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    Katherine Mills breaks barriers with psychology and sleight of hand

    Mixing magic, psychology and sociology, Katherine Mills created history last year when she brought magic into the 21st century by becoming the first woman to front a television show. “I am very proud to be representing the girls, in breaking new ground in TV and magic history,” says the 32-year-old Briton, who sometimes simply stands back and appears to let strangers do the tricks. Glamorous enough to be the magician’s assistant, she tells us more about her journey to the screen, how David Blaine inspired her, and what she’ll be up to in her new series Mind Games.

    Back to the beginning.
    I first developed an interest in magic when I was 14 and I watched David Blaine performing street magic. But it wasn’t until I left University that I wanted to be a magician.  I combined my studies of sociology and psychology with the magic. There is a blurry line between where psychology stops and magic begins.

    Psychology and magic.
    It brings something different to the table because this style of magic is more thought provoking and experiential. Also, it has something that everyone can relate to. I’ve deliberately included a broad range of people from children, an elderly married couple to identical twins and everyone in between. So whoever you are, there will be people and situations in the show you will be able to relate to.

    Risks of involving the audience.
    It can be difficult to control all the elements of a situation, especially when I’m driving for a particular response. I wouldn’t say it makes me nervous but it keeps me on my toes and makes filming exciting.

    Hardest part of being on camera.
    Balancing the experience for the contributors and making sure everything happens in real time while constantly being aware of the camera and playing every situation towards it.

    Top episode.
    I played a game with the shop assistant at a high-end jeweller in London, where I got her to lie to every question I asked her, and from her responses I was able to understand her lying patterns which enabled me to read her and crack the code to their safe.

    Greatest influences.
    Derren Brown has been a huge influence, I think he is brilliant and of course David Blaine. Also a fantastic magician called Max Somerset has influenced me in the way he approaches the art.

    All-time favourite illusion.
    I’d have to say an affect by Penn and Teller called Shadows.

    Favourite magic films.
    The Prestige.

    Weekdays at 10 pm on National Geographic Channel

    Aakanksha Devi

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