger and bigger until one day I said this can be the world’s most expensive hobby or I can run a small business on the side and make it self supporting.”
Puppets by Gwen was born in 2008. Dean performed at local shows and bookings on her days off, and she even found herself working at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park. Then, in December of 2013, she saw the anonymous ad that would catapult her into full-time small business ownership.
“I came across a blind ad that said they were looking for people who are going to quit their day jobs to pursue their passions,” says Dean. “I clicked on it and, sure enough, it was a legitimate form and I filled it out.” The rest is history. GoDaddy chose her for the spot, worked with her to make a killer website, and Dean kept it all a secret.
“My boss was watching the game, which I strongly suspected he might be,” says Dean. “He texted me right afterwards and he sounded flabbergasted. I called him after and he was laughing and laughing.”
Dean said the aftermath has been hectic, and that her phone is ringing off the hook. “It’s the avalanche I expected it to be,” she says. Don’t be surprised if you see her around Westchester performing at kids’ parties, events, etc., creating, as she says, enchantment: “If you’re going to find enchantment, you’re going to have to create it.”