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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Feminine Mystique » » Professional magic in transition (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

CrazyRocket
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Hey there,

I'm not really new to the magic Café, but this is my first post and I felt I had to come over this section to talk a bit about my situation.

I've been doing magic for the last 15 years, and professionnaly performing close-up magic about once/twice a month for the last year. My interest in public performing grew up at a steady rate and it is something that I really do enjoy now. I'm having more and more professionnal contacts and I feel like I'm ready to take that activity to the next level.

But.

Of course, at this point you might be wondering what is so extraordinary about it. A magician going from amateur to professionnal is quite common indeed on these forums.
The thing is, I'm in the middle of changing my gender. I've been on hormone therapy for about 7 months I'm about to release the breaks to live full-time as female. Although I am not afraid of social consequences, I don't really know how to address these magic-related issues :

- 7 months of hormone therapy changed my appearance quite a lot, and I'm now in a middle-ground "androgynous" appearance. I can still present as male, but it feels weird as I have to wear larger clothes to hide my body development. Not to mention it is counter-productive in a gender change.

- Voice. My voice can be female, as long as I don't speak too loud. The thing is, close-up magic is usually quite noisy and speaking louder makes my voice deeper.

- Professionnalism. How do I tell some of my clients that booked me that I will be performing as female, and that my name has changed without losing too much gigs ?

- Pocket management. I know how to prep a male suit for close-up, but female outfits seems much less practical. I thought of using a purse, but I feel it can be impractical.

- Presentation. I don't know if tricks can be labeled as masculine or feminine, but I was wondering if I had to change some presentation about my sets. Can I still present a "human blockhead" on stage, for example ?

Well, I think that's it for now, but these are important questions that I need to address quite quickly Smile

PS : Being french, my english's not perfect, so don't blame me for it please !
AaronSterling
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I'm not sure there are any easy answers to your questions. It might take you some time to find your new voice, both theatrically and literally.

One question I can answer is about human blockhead. Blockhead and other sideshow stunts are often *stronger* when done by women. See, for example, http://www.sideshowdarling.com/

Best of luck.
Mary Mowder
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I am not a fan of Human Blockhead at all but I guess a woman cloud do it as well as a Man (but hopefully not for Kids).

I do have a small purse and it works well.

Women have fewer clothing constraints than men in dress situations. You have more options but you'll have to make strategic choices (and add pockets).

Women can wear a suit type coat or have a wearable side purse.

http://www.luckymag.com/accessories/2014......tem14_15

I mostly wear a highly pocketed vest.

Welcome to the Sisterhood. Best of luck in your transition.

There are not many here who can help you with the crux of your problem, we simply don't have the experience.

-Mary Mowder
Lothar
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There is a great transgender magician in England named "Fay Presto". She is famous in the UK. There is even a BBC documentary about her. I have that on my Youtube channel ("pumbaaj") . She is a great rolemodel, if you're looking for advice on the possibilities available for transgendered magicians.
TonyB2009
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Fay Presto has broken this ground before you, as has been pointed out. I have met her a few times and she seems to be a very friendly, helpful sort. Google her and get in touch I would say.

As for your specific questions. Blockhead will improve with your new gender. In crowded situations drop your voice below the background noise rather than try to rise above it. It will work every bit as well, and will not deepen your voice.

Finally, as for bookings, I doubt any booker will care. They booked you, and they are getting you. I will give you an example. I was booked to do close-up at a dinner dance. I din'd not feel like pulling on the suit and doing boring card tricks. So I dressed as a clown and hit the tables in a completely different way, with different material than usual. Do you think the booker cared? She booked me for two more on the strength of it. If you can entertain it is you, not the costume, the balls or the boobs. You. And that will not change.

Best of luck with the transition.
Chrystal
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Hi and Welcome to the Café!


I read your question a few days ago but wanted to think about your questions before responding as I had to think about it for a day or two. You've built up clientele and a reputation for 15 years and that takes a while to get established. I always believe honesty is the best policy and while you (hopefully not)may find some clients may be uncomfortable I pray you don't loose any business as a result. Pffff who'd want them anyhow? I'm hoping that your clients will stay loyal and true to you. I'm also thinking that perhaps many more doors will open for you as a result of performing as a female magician.

Females in magic are still considered a rarity so that's a good thing as you'll have a already established niche to pursue. Especially those performing closeup. The one thing that is of consideration is the name change as most of your past clients will automatically recognize your name so perhaps you inform them or do it in a big way via announcement in a paper perhaps? You may also want to use a combo of the two names and then drop your former name over time. Or do you simply drop the male name when you've transitioned? I'm not really sure what is the best route truthfully and I can understand your reason for your questions. As I've said I had to think about it for some time and am also not sure what to advise. I think it comes down to whatever you choose is the best for you.

Your persona will eventually change over time as will your costumes and should you decide to perform in suit or dress it probably will depend on your persona. Dresses especially can be fitted with lots of secret pockets or folds should you find a good designer who is specialized in working with female magicians. Purses to can hold a lot of items as can hair accessories, ear rings and other adornments that women like to wear. Wigs too can hide a number of items. You may find lots of ideas on the net.

As for your voice you may want to try using a cordless mic but that would depend on where you are performing. My performances are mostly stage and walk a round so while I don't always use a mic I find in situations I have to speak loud. On the other hand, Tony made a good point as often people tend to speak louder to make themselves heard but if you speak quieter often the crowd may quiet down too in order to listen. (An old teachers trick in classrooms). Then again if you're in a crowded bar and people are drinking it's a bit different. I think you will find your own comfort level as time goes on.

I too wish you the best with your transition and like Mary stated, Welcome to the sisterhood!
Cheers!
saysold1
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Also consider getting in touch with Cashetta as she might have some superb advice - http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/bb_pr......ser=2129

Good luck with your transition and much success.
Creator of The SvenPad Supreme- "One of the most versatile and well made utility devices I have ever used. Highly recommended." Bob Cassidy www.SvenPads.com
Edith
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Hi,

I understand your worries but don't worry. You really don't need to worry about anything. There are lots of male performers where you are not sure if they are indeed male. Just from their looks and attire. So if anyone insists on you performing as male, so be it. If someone would walk up on me and told me they'd rather have me perform as a male, I probably told them it is not possible. The worst might be that SOME (only some) people decide oh that's not what I have signed up for... oh well. But that won't be many, anyways. Then just don't perform but be sure to collect the money. ;-)

I'd change the pictures and pronouns on my website and the give the people who have hired you a subtle heads up maybe 1-2h before your arrival. Maybe along the lines: "Hi, I am on my way now. I just wanted to check up with you if everythings alright... Will there be a changing room available or do I need to use the lady's room? // When I arrive who will show me the way to the changing room? ... I am so glad you provide one. You wouldn't believe.. at one gig I had to set up in the lady's room...Usually I prefer to put on my make-up in private."
CrazyRocket
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That is crazy how time flies by when you are occupied !

First, I would like to thank you all very very much for all of your advices (even if I'm late). They were really helpful and you actually made me realize something I almost forgot : People generally don't care of what you look like.

Now things are a little different, I moved into the UK, so I had the chance to perform to an audience that had no idea of who I was, and I just went along, doing my usual routines, with added femininity in my patter, and it worked great ! Really great. I didn't explain my gender change to the organizers, I just went along saying my name was Joan Lane, and I was the magic entertainer.

I also wanted to give you an update on my transition, as I know I would have been delighted to have found another transgender magician explaining her/his situation.

First, it gets better, appearance-wise. People don't find me androgynous and I'm not misgendered anymore. 12 months of hormone therapy helps, but it's also a question of confidence, which definitely builds a lot as you go along with your social life as your correct gender.

The voice : it kept me worried A LOT for quite long. But I don't get any negative feedback from people anywhere. I perform, even in crowded situations, I speak louder, and my voice often drops and gets not-that-feminine, but as long as I don't care, they don't care either. I just realized that people tend to mimick your attitude naturally : if I am negative, they will be too. If I'm super positive, I'll get great feedback.

The attire : Indeed, the suit + purse works very well for close-up. I had to adapt some tricks because you basically can't hide as many things on a women's suit (like big lemons in the pockets for a bill in lemon), but it led to more personalized routines, because I had to think really hard to make the most out of my new "pocket management".
Basically, a deck of cards and a packet trick in my right pocket, elastic bands, sharpie and coins on my left pocket, plus reloads and filler tricks in my purse and I'm ready to go.

Clients : Well, I found the corporate world to be highly respectful and non-judging. And if I do a killer trick, it will still be a killer trick, and that is what will sell the show. I do presume some of the people I've met did actually see I was transgender, but it seemed to have added some curiosity to it. Because let's face it : there are not that many MtF transgender magicians performing around, and whether I like it or not, I'm kind of a rare sight. I'm still not sure whether it plays a part or not in client interaction, but I haven't seen much change.

The magic : I think that's the most interesting point of my experience. The magical effects are above the gender. Whether they know about me being trans or not, when the magical moment actually hits, they're in it, hundred percent. I already knew the kind of reaction I got from those tricks before transitioning, and I still get the same level of excitation. I do think they're a little higher now, but I think it's more because I'm still improving than anything else.

What I can't do anymore : For now, it's really difficult for me to use loops, because my skin became so fair that they show very, very clearly on it. I've tried different lightning conditions, and it's still the same. I almost thought of getting a wrist tattoo for being able to use them in the future !
Card in wallet is not possible too, because trick wallets are so masculine, I would need to modify a real one to make it work. Plus, I don't have an inside pocket, and even if I had one, it wouldn't be feminine to get the wallet out of it.
Any signed card to any spectators wallet : it just doesn't fit to a girl's shirt. I would have to make a custom shirt for the gimmick to be really usable again.

What seems to work better : Gambling demonstrations. For some reason, and maybe because people are not really used on seeing a woman shuffling and dealing cards, it does seem like the reaction are a bit better than before.
Mentalism too, as I'm naturally making way more eye contact than before. It seems I connect more easily with people. I think it's mainly because I feel so much better and confident now about me and my magic.

Anyway, I'm kind of starting a new career here in the UK, I might even change my personal performing/clothing style to better fit my personality. Getting out of that *** closet and being myself is definitely the very best thing that happened to me in my entire life. It gave me so much perspective on so many level, I'm trying new things I would never have tried before. In a nutshell, it's freakin' awesome.

Once again, thank you so much to you for the answers. It seems like I'm officially in the sisterhood then. Time to get magical now.
Low Key
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Congratulations, and thank you for sharing! Smile
paulapaul
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Hi. You made me chuckle when you mentioned the breast pocket. Yeah, it's not good to start out as a Dolly Parton and end the act as a Twiggy! I even had to move match pulls away from the upper chest. Any time I tried anything in the chest area, I felt self conscious. My custom made magic dress has a lot of the secret action happening at the places in my skirting where fingertips lay when my hands are at my sides. If using a loose jacket, I could make topit-like pockets for just bringing items out from my coat (at waist height). More often, my items to and from the front of the body worked at the area just above a cinched-then-flared waist. (Picture without jacket attached)

Click here to view attached image.
Edith
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Welcome to the sisterhood!

Thanks for sharing. I always thought I am too lazy to not do card to wallet and similar effects. Is there a store that sells magic for the ladies?
SamanthaO
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All the best!

I do a coin/small item to wallet with a nest of wallets.
I don't think they care about whether they look feminine or not but then I'm not performing professionally yet - first charity gig in a few months.
So far when I do perform, I tend to load up my jeans with effects, but since I'm a coin + walkabout/close up type, it doesn't take up too much space and no one appears to notice the spongeballs in my back pocket, even tho it's skinny jeans.

I'm going to tailor make a suit jacket with pockets inside and out (as you noticed, female clothing doesn't come with much space!)
Perhaps you might want to look into that?

Or Mary's suggestion of the pocketed vest is good.
Or if you're really investing in it, design some clothes that will be able to fit your needs and ask a tailor to help?

All the best! I might be heading to the UK in May this year, would love to meet you and magic jam! Smile
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