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a Females Perspective on Magic: Fireside chat with Shelbi Wilder

Hello Sleightly Smoking readers! My name is Shelbi Wilder from Laguna Beach. I am a 22 year old magician who descended into the rabbit hole almost a year ago. When I discovered magic, it became everything to me.

We shall go back to the beginning roots of my obsession. Little 13 year old Shelbi, a dreamer, a lower class kid in Tampa, Florida who’d be running home just to catch the newest mindfreak episode. It was the only show I truely had the most interest in. This being said, the little girl who’d write Chris’s famous “A” symbol all over her notebooks, had an opportunity to go to Vegas with her uncle. My uncle asks, “What hotel do you wa-?” “THE LUXOR!!” I blurted before he could finish. I knew he lived there in the top floor at the time. If I ran into him and met him I would’ve been so happy! I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to even go. We only stayed in the hotel for two nights, while I happened to be very sick for the trip, my real misfortune was never running into him. Picture this, a 13 year old girl running down the halls of the Luxor with her vans on just hoping she can find where he is, to meet him and see his tricks in person! Oh if only she could. Then she’d know they were real magic....right?

Okay maybe... let’s fast forward 7 years. She hasn’t thought of magic much since. A go lucky 20 year old School Shelbi is walking down the artistic streets of her beloved beach town, Laguna Beach, Ca. Twirling her hulahoop and having a good time. She had two of her close friends with her. On the other side of the street, was a strange but friendly older man, with a toupe shaved in a straight line and sailor hat. This older man happened to know one of my friends I was walking with. He comes up with a $10 bill and hands it over to me and says, “I absolutely love what you did with that Hula-hoop, why it was like magic!” I laughed modesty as i took the money ...Hooping is a big passion of mine. He continued, “You know it’s kind of like what I do.” I replied, “what would that be? And he said, “well I do actual magic - and so does my brother, we are magicians.” My eyes lit up, “WAIT- LIKE CHRIS ANGEL?” he laughs and says “yeah! Here I’ll show you something cool since you should me your amazing hoop moves.” He then proceeds to taking the already lit cigarette out of his mouth and it begins to levitate - right in front of my eyes! And my friends! No television whatsoever people like this is the real deal. I was amazed, baffled and intrigued. It was a beautiful thing to see. The nice man then proceeded to take a walk with my friends and I and began to give me a bit more information about his art, stating things such as “Magic is a precise art that takes years and years, I am talking 20 years to be actually good at it.” I thought he was exaggerating but it turned out to be true. He told me it is very hard but the most special thing on the planet.

I couldn’t help it. I was hooked.

I ask him the famous question, “How do you do it then?” Even though, I wanted to believe it so much, it looked so good. He replies, “First you have to go in that corner over there... and go charge up your superpowers, you know summon your chi, meditate .... all that good stuff.” I laughed with a smirk and said, “I’m glad you didn’t tell me.” He looks up and says, “The first thing you need to know is that a great magician NEVER tells their secrets.” And from then on I was a tad obsessed with the fact that I just saw real magic, in real life! I became friends with the man, his name being Joe Joe. I stayed up all night just thinking about it... how are these amazing people out there that can actually do magic in front of your very face?

How fun! A wonderous moment for me, quiet revolutionary. My friends gave me weird looks. I knew I was different. Joe joe was a cool old guy, even though my friend Jess would ask me, “why you bringing this old guy around again... ?” I’d tell her, “Jessa. Hello!!! Have you seen him do this crazy magic stuff?” She brushed it off as nothing, was the unimpressed type. I enjoyed watching every chance I got, though he wouldn’t do it much at all. Only when I’d ask. He seemed a tad shy at times. Lets fast forward about 2 weeks now, that’s right not too much longer until one of the most exciting and spontaneous moments of my life. I was at work in the White House restaurant, a famous restaurant in downtown Laguna. It was slow that night so I decided to sneak out of work and check out an unusually large crowd of people blocking the sidewalk in the alleyway between the stores. I walk up wearing my all black serving outfit, with my little apron full of cash. A roaming of claps surrounded my ears as the apparent mystery man finishes his act. Not knowing what I was getting into at first , I waited to the side until the people left, which took quiet awhile, considering each one of them ran up to give him a bunch of money. “Yo that magic man, that was ridiculous!” A random bystander blurted. Magic?! I thought.. did he say magic! Oh my god. I was in the presence of another magician! A real one! He was much younger and looked much more professional. He had a green table with cards and a magic wand. Whoa. Cards? After everyone dispersed, I ran up to him like a kid in a candy store! “SIR I JUST SNUCK OUT OF MY WORK FOR YOU PLEASE SHOW ME SOMETHING! Anything! I love magic!” He smiles and grabs the cards. Yes. Yesss! I thought. So he had me sign a card and he rips it in parts and somehow puts it back together and it matched up perfectly! Mind was blown to the next level, an even higher level than Joe Joe! I was amazed and instantly in a ecstatic mood. I went into my apron , pulled out a $20 and gave it to him. I thanked him immensely and thought that was that. He then said cooly, “How about we use this twenty to get dinner tonight?” I was a bit shocked-but VERY happy. I gleamed with a big smile and said, “Yes please, I would love to, but I have to head back to work tonight, they’re probably wondering where I disappeared off to.” We agreed on tomorrow night instead as I was about to run back he asks, “Wait what is your name?!” I told him, “Shelbi and what’s yours?” He says “I’m Jack- Jack Murdock” and handed me his business card. “I’ll see you tomorrow Jack, same time same place!” September 17th, 2016 Briana and Steve’s tea party in Heisler Park. Some of my hippie friends that do tea time playing with large crystal shakras lying around the blankets while Steve is playing his sitar and my friend Shea dances and plays her drums. Briana is off to the side making everyone delicious cosmopolitans. After about 3 of those babies, lots of tea and cupcakes, a couple of bowls and I was getting pretty toasty. Knowing that my date with the gorgeous street magician was in about an hour or less, I told myself I had to take it easy. As the timing got closer I began to get a little nervous- but more excited than ever. I started to walk down from the park to meet him in his street pitch, same as yesterday, wearing my low cut black long sleeve and my dark brown high waisted jeans feeling confident and sexy, while being relatively casual-not trying TOO hard. Although I told myself after the date that he was worthy of a dress. That’s what I wore on the second date. After that first night, the rest was history. We had so much in common, it’s wonderful. He was sooo my type, everything I could ever want or ask for! A very special man indeed. Lovely, charming, charasmatic, the true magic he possessed was in his heart. After a month of having fun, dating and learning about one another. We fell hard. In love <3 we met so organically, and at such the right time in our lives. It doesn’t get as perfect as that. From that point and forward, after seeing a couple of things I may shouldn’t have... my boyfriend had me take the magician’s oath. He taught me a card trick. So last Christmas (2016) I bought myself my first deck of cards. The Arch Angels. The only thing I knew how to do was that one trick he taught me where the selected card turns face up and could ribbon spread the cards on the table. I just started playing with the fundamentals. So Jack ultimately took me under his wing into his world of magic, showing me the way to become a great magician.

From a females point of view I believe I am making a movement for more women being able to have the confidence to do incredible things they weren’t able to before. I feel kinda like the girl playing football after school with the boys kinda thing. Like how I felt in middle school when I was really into skateboarding. Definitely the only female in the group at the time trying these sort of things. Although I got further in skateboarding than football, I still lost interest rather quickly. I am happy to know that there are a decent amount of females in the magic community, and I really love to watch them perform. I think magic used to be considered manly, but I think it is actually a bit feminine. Think about the ropes, the rings, shiny coins and pretty cards. Powder, smoke, confetti and glitter. I think it can be considered both masculine and feminine and there is more than enough magic to adapt to any gender or situation. Which only gives us an advantage. I feel like the females are easily more noticed in the magic community. Aside from my usually posts about Hula - hooping, my original hobby and business I run, my magic posts seem to get much more attention on social media, ESPECIALLY if it’s just cardistry stuff. I feel like most magicians that are male are encouraging and very nice to me and I feel like some are more likely to show off more. I can’t blame them, if you’re really good at something and spend a long time doing so, you’re gonna want to show off. I haven’t had any bad experiences yet, everyone has been truthful to me and encouraging because it’s much more rare and not as many females get really into it. I want to change that!

To new female magicians entering the “brotherhood” do not get discouraged, do not be intimidated and most of all , DO NOT be afraid to ask for help! We want to see you succeed! Although be careful and warry of magicians that may only be nice to you because you’re a girl, they may not tell you your trick was bad because they are afraid they will upset you. This may happen, if you think that is the case, ask multiple magicians in the magic community about the trick / move you’re trying to get down. Get as many opinions as possible until you’ve found your own style and you know it will be full proof after practice. Never give up. Magic isn’t something learned overnight. It is one of the most detail oriented arts in the world, and one of the oldest. It takes a long time to master. Just remember that it’s not about the destination, it’s all about the journey! Magic opens the eyes of the mind to new beginnings and extraordinary opportunities I never imagined in my past life would be possible for me to accomplish such feats. You can’t go wrong with books on magic. To get started I would highly recommend going to your local library and checking the magic trick section. Check where a local magic shop would be. The Penguin Magic Expo is what I highly recommend if you want to see and buy amazing magic, and you can meet the creators themselves and get advice from the best! (Those guys you can for sure trust!!!) you can sign up with the penguin magic emails on their website and they send you the expo cities/dates. I only wish the very best for every female that is bit by the magic bug and that they never give up. I hope to see women doing more lectures and releasing new magic into the world!

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