On the Flip Side of the Card
Interview with Ning Cai, Author of Who is Magic Babe Ning?
You’re more likely to know her as Magic Babe Ning although these days she goes by Ning Cai. After retiring from 10 years in magic by the title The Sexiest Woman in Magic, she still is loved by so many of us for her inescapable charm, positivity, and for just being herself. So when we got a chance to interview her for her second book, Who is Magic Babe Ning? , we were geared to be bedazzled; and so you should too!
Read more about how she finds magic anytime, anywhere.
Hello Ning! We are so pleased to interview you for our feature this month! We have heard you speak many times about your magic, so today we want to focus on you, Ning Cai
Thanks so much for having me! 🙂
Your second book, Who is Magic Babe Ning, talks a lot about your struggles and personal triumphs over the years in the magic industry. We are curious then, about how you find magic in daily life outside the glamour of stage.
Absolutely! There is so much magic in the ordinary, but we’re constantly rushing about in our busy city lives and all caught up in the daily grind, which as adults we have almost forgotten how amazing this world of ours actually is. Quite like Wordsworth’s Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood; we only need to ask ourselves:
When’s the last time you did something new?
For instance, I met members of The Wheelies, a local electric unicycle riding community, when I was a guest on Mediacorp TV’s The 5 Show. They asked me to join them and trust me – learning how to ride an electric unicycle is far more difficult than simply hopping on a segway BUT it’s a million times more exhilarating! The group later invited me to join them for Chingay this year and we had so much fun performing choreographed stunts together! So… Remember that time when you first mastered riding the bicycle after countless scrapes and falls? Don’t forget that magical moment. You can easily recreate that by challenging yourself!
When’s the last time you did something different?
Real magic happens when you mindfully get out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t always have to be dramatic things like skydiving or backpacking around the world – it’s great if that calls out to you – but oftentimes it’s in the little things. For example, consider using a different route to work or school; this allows you to see what you think you already know, in a different light. When we allow things to get stale and predictable, we stop “seeing” and appreciating. We merely exist and we forget to live.
When’s the last time you paid it forward?
Now this is the biggest secret… There is nothing more beautiful in this world than love. One way it is naturally expressed is in the form of a genuine smile that someone either gives you or makes because of you. So do what you can to make the world a better place. Not for ego, not for credit. But simply because you can be a blessing to others. Trust me, the Universe is always watching and the laws of karma come in play; you will leave feeling happier, lighter, more inspired and you also learn to be more thankful of the things you already have, and more importantly, the people in your life who matter.
What is the most magical experience that you’ve had?
I’ve travelled to the Sahara desert and slept under its stars in the Erg Chebbi dunes, rowed down the Tsiribihina River in Madagascar in a hollowed tree log that sunk three days later, escaped from two straitjackets while hanging upside down from a burning rope attached to a crane… But finding that elusive soulmate who I fiercely love and who madly loves me back… that is the most magical experience I’ve ever had. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, every day.
What was one situation you wish you could have magicked yourself out of?
I honestly believe everything happens for a reason. I think my intimate brush with cancer, which happened months before I turned 21, was destined to be that catalyst that changed my life; that necessary evil that made me see life from a bigger perspective and making me decide to always follow my heart because it is the best GPS! So no, I would not have changed a thing even if I could magically time travel back into the past. We cannot be the people we are today, if not for our personal journey of triumphs over struggles and adversities.
You’re very popular on social media and we were so amused at the way you knit and tighten your ties to your fans! Could you share with us any memorable fan(s) ?
Thanks! Actually, because of my stage persona Magic Babe, the public only saw me as that sexy femme fatale who gets featured on FHM covers… a victim of my own success, I guess? I think people are beginning to realise that I’m a real human being; a woman with many different layers and the reason why I wanted to be a female MAGICIAN was really because I had zero interest in being the traditional female assistant. Seriously. In this day and age where women are surgeons and judges and politicians, some men still think it’s okay to tell a woman what to wear – or her place in society. Go figure.
I’ve always been big on pushing “girl power” so it really touched me when after I did a TEDx talk, a young lady came up with me for a picture and she bashfully showed me the back of her mobile phone. There, under its protective see-through plastic cover, was my signature. As a teenager, this girl had came for one of my public record-setting mega illusions and had queued up 2 hours with her parent, to get my autograph. Even though she was finishing up University, she kept it all these years because of something I said to her – to always believe in her dreams and follow her heart. It moved me, realising how what we say can have the power to improve the lives of others. We just need to remember to be positive people, and radiate that light.
What is your secret to gaining and maintaining good ties with your followers?
Frankly, I don’t know! LOL. I’m no “social media guru” or whatever it is those experts call themselves. I’m just being myself. I post random things. Quotes that inspire, food that nourishes the body and soul, art that makes me happy, places on my travels that I wish people to come visit some day, people who are my “tribe”. Besides the usual stuff that I’m crazy about like, magic and books. Last year during SG50, I did a passion project called #SG50books50days where I went around putting 50 books by local authors in public spaces around Singapore over 50 days. It was a finders keepers treasure hunt, where people found clues from my Instagram (@ning.thing). I wasn’t funded by anyone and no organization came up to me to have me do it. I just had an idea that I was passionate about – please don’t let more bookshops die! – and I just ran with it and made it happen. So I suppose, just be authentic, be unapologetically 100% yourself, and followers naturally come? 🙂
What is one message you would like readers to come away with after reading the book Who is Magic Babe Ning?
You are not your mistakes, so quit judging and love yourself more. Namaste 😉
There you have it, the secret to making your life magical. Ning Cai might have retired from the world of magic shows but she continues finding magic in her life and making a difference in the lives of others. Next time you wish you had magic, remember that you do!
And in the name of charmed Ning follower, namaste.
• • •
ARTICLE BY CHLOE ANG