Thursday, June 8, 2023

8 Famous Female Magicians Breaking the Glass Ceiling

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Everybody loves to see magic tricks and be at some famous magic shows. But have you ever been to a magic show and were astonished to see a woman magician performing on stage?

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Well, in such a cases, it’s not just the magic tricks but also the fact that there are female magicians on stage surprises us and leaves us awestruck.

However, it’s not only amazing but also a rare scenario to watch a female magician performing on stage and leaving you spell bound with her unique and new magic tricks.

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There were no female magicians organizing their shows in “Magic Mecca” held in Las Vegas. An exciting story of 2010 in the Pacific Standard reported that the estimate percentage of women taking up professional magic is as low as five percent. 

According to an Australian magician Sue-Anne Webster though people love to find to out that the magician is a female, it is also a common notion that when they see a female magician performing they think she’s an assistant of the male magician.

Why it’s rare to find a female magician?

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Magic world is surely a man dominant world, and the number of professional female magicians is very low. It won’t be wrong to say that most of us have not yet witnessed a woman magician performing.

Since professional magic is a male dominant industry, it is rare to spot a female magician as these talented women find themselves lost among a group of men at magic shows and conventions.

There are a lot of reasons leading to the fact that there are so few female magicians:

  • Historical and Geographical Barriers: In the western world, women performing magic art was not supported by the society for a considerably long time. 

Even after the Industrial Revolution there were only men’s club practicing magic. It was only after the evolution of magic that women got easier access to learning magic.

  • Interest Level: Since the tradition of females practicing magic was not popular in the early times, it can be one of the reason that led to lack of interest among females towards magic compared to the interest in boys.

Boys then usually got a magic kit as a present which developed interest in them. 

  • Travelling: In the early times extensive travelling was not supported for women. If you are a successful international magician you need to travel to different parts of the world to perform. 

Travelling by women was not acceptable until recently. This barriers on travelling made it hard for women magicians to take up this art as a profession.

  • Costume Design: The costumes worn by magicians while performing are designed keeping in mind only the female magicians. Magic costumes usually comprise of jackets with long sleeves and pants with hidden pockets so that you can perform smoothly.

It is difficult to have such secret pockets in a down or any other western dress worn by women. Hence, lack of suitable costume also made it harder for women to perform and take up magic art.

  • Difficult Lifestyle: Women are usually considered responsible for looking after the family and the children. Maintaining a work-life balance has been difficult for women owing to the extensive travel required in this profession.

One of the magician name Menna states that she had to give up her family and children to take up professional magic as her career. She says that most of the women having children either give up magic or perform in duos.

  • Limited Role Models: Most of the girls and females don’t think of taking up and learning magic because they don’t actually have seen a female performing on stage in their life. 

This lack of role model and motivation is one of the other reason leading to the rare number of female magicians.

8 Famous Female Magicians across the World:

  • Fay Presto: 

Born on 17th May 1948, Fay Presto is a 71 year old British Transgender women who is also the member of The Inner Magic Circle. Fay Presto is the stage name of Letitia Winter who is famous for her close-up magic.

Her first job was at an atomic energy research company where she was working as a lab assistant.

She tried to study and work in sales before she developed her interest in performing magic in late thirties. 

She has held a residency at London and has been often seen performing at London’s restaurants.

Her ‘Table through the bottle” trick has been ranked 37th greatest magic trick of all time by Channel 4’s 50 Greatest Magic Tricks.

She was a part of UK’s Champions of Magic tour show from 2014 to 2017. She also made appearance in the BBC2 40 minutes documentary about her life name ‘Illusions of Grandeur’. Apart from that she has made a lot of television appearances in a number of documentaries and had played cameo roles. 

She was awarded ‘Party Entertainer of the Year’ in 1998 by Tatler Magazine and won the title of The Magic Circle Close-Up Magician of The Year 2012.

She has also worked to support the rights of women, children and LGTB community and is also an ambassador of Action for Children. 

  • Misty Lee:

Misty Lee is also a voice actress and comedian along with being a professional magician. Misty Lee was born on April 22, 1976 in Mount Clemens, Michigan. 

Lee discovered her interest in magic at an early age of 16 and followed her interest in spite of being a dentistry student. 

Misty’s onstage performances are a blend of theater, song and sleight of hand. She has appeared in a number of comic books and is also a co-creator of Dinicartoons character Little Rashy. 

Lee is the first female magician in history to hold the position of becoming a staff séance medium at Hollywood’s Magic Castle.

She is also an excellent voice actor and has appeared in award winning games like The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto , Disney Infinity to name a few.

She provided the voice of Aunt May Parker in the Ultimate Spider-Man movie.

Married to Paul Dini who is an animation producer and comic book author Misty is an activist against domestic abuse and has written and starred in a short PSA titled Escape on behalf of Domestic Violence Hotline. 

Misty is not only fluent in the American Sign Language but has also mastered the art of Cognitive Interview Techniques. 

  • Magic Babe Ning: 

Born on 16 October 1982, Ning Cai is a Singaporean magician, who is known as Mind Magic Mistress. She has been recognized by Channel New Asia as South East Asia’s first professional female magician.

Also an author by profession she was nominated for Literature Prize and is also recognized for her illusionist/escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning.

She has been recognized for popularizing magic in Singapore and has been praised also for her good looks and publications both locally and overseas.

She announced her retirement in the year 2014 but made a return in the year 2017 as Mind Magic Mistress when she concentrated on mentalism tricks.

She has a lot of awards in her bucket both in the field of literature and magic. 

  • Kristen Johnson: 

Kristen Angela Johnson is an American actress who was born on September 20, 1967 in Washington DC.

She is popular for her escape acts and works with her magician husband Kevin Ridgeway under several names. 

She is known for her role as Sally Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun which is a popular television series, for which she has also won Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series twice. She has also starred in The Flintstones as ‘Wilma Flintstone’.

She developed interest in magic in her childhood when she saw her mother performing as a clown and also do magic. She made her professional debut with New York’s Atlantic Theater Company.

Kristen’s most popular act is the Full View Water Torture Cell where she is chained in a tank filled with water and escapes in front of the audience.

Being a drug addict herself she has opened a charity SLAM NYC where she mentors the high school girls of New York City to fight their drug addiction and has also built a recovery high school for them.

  • Dorothy Dietrich

Born on 31st October, 1969 Dorothy Dietrich is an American stage magician and escapologist. She is known as the first and only women who performed bullet catch in her mouth.

She is also the first women to perform a straitjacket escape while she was suspended in air on a burning rope hundreds of feet above the ground.

 In the year 2006 Columbia Encyclopedia included her in ‘eight most noted magicians of the late 20th century’. As a teenager, she was referred to as ‘The First Lady of Magic’.

She is also called the female Houdini as she has copied many of the Houdini’s original escape acts and also went a step further by performing the Jinxed Bullet Catch Stunt.

She has made a lot of television appearances and is involved in the travelling Houdini exhibit.

  • Suhani Shah

The only female magician from India, Suhani Shah was born in Udaipur on January 29, 1990. 

Surely one of the youngest magician to make to the list she now is in Goa and made her debut in the field of magic at an early age of seven.

Up till now she has performed in over 5000 magic shows in India and overseas.

She could not complete her schooling beyond class 1 on account of her rich vocabulary and was thus home-schooled by her parents. 

She prefers to be called as an illusionist instead of a magician and also because the magic trick she performs including fooling of the mind tricks.

She runs a clinic in Goa with the name Suhani Mindcare to offer therapies that nourish the mind

  • Ariann Black

Ariann Black is a professional magician based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Black was born in Canada and started performing magic at an early age of five years. At the age of 19 she turned into a professional magician and moved to New York.

She is known to have organized her own shows in Vegas and has also appeared in a number of television shows both national and international.

Black is known for her efforts of encouraging other female magicians and promotes then. Black was voted Female Magician of the Year 2004 and as International Female Magician of the Year in 2008 and 2009. 

Recently she was awarded “Magician of the Year Award’ by International Conclave of Illusionists.

  • Lisa Menna

Born on July 23, 1964, Lisa Menna is a popular magician and activist who has pioneered in a male-dominated profession on account of her skills and talents.

She was called as the Most Influential Female Magician of the 20th Century by BBC world service. She received success in 1990s for performing as a trade show magician known as ‘The Darling of Dot Com’.

She was banned from the Magic Circle, Fakir Circles and Tannens (a magic academy) for the most of the 20th century as she was a female practicing magic as her profession.

Menna founded an NGO named Cause to wonder in the year 2011 and aims to bring about social change. She was also the first women to lecture and perform at FISM and was the only women to have been invited to perform in Hollywood in every theater of Magic Castle.

She has conducted some of the notable programs in countries like Antigua, Ethiopia, US Virgin Island, Sicily and India. Her NGO also coordinates with the curiosity based events from all around the world.

Lisa performed in 2019 for the 100th anniversary of the United Nations ILO on international women’s day in Geneva.

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Radhe Gupta
Radhe Gupta is an Indian business blogger. I believe that Content and Social Media Marketing are the strongest forms of marketing nowadays.

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