30 October 2021

A peek behind the curtain with Hollie England

A peek behind the curtain with Hollie England 

You may already know that Hollie England toured with The Illusionsists, was a top 5 finalist in the Cyber Magic Superstar competition, appeared on Masters of Illusion, created Booked It, and was the director for Jamie Allan's Illusionarium in Toronto. 

Did you know that Hollie will be part of the Champions of Magic World Wide Wonders Tour  early next year?  Learn more about Hollie in the first of a series of cast interviews leading up to the Champions of Magic shows in Kitchener and Peterborough early next year.

What wondrous and extraordinary magical effect would you have shown me had I been there to interview you in person?
I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone who may see the effect in the future but it would definitely involve 2 of my favorite things - celebrities and fire!    
What is your first memory of magic?
I used to always love watching the magic shows at the resorts we used to stay at on vacations to Spain and Italy when I was around 8 years old. I grew up in England watching Paul Daniels, Tommy Cooper and The Masked Magician (I know, how scandalous!) on TV. My parents still have the deck of cards that came with my ‘Wizbit Instant Magic Book’ as a kid (although I secretly wanted to be Debbie McGee because she was a ballet dancer like me).




Who inspires you that is not a magician?

Outside of magic, I’d say choreographer Bob Fosse (they say he is the only man who should tell a woman what to do with her body) and Gwen Stefani for her style.
Who inspires you magically?
Dai Vernon once said ‘Pick a trick and learn how to do it better than anyone else,’ and the most inspiring magicians for me have done this and are both creative and original: Enzo Weyne (France) is a true engineer of stage illusions and I love how his presentations always end with an unexpected twist. I love watching Cyril Takayama perform and wish I could experience his show live. Jeff Hobson and Dan Sperry are, to me, unparalleled in how they refine character, comedy and branding for a modern audience. Jamie Allan (UK) is flawless at fusing magic and technology beautifully, using iPads, laser beams and social media. Lastly, from Korea, Yu Hojin is the epitome of class and elegance. I’ve been mesmerized watching his acts literally hundreds of times live and he is the (rightly crowned) master of manipulation, but also of expression and art in magic. 


In this age of computer and robotic wizardry, why do you think audiences are still drawn to mentalism, sleight of hand, and illusion?
Arthur C Clarke said:
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Human nature will always want to be mystified and astonished and this magical feeling can truly be achieved through the right presentation and interaction. Technology and magic have evolved hand-in-hand and there will always be magical minds staying one step ahead and thinking of ways to fool people.

Above everything, we are performers and as Fitzkee says, the key to winning over an audience is to: ‘Make them like you better than your magic’.


Many magicians have a Canadian connection to magic.  Not including your recent Illusionarium experience, tell us about your Canadian magic connection.
Other than quoting Dai Vernon at the top of this article(!), I have worked with Canadian magician Darcy Oake. His attention to detail and modern approach to magic make him one of the most entertaining illusionists out there, as proven by his success on Britain’s Got Talent. I’m also a fan of Shin Lim, of course, who is the current king of TV magic.

What, if anything, makes you nervous about joining the Champions family?
I have very large shoes (heels) to fill! Kayla*  was the first female magician I saw perform at the Magic Castle in Hollywood many years ago and have followed her journey ever since. 
* Editor's note: Kayla Drescher will be leaving the Champions family next month and will not be present at their upcoming Canadian performances.
What are you most looking forward to about joining the Champions of Magic family?
Having been a fan of ‘Champions of Magic’ since I watched from the audience a few years ago, I am beyond thrilled to be joining the show. It’s a huge opportunity to be offered the chance to create and share new magic all over the world and I’m very excited to be working with such an outstanding cast and team.



The Great Pause (COVID Lockdowns)
Did you experience any silver linings? 
I started off being really productive and creative, wanting to use this ‘free time’ wisely to really work on my stage act, researching and getting inspiration from books & videos & then getting feedback from magic mentors.

What was your comfort binge?
There were definitely the days where I stayed in pajamas, binge watched documentaries and ‘That Chapter’ YouTube channel and ordered vegan sushi on Ubereats.
Were you able to explore your personal passions?
I wanted to do something creative that didn’t feel like ‘work’ and so started to draw and paint again. I got an overwhelming response to my art & ended up selling my designs on tee’s, mugs, posters etc on Teespring- so it ended up being ‘work’ anyway! Most recently, I bought a piano keyboard and started to learn to play. I let myself do something it’s ok to suck at!

Did The Great Pause allow you to do anything that you wouldn't likely have been able to accomplish if you were touring? 
There were definitely phases of adjustment as I have lived ‘on tour’ for most of my adult life. Living on my own but having been used to being around a cast 24/7, connection was very important. I joined a lot of online magic events (which ultimately led me to my boyfriend!), lectures, Facebook groups, virtual jam sessions and then was able to get a ticket for the stream of Rick Thomas’ show in Branson.


How did you keep your skills fresh and performance ready?
I gave myself a deadline by applying to the ‘Cyber Magic Superstar’ competition during lockdown. I had to develop and practice my brand new act every day in order to get a good enough take to submit to the competition which was to be judged by Max Maven, Franz Harary and Shin Lim. Ultimately it’s how I started getting noticed and taken seriously as a magician when my video got shared throughout the magic community. I won a place in the top 5 and got featured in Franz Harary’s virtual shows as one of his favorite entries.


Did you have to adjust anything in your set to incorporate COVID precautions?
There’s a moment in my show where the volunteer pulls something out of my mouth. I think I’ll be doing it myself from now on!
Was there anything particularly memorable about your first live performance after The Great Pause?
It was a sold out show (but socially distanced) at ‘Late Night Magic’ at the Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas. I had just been filming the ‘Go Big Show’ with Ben Blaque where we had to perform to an empty arena with no live audience (apart from the 4 celebrity judges).
To look out for the first time and actually see and hear real people’s faces and reactions was a reminder of why we are performers!

Have audience reactions to live magic performances changed after Lockdown? 
When audiences come to see a live show, they enter as an individual and leave as a group, because they’ve all been bound together by the same experience. I think that this feeling is intensified after lockdown as people have been missing and craving social interactions.
If you could go back in time to study (magic or otherwise) under anybody, who would you choose to be your mentor?
Having toured the world since 2008 with many high profile illusion shows, I’ve been blessed to have access to some of the greatest minds in magic. Since I decided I wanted to become a magician, the respect, encouragement, mentorship, friendship and one-on-one help (plus materials and ideas) I received from talented names such as Kevin James, Luis De Matos, Bizarro, Brett Daniels, Dan Sperry and FISM.

World Champion Yu Hojin has been overwhelming. I’d like to think it was because I’m a rare breed of crazy girl, genuinely interested in magic, addicted to performing and hungry to learn and create. What a rare dream come true to be able to direct, work and spend time with so many of these people who inspire and help me with my own act.
What’s your go-to Karaoke song?

I once did a cirque show with a very muscly, butch, Russian strongman and we sang ‘It’s Raining Men’ at karaoke in Niagara. However, my favorite thing is watching my boyfriend, who always dresses in a full suit, slay at karaoke with ‘Rap God’. It’s a little insane.
If you could only perform one effect for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably the Quick Change. I have way too many clothes and not enough suitcase space to wear them all!


If you could eliminate other performers performing an effect forever, what would it be?
A great magician can take any effect and make it into a great performance through unique, charismatic and dynamic presentation.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to perform with these wonderful, magical artists and to be able to return to Canada for some Tim Horton’s!


Thank you Hollie, for making the time to answer our questions!

Catch Champions of Magic in Kitchener and Peterborough early 2022! 

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