Sammy Nickalls
Updated August 09, 2015 6:35 am
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The Magic Circle was founded as a gentlemen’s club in 1905, and women were not allowed to join until over 80 years later in 1991. But it turns out that women are better magicians than men, according to the club president Scott Penrose. Shazam!

In an interview with The Independent, Penrose explained that not only are more and more women entering the previously male-dominated art form, but they’re actually better suited to magic than men. “Dare I say it, when it comes to illusions, women are better at certain types of tricks than men,” Penrose told the publication. “I cannot divulge too much because of the secrecy of how tricks work. It could be partly to do with the way women are built.”

Even now, out of the 1,500 members of the Circle, only 100 are female. However, that number seems to be growing, and with the rise of well-known female magicians like 31-year-old Katherine Mills, the first British magician to have her own TV show, and 16-year-old Leah Mae Devine, the first girl to win the Magic Circle’s Young Magician of the Year, it’s looking like Penrose is right in his assessment.

“The fact that magic is based on secrecy means that it has fallen behind the rest of society, and for a long time the Magic Circle was seen as an elite gentlemen’s club, inaccessible to women,” Mills, pictured below, told The Stage earlier this week. “It was only in the 1990s that they started to allow women to become members.”

But the tides are beginning to turn, and women are making their mark on the industry in a way no man can. “Women come at it from a different angle to men,” Mills told The Stage. “I might deliver a trick in a gentler or more flirty way than a man. I’m working on something at the moment where fashion and beauty are components of the act, and I don’t think a male magician would be interested in that.”

As recently as 2008, when Mills entered the magical fold, she was surrounded by men — though they greeted her with curiosity rather than hostility, as she told The Guardian. “I definitely felt odd being one of the only women at the beginning,” she explained. “The older magicians were particularly intrigued to find out how good I was and what kind of magic I was doing, just because I was female. There is that extra element of proving yourself, more judging eyes on you.”

Though magic has come a long way in the past two decades, it still has a long way to go in terms of gender representation. “It feels like magic is playing catch-up to the rest of the entertainment industry, because for so long it was white gloves and top hats and scantily dressed female assistants, which is hardly encouraging for young girls,” Mills told The Guardian.

That said, if the president of the Magic Circle said himself that women make the best magicians, then it looks as though the tide will turn. Perhaps we’ll be seeing more men in spandex, being sawed in half by female magicians instead.

(Images via Instagram.)