I was at a wedding recently where the bride and groom had hired a magician to entertain the guests between the ceremony and the meal. It was incredible. This guy blew my mind. He changed my card while I was holding it in my hand. How did he do that?! Needless to say I was impressed. I’m fascinated by magic. Then a few weeks later, I’m scrolling Facebook and a video pops up on my newsfeed of Louise performing with Chicks n Tricks. I watch with fascination as she turns lottery tickets into twenty-pound notes for perplexed members of the public. Chicks n Tricks are an all-female magic group who specialise in close-up magic as well as big showstopping illusions. They’re women operating and succeeding in what has traditionally been a male dominated world. Women were always the magician’s assistant, right? So, with my love of magic combined with my love of women bossing it, I knew I had to get in touch with Louise and ask if I could feature Chicks n Tricks on Force. Luckily for me she was keen and happily responded to my questions while sitting on a train on route to her homeland, Scotland.
All questions answered by Louise, unless otherwise stated.
Name: Louise Andrée Douglas
Organization/business: Chicks N Tricks
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about Chicks n Tricks, how you started? What are your backgrounds, etc?
Chicks n Tricks is an all-female group of magicians! We perform together as a group and separately and we are members of The Magic Circle. Because there’s three of us, we share the traditional ‘magician’ and ‘assistant’ roles equally and mix it up a bit!
We were all performers before we joined Chicks n Tricks having been mainly working in the acting and dance industry and we had varying levels of experience and interest in magic! Chicks n Tricks was formed in 2012 by Green Fairy Productions who saw that there didn’t appear to be a really big presence of female magicians in the industry. So Green Fairy decided to put together a group of females to burst on to the magic scene as a FORCE MUJER!
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in getting to where you are today?
We have worked really hard to gain respect as magicians—we kind of burst into the magic community and I think it must’ve been easy for people to see us as just a novelty act. We didn’t want to be known purely for being female magicians, but for being good at what we do and being magicians—who just so happen to also be female.
I guess having the confidence to actually call myself ‘a Magician’ and overcoming barriers of learning a new skill and making it into a career – self-promotion etc. We can be our own worst critics at times!
What has been your proudest moment so far?
Being accepted into The Magic Circle was a great achievement for us as it meant we had that stamp of approval from the world’s most prestigious and renowned Magical Society and we feel honoured to be members alongside the World’s best magicians and creators.
We’ve also been lucky enough to perform at events for female led charities, International Women’s day events and various other female powered events – it feels good to be able to represent the magic community whilst supporting and celebrating fellow strong women.
Magic has also given me opportunities to travel the world and perform on the West End which have been proud moments for me personally.
I also work for children’s charity ‘Spread A Smile’, performing magic to children in hospitals such as Great Ormond Street, it makes me proud to be able to use magic to make a real difference to someone who needs it.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned and what impact has it had on what you do going forward?
Looking back, having had the courage to try something totally new and throw all my energy and willingness to be good at it was quite a brave decision—any entertainment career means you’re putting yourself out there to be judged, so I guess I’m proud of having actually been able to carve a career from an opportunity . So a big lesson I’ve learned is sometimes just GO FOR IT! If an opportunity comes knocking, even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone—have a try—what’s the worst that could happen! But at the same time, don’t be afraid to fail, dust yourself off and start again- magic can be so frustrating at times—there’s so many things to think about and that could potentially go wrong during a show – it’s such a challenge at times, but really rewarding at others. You can be performing on the West End or in the Dubai Opera House one minute then sitting alone on a delayed train back from a gig when everyone else is out on New Years Eve the next, so I’ve learned to appreciate the amazing opportunities whilst taking the rough with the smooth.
Which woman or women is your biggest inspiration?
Fay: Presto is a huge inspiration- her knowledge and experience in the magic world is unreal and she is so supportive to fellow female magicians and really advocates representation of Women in Magic. Fellow magicians Josephine Lee, Mandy Muden and Issy Simpson who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent put themselves out there to show that women can do it too, which I found inspiring – representation is so important, so for them to be on prime time national TV showing what they can do, was very inspiring.
The traditional female role in magic is that of the assistant, have you encountered any obstacles relating to this?
Because Chicks n Tricks split the traditional roles equally, we don’t have any issues with this, but we all also work separately as both Magicians AND Assistants. Traditional magic stereotypes would have us believe that ‘assistant’ is almost a dirty word…but having worked both in and inside of the box, so to speak, I’m proud to still do both roles, blurring the lines and questioning the stereotype. Who says you can’t do both!?
And finally, since we’re all about celebrating women, what woman do you look up to? She could be a family member, friend, celebrity or historical figure. Anyone you want really!
I always joke that I think I was a Suffragette in a past life. Emmeline Pankhurst would be my historical inspiration. Spice Girls would be my celeb inspiration – Girl Power, need I say more?! But also because they’ve come back as mums in their 40s and smashed a sold out arena tour! And my biggest inspiration will always be my Mum. She’s also a female in a male dominated industry, working as a Funeral Director. It sounds cliché, but she really is my hero!
Chicks N Tricks :