Sarah Steinman was simply applying makeup when she conceived the head-turning character seen by Minneapolis baseball fans this summer.
She mixed and applied a mineral bronzer, her first (and unsuccessful) attempt at making her own eco-friendly alternative. "My friend was like, 'You look like a bronze statue,'" Steinman said.
Two months later, the 25-year-old recent University of Minnesota grad debuted Goldy, a living statue of a female pitcher intended to mimic the statues of baseball greats Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew and others around the ballpark.
Dressed entirely in bronze -- complete with a bronze face, hands, pigtails and baseball mitt -- she stands stock still outside Target Field before and after games, while fans walking past try to decide if she's human or metal. When one drops a tip in her bucket, she might wink, give a tip of the hat or wind her pitching arm, much to their surprise.
Goldy, as named by passersby (because "Bronze-y just doesn't have the same ring to it," she said), is a street statue, similar to those seen at tourist sites worldwide, but rarely, if ever before, in Minneapolis.
Steinman, of Willmar, Minn., is neither a trained actor nor an experienced street performer. Unlike other buskers, she won't be seen outside the Metrodome before Minnesota Vikings games this fall or out on Nicollet Mall during the Thursday farmers market.
"I'm not thinking of the living statue as a steppingstone for bigger and brighter things," she said. "I just have to pay my rent for the summer."
That, and she's crazy about the Twins.
Before the opening pitch, she stands on street corners, usually at 7th Street and 1st Avenue N., and after the games, she's outside Hubert's Sports Bar & Grill with other street performers and vendors, performing for the thousands of fans descending from the stands.
On a recent night after the Baltimore Orioles topped the Twins, fans leaving the park seemed amused by Steinman's statue. "Tickle her!" one shouted. "Ask her out, dude," another said to his friend. A little boy leaned close to examine her, when -- "Boo!" -- she spooked him.
"She's really entertaining," said Hubert's manager Ryan Nelson. "She seems to be getting a really good response from people here."
Referencing Tom Hanks' famous line from the movie "A League of Their Own," Steinman places a sign before her that reads, "There's no crying in baseball! Photos for tips."
Before her first-ever "shift" (she refers to time at the ballpark as "going to work"), she hadn't even practiced. She said the physical endurance came naturally to her, because she's athletic. Standing still for a long time can be a little tough on her feet, she admits, but the hardest part is trying not to blink.
Steinman said her accidental occupation brings her back to her childhood, when her family took summer trips from Willmar to Minneapolis to see the Twins play. Those visits fueled her love for baseball and inspired an ankle tattoo with the Twins logo. During those trips, her dad used to give her and her brother a dollar each for street drummers. She compares what she's doing now to what those musicians did for her then: "I love being a part of people's memories of the game," she said.
She makes anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per game, depending mostly on the day of the week. "I'm not making loads of money, but if I do it enough in a month, I can pay my bills," she said.
Steinman, who graduated this spring with a self-designed degree in journalism, political science and environmental sustainability, said she hopes to earn an education degree so she can teach social studies. But money's tight. Being Goldy, she said, helps her stay afloat.