Vanish Magic Magazine 95 - Page 10

Fay Presto is truly unique . She is one of a kind and there is literally no one else like her in the world . Many might focus on her personal history and struggles or her magic and people skills , both of which are remarkable stories alone , but for me , it ’ s her magic journey . How she forged forward despite the odds , succeeded by making her own path and continues to this day to be unsinkable . I am truly inspired . In her seventies , she does not give up . She is a survivor , she is formidable and she also has a huge , kind heart and caustic wit .

By 1984 , Fay Presto was beginning to find a foothold and establish herself as a performer in night clubs around London ’ s West End . When Peter Stringfellow opened the London Hippodrome , Fay persuaded him to hire her as the resident Hippodrome House Magician . Fay admits , “ there wasn ’ t a precedence for a position as a “ House Magician ”. It was an unknown concept and position at the time , by suggesting and creating the title , I literally created a place and work for myself .”
Fay enlisted the advice of a stylist friend for the development of her emerging image and it became a perfect fit for the “ ritziest , glitziest , largest discotheque in the world ”. Minute details with her costuming became very important as her brand and image had to reflect the expectations of the high-end clients the dinner and dancing club hosted . Fay states , “ it was minor details like the right shoes , the sexier tights , the generous rhinestone accessories and a quality , second hand tailcoat , along with “ West End ” hair and make-up . Those fine details made a difference in how I was perceived and how I felt ”
The following year Michael Caine opened “ Langan ’ s Brasserie ” a restaurant in the heart of Mayfair . It quickly became a popular choice for “ showbiz glitterati ” and was referred to as “ Michael ’ s place ”. Fay recognized opportunity where others had not . After a “ showbiz lunch at Michael ’ s place ” she suggested an evening of magic once a week to Richard Shepherd , one of the three restaurant co-owners ”. He enthusiastically agreed and with that agreement began a residency that lasted thirty-five years !
If Fay wasn ’ t part of London ’ s jet-set , celebrity-must scene before her new home at Langan ’ s , she most certainly became firmly established amongst the greatest celebrities of all time during her extended period there .
To quote Fay , “ Sinatra would be at one table , Sammy Davis Jr at another . Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless would be holding court somewhere else .” Fay ’ s client list for her “ simple , but powerful closeup material ” grew and expanded ; her reputation for stellar , sophisticated magic and witty rapport with clients grew .
It wasn ’ t the magic success she originally envisioned for herself with grand illusions and sawing men in half , but close-up magic was the new cool
10 JUNE | 2022