Relive the splendor of the night with these exclusive photos
MANILA, Philippines - Female magicians are a rare species. Gorgeous Canadian half-Pinay magicians are even rarer.
But that’s precisely who Gia Anne-Marie Felicitas aka “Billy Kidd” is.
If I hadn’t been told she was a magician, I would not have suspected it. With her Eurasian features (that would not look out of place on a magazine cover), her edgy jet black bob, and black Doc Martens, Billy Kidd looked like some artsy chick at best.
But her large eyes that glinted with mischief told all.
The 30-year-old illusionist was in Manila last January 23 for the launch of her new show on Discovery Channel, “The Magic of Science.” The 9-part series follows Billy and 3 other (hot) young magicians as they perform street magic in New York, Warsaw, and London.
Billy is the Canadian in the bunch, with Australian James Galea, American Wayne Houchin, and Briton Ben Hanlin (whom you could easily mistake as a Jonas brother).
Aside from bringing “sexy,” “young,” and “hip” back to magic, the show also unveils the science behind the magic.
After baffling audiences with liquid that turns purple when someone lies, a silver bracelet that transforms into gold, metal that mind-reads, and ice cubes that burn, the 4 magicians become scientists — they explain the physics and chemistry behind the tricks.
In Billy’s own words, “They’re basically scientific experiments presented in a magical light. Imagine your science teacher as a magician.”
Show me the magic
During the press conference, Billy walked the talk by performing some magic, a couple of which are featured in the show.
Using only a thread-bare napkin, she managed to stop water from wetting a smart phone. She also managed to make a member of the press so heavy that a man could not lift her even if, seconds ago, he could. Lastly, she exchanged the places of two cards without touching either of them while both were inside the mouths of two different people (one was herself).
As in the show, she explained the science behind each trick, connecting the “magic” effect to laws of gravity, air pressure, and even psychology. Much of science is a mind game.
But she assures us that the show doesn’t break any magicians’ code.
She explains, “Our producers come up with some of the tricks and we’d say, ‘We can’t do that. It’s too similar to a magic trick.’ We only use science experiments you see in science classes but present them as a trick.”
Adding a magic spin to a scientific phenomenon makes it easier to remember it.
For Billy, “The problem with how science is taught in schools is that there’s no emotional impact. With magic, you make a connection with the audience. You make them anticipate something.”
Out of the box
Billy is proud to be one of the few female magicians in the international scene. She attributes the scarcity of female magicians to the female role in magic throughout history.
“They’re always jumping in the box. They were ‘props’ for male magicians. You always see boys get magic box sets for Christmas. It’s not common for people to give them to girls.”
Confining herself to any box (unless it’s a box she has to escape from under 10 seconds without anyone’s help) is something Billy is not likely to do anytime soon.
The charismatic magician is constantly reinventing her performances and tricks. Aside from the show, she continues to do her gigs and is all set to perform 3 shows in Canada.
The road to magic
Billy was first touched by magic when she was 18, after seeing her first magic trick. Then at 21, she saw a magician do a trick on the streets that overwhelmed her. That moment finally convinced her that she was destined to be a magician.
At the time, Billy was a dancer. Her artistic background included ballet, tap, and hip hop. She played musical instruments too, like the piano, saxophone, and violin. Magic seemed to belong to another world but for Billy, wherever that world was, she was part of it.
World-famous magician Gazzo took her under his wing, bringing her along his street performances, giving her constructive criticism on how to improve her style.
Today, she is her own magician with a special love for stage shows and cards.
“I like taking old stuff and recreating them. It takes a long time to invent a new trick and you never master any trick. It’s a constant learning process.”
So how does one become a magician?
Billy says with a laugh, “You go to the library. Magicians start with books. That’s where they find the basic tricks then they keep practicing.”
Watch Billy perform a magic trick here:
She recommends “The Royal Road to Card Magic” and “Expert at the Card Table” for card tricks. Many of these magic books are centuries old. “Expert at the Card Table” was first published in the early 20th century.
From books, budding magicians can join local magic clubs where they can meet other magicians and learn from them. Billy says there are such clubs in Manila.
Billy has come a long way as a magician. It is a road she is happy to still be on. No matter how long it takes to learn a trick, how difficult to rack her brains for new ideas, one thing makes it all worth the trouble"
“What fulfills me is seeing someone’s bodily, physical reaction to my trick. That sense of wonder and awe in their faces recreates the wonder I felt when I saw my first magic trick,” she says.
With her new show on the road, Billy is sure to strike the same awe and wonder in the minds of viewers.
Will they be awed by the magic or the science? In this case, they are one and the same. - Rappler.com
(“The Magic of Science” premieres on March 6 and will air every Wednesday at 11:00pm. It encores every Thursday at 4:00pm, Saturday at 5:00pm, and Sunday at 12:00nn and 8:00pm.)
Who will inherit the throne?
Rappler takes you through the Miss Philippines Earth 2013 competition with these specials: