LOS ANGELES — The Magic Castle is an exclusive club — so exclusive, in fact, women have had a hard time gaining entry and respect.

What You Need To Know

  • The Magic Castle is the private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts

  • The AMA’s junior society is open for aspiring magicians ages 13 to 20

  • Skyler Jade is one of only two females in the selective junior group

  • While female magicians have been accepted at the Magic Castle, they are still a minority both on the stage and within the industry as a whole

If you work in magic professionally, then performing at the Magic Castle has to be one of the highest honors.

Skyler Jade spends Saturday nights making magic. To do so, the high school junior brings a box of tricks. As an aspiring magician, Jade performs for people eating dinner. It’s a bit of a relief for her family, who are a little exhausted by her intense passion.

“I have a younger brother, and I remember when I started, I used to show all the card tricks to him, so much to the point now where he’s so done with magic,” Jade said. “He doesn’t want to see anymore.”

Desperate to know more, Jade came to the source. The Magic Castle is the private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts. She is one of only two females in the AMA’s selective junior society, where she can troubleshoot new tricks in front of legends.

Diana Zimmerman helped found the junior society. She has spent decades performing all around the world and encountered vitriol while doing it.

“I remember it working one time on the Magic Castle stage, and one of the not-so-nice members of the Castle was standing backstage. And he said, ‘If she didn’t have breasts, she wouldn’t even be there,’ and loud enough that my manager could hear it, who was sitting in the audience, so yeah, there was a lot of that. I used to come home crying sometimes,” Zimmerman said.

No matter how you slice it, the magic business remains vastly male-dominated. For beginners to move up, it often takes friendships and connections — which are harder to establish when you’re in the minority.

“I still know I have a lot to learn and so many people I can learn from, especially here, which is really great,” Jade said.

Seeing one generation open doors for the next means progress could be in the cards.

By its own reporting, there are currently 38 women who perform on stage at The Magic Castle.