Abra Cadabra! Alakazam! Meet Krystyn Lambert, a spunky 19-year-old philosophy major who also happens to be a world-class magician! After falling in love with magic at an early age, Krystyn became a member of the Magic Castle’s Junior Society and has since been bewildering audiences all over the nation with her seemingly impossible illusions. The UCLA undergraduate with a flair for the dramatic utilizes a puzzle-solving mentality to apply her studies directly to her magic. You can now catch her as one of the subjects of the recent documentary, Make Believe, released by Firefly Films and now airing on Showtime.
Of all the art forms out there, magic isn’t typically the first one that comes to mind. What made you become interested in it?
I have always been involved in performance. My mother was actually pregnant with me while she was performing in Guys and Dolls. I also did some film, television and stage work growing up. I was always a little trickster who loved puzzles and problem-solving, completely obsessed with the way things worked. Logic is my best friend. So one day, when I was little, a white-faced mime pulled quarters out of my ears. It was the first time that I had ever encountered something so seemingly impossible without any logical explanation and I was immediately enthralled. Then I found out about the Magic Castle which had a junior program. Have you been there before?
I actually haven’t. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Well, I went to the Magic Castle for my 10th or 11th birthday and oh my goodness! It’s this old Victorian Castle in the middle of Hollywood on Franklin Avenue. Being young and interested in fantasy and everything, it just looked so idyllic. Inside, there are pictures with eyes that move and secret passageways and even a piano-playing ghost. While I was there, I happened to meet the director and told him that I was interested in magic; however, the junior program is for ages 13 to 21. Then he gave me the contact info of an older member of the program who would become my mentor. I started working with him as he was about to graduate, so he knew a lot about magic and was able to help me learn the craft. Soon enough, I started realizing that magic was so much more than I originally believed it to be. The main thing is that I never want [my audience] to suspect that I have moved the coin from under that card to that card or figure out what cultivates the mystery of the trick. There are so many psychological subtleties that go into it. Personality wise, magic and I are really an awesome match! I love it so much. It helps me grow. I think it’s going to be a part of me for the rest of my life.
You said before that being a philosophy major has completely transformed your way of thinking about magic. How so?
I think it really changed the way I approach my magic. For instance, when you’re considering a certain philosophical issue, sometimes you just need to stop and flip the whole thing over on itself and try thinking about it from a completely different angle. It’s also funny because a lot of the professors within the department were actually magicians when they were younger. Apparently, I’m not the only person who feels this way!
Where do you get most of your ideas for your magic? Any individuals or movements who have had a specific influence on you?
A lot of my magic is based on Descartes and I often talk about Egyptian Gods and Victorian Grotesque. I’m working on a routine right now inspired by Victorian concepts of beauty.
What kind of tricks will that involve?
Well, it’s kind of secret. But I’m starting to get kind of interested in mental magic. I think it’s pretty interesting.
What is mental magic?
Well it’s a form that has a lot to do with the dynamics of who is in the room and where people are in relation to you and how focused they are or whether other things are going on. For instance, if you have a magazine opened to a page, sometimes I can get a sense of what you’re vibing on based on these variables. I’m just starting to get into that. But I think classic magic is an incredibly important foundation. I am hoping to grow and expand to make my magic tricks be more unique to me. I can always dress them up with the script and the dance and the music, but I think the next stage is to build from those classics and create magic that feels more organic to me.
I think a lot of the magicians I look up to are not known in the mainstream world. I often work with someone named Armando Lucero and you know how I mentioned those psychological subtleties? Well, with him, you can never guess how that coin moved from that card to that card. All of the doors of possibility are closed and you are just left with this absolute impossibility. Armando’s magic is as close to real magic as anyone could get. He is such an inspiration to me. I also love Penn and Teller. They are more mainstream but I think they are brilliant. I also think David Blaine has contributed a lot to the magic world, taking things a step further culturally, making it hip by basing it off of people’s reactions.
One last question: how can Daily BR!NK readers contribute to your success?
Of course, connecting with me through social media. Follow me on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook. You should see the film, Make Believe. It’s a documentary that I am featured in and it’s amazing. Even though it was filmed in my junior/senior year of high school, and I don’t really identify with that Krystyn anymore, it’s such a great film that conveys the message of really pursuing your passions and following your dreams.