HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – In the past women have played the role of the magician’s assistant, getting sawed in half, but Leroya Sanford wants to make sure more women start wearing the magician’s hat.
“It’s important for me to be a female in magic so I can pave the way for other kids,” Sanford said.
Sanford is a new member of the prestigious Academy of Magical Arts' Junior Academy. She grew up loving comedy, but felt comedy was too much about complaining.
“It has no sense of hope for the future. That’s when I integrated magic about five years ago with my comedy to make that more inspirational,” Sanford said.
It’s no wonder she got the attention of the Academy during her audition. She is known for her inspiring magic, and was one of the few young women to audition. Twenty-two people auditioned this past spring. Five passed and she was the only female to make the cut.
Junior magicians meet once a month at the Magic Castle and study magic. Together they listen to lectures form international magicians.
“When I come to the meetings there’s three to four girls in here and it’s crazy to be in such a big room full of men,” Sanford said.
While female magicians are on the rise, they are still a smaller percentage of performers who earn their livings as professional magicians. Only an estimated 260 of the 2,700 magician members of the Academy of Magical Arts are women, which is 10 percent.
“I Google searched and there were no people of color female magicians and I was astonished,” Sanford said.
Leroya plans to pursue her craft professionally, inspiring people with her magic messages, and just by being herself.
“If you don’t see yourself represented in media you don’t think it’s an option for females,” Sanford said. “Being in here is still a dream, I’m like 'man someone pinch mean I don’t know if this is true.'”
Her dream becoming a reality is as real as the impact her magic has.