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I must agree with Mary. I have had more support than opposition in being a female magician. I will go on to say that I don't feel a disconnect with audiences because I am not a man doing the magician's job.

Part of our job is to assess ourselves and build an act accordingly. For instance, Penn & Teller do not cast themselves as the Romantic Leads ala David Copperfield. Likewise, each magician and each assistant has a role to play. If I am doing an illusion and cannot wrap my head around a male assistant for the part of the assistant in a particular illusion, I use a woman.

Another action I use to make the gender acceptable to the situation is to change the intent of the effect. As an example: Motorcycle Through becomes Motorcycle Through Magician. In making the illusion as strong as possible, I think a woman standing in wait for a motorcycle to go through her body has more King Kong appeal than a man in the same position. So, I simply make this a magician’s challenge (Motorcycle Through Magician) rather than a feat performed with an assistant in harm’s way (Motorcycle Through Assistant). I used male and female assistants for this illusion. But, I must confess that the men had the role of chaining me up for the challenge.

Other illusions gave me the opportunity to use assistants whose genders were unknown. I had a Cremation. In the traditional presentation, the assistant is burned alive. In my show, hooded monks put me (the magician) into the casket and set me on fire. After I vanished from the flames, one of the monks removed his hood – and “he” was ME! Not only did I change the intent of the illusion, I gave it an ending. Ya’ gotta love a transposition!!!

So, the male and female question is – as it always has been – a matter of good writing, role intent and good acting. I believe the magician should always have the “power” of the act’s principal. That Power is as valid in characters in the form of the Enchanted Waif or the Ultimate Goddess, Soft or Hard, it is the ability to tell the story that is more important than the actor’s gender, or even what version of femininity and masculinity the actors portray. There must be a believability to the character, as well. Not to worry, sci fi and fantasy lovers, Wolverine has believability. What I am saying is that the storyteller (male or female) has the responsibility to take the audience along on the story. I don’t enjoy watching a performer who makes the audience work too hard.
Zlwin Chew
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I have had the privilege to watch Melinda's show in Las Vegas. I was on the tip of my chair cheering and clapping and shouting.

Melinda is Awesome!
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