In honor of celebrating magic and illusion this week on Creating Herstory I was able to talk with the beautiful and talented Jade about what it’s like to be a woman in the magic industry.
What made you want to be a magician?
Unlike many magicians out there that started in magic as a hobby and, for some, became a job; I’m a magician today because it was a job that became a passion!
When I was a teenager, I landed my first job as a cashier at the World of the Unexplained Museum at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. The exit from the museum led to a magic shop! Soon after I was hired, I was told that the museum would be under renovation and that if I still wanted a job, I could continue working at the magic shop. Without skipping a beat, I began practicing the basic magic tricks that the store sold while still sitting at the till for the soon-to-close museum.
I worked at the magic shop for a total of 9 years. During those years, I became the assistant manager of the magic shop, graduated from college, performed magic shows for children’s birthday parties as well as corporate events, and I was the house magician for two different hotels in the Bay Area.
Although I have a degree in Mass Communications, I took the road less traveled by. I became a professional magician. And I am forever thankful for the choice I made. Or, perhaps, it was fate.
There isn’t a lot of information on women in magic or illusion, beyond the stereotypical magician’s assistant. Is there a woman that you look to as a role model that we should all know about?
When I started in magic, I met a very smart and beautiful woman magician by the name of Lisa Menna. She was well known in the trade show arena and was a very accomplished performer and negotiator. She convinced me that I could travel the world and get paid for my work as a magician. I believed her and made it my goal. That goal became a reality and here I am! Thank you, Lisa!
More and more women are becoming magicians, thanks in part to women such as yourself. What has it been like to break through in such a male dominated profession?
I believe it’s important to be a role model to dispel the belief that magic is a hobby only for boys and men. I certainly had thought that, until I “fell” into my job as a demonstrator/ cashier at the magic shop.
It helps to have something different that very few people offer. Here are the secrets to my success: First, put together a great act. Then look for opportunities. A little luck doesn’t hurt either.
Being a woman helps in some instances because that makes me a novelty. Being Asian also helps because it brings racial diversity to a program. But more than anything else, it’s important that the audience likes ME as a performer. Also, harness “stage presence”, this is the quality that will make you unforgettable. In the past, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to perform on many different cruise ships, television shows and stages around the world. Including a Command Performance for the Royal Family of Monaco!
The path hasn’t always been easy but it’s definitely been fulfilling. I am constantly looking to create new and different magic for the audiences to enjoy. As an artist, this will be a never-ending endeavor.
Any advice for women trying to make their mark as a magician or illusionist?
First, LOVE the art. The money will follow. Pursue the art with PASSION. Then the long hours of rehearsals will not be arduous. Consider WHERE you would like to present your act, VISUALIZE clearly in your mind, then PURSUE your goal. Good luck!
You integrate your culture into your performances. How important is it to you to be a positive representative of Chinese Americans?
I am an immigrant. So naturally, I embrace my cultural heritage and present my magic with a Chinese flair whenever possible. But because I’ve lived in the U.S. since the age of
9, I epitomize “the bridge between two cultures”. With my magic, I take the utmost pride in representing the Chinese Americans whenever and wherever I perform.
To find out more about Jade, or to see some of her magic first hand, take a look at her website, Jade, The Beauty of Magic