The host of The Food Network's hit show, Cupcake Wars, Justin Willman aka Justin Kredible, has many tricks up his sleeve. Many people may not know that his first passion is magic but he tells Starpulse how he became a magician, what it's like being around cupcakes all day, and what's up next for him.
Starpulse: A lot of people don’t know that you are a magician; they just know you as the host of Cupcake Wars. Can you tell me about your love of magic?
Justin: Where should I begin? I have been doing magic since I was twelve and doing kid’s parties in high school and then started touring around the country when I was in college. Magic is my first passion; I wouldn’t be in show business if it was for magic. It is still my primary bread and butter and what I spend most of my time doing.
Starpulse: What inspired you to do magic? Does it run in the family?
Justin: Both my dad and my grandfather were both airplane pilots. I am sort of the black sheep for doing something different. When I was a kid, I had an accident on my bike. I was wearing rollerblades trying to impress a girl, which was stupid but I flew over the handlebars and broke both my arms at the same time. It was pretty bad- I was in casts for like six months and a magician came to the Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, where I grew up, and did a magic show, which got me all inspired. And my doctor suggested that I start doing card tricks to get my dexterity back instead of physical therapy and that is kind of where it all started. And then I guess there’s something about the art of magic when you are a kid and being able to do things that are impossible and things that grown-ups don’t understand how you do it is pretty empowering and I became hooked.
Starpulse: On The Ellen Show, you did this trick where you picked a random member of the audience and had her pick a verb and a color or something and it ended it being posted on your Twitter page. It was amazing; can you let me in on how you did that?
Justin: That is one of my favorites- the Twitter trick! See, here’s the thing, a lot of people want to know but once they know, not that I tell people, but once they know, its like- “oh, that’s a bummer!” I think it’s human nature that when you see something done and you don’t know how it was done, you want to know how it works and with magic the world of wonder is just that mystery. When else in this crazy, technological world do we still get to be amazed? I think it is an important service.
Starpulse: You are performing at the famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles, can you tell me about that?
Justin: I do it once a year for a week and it is next month from June 18-24th. It is one of my favorite places, so every year I come back and do a week there. It’s such a cool place because there’s no place else like it where there is a strict dress code- rarely in LA are people forced to put on a suit and tie. It’s just really cool to have a place to see the greatest magician from all over the world at a place where magic is so revered and respected in mainstream culture- it’s pretty special!
Starpulse: How were you approached about the hosting gig on Cupcake Wars?
Justin: I started branching out into the hosting world several years ago; I was a guest on The Rachael Ray Show for a couple weeks. I was on there doing magic and it was going really well and they kind of asked me if I would come back and then they asked if I would do magic regularly and I was thinking, if I do it every month, I might run out of magic. And they said no, not doing magic but as Rachel’s correspondent. So I became her go to guy to cover a bunch of random events around the country. So through that I got into TV hosting and then the audition for Cupcakes Wars came around and in LA, everyone goes on auditions all the time and you get used to not getting it. This audition came to me at the right place and at the right time and I got it. The pilot went well and it was just a freak of nature that it got picked up at a great time- I was just lucky to be at that place when I was. I had limited culinary experience before the show and now I know way more than I ever thought I would.
Starpulse: Do you get to eat all the cupcakes to?
Justin: The thing is that I don’t have to eat them because I’m not a judge so I just eat that one exceptional one when it comes along. If one of the judges says, “This is a horrible cupcake” I just have to know the range of the quality.
Starpulse: What’s up next for you?
Justin: I’m doing this magic web series which combines magic, hosting and sketch comedy. It’s called Magic Meltdown and it was inspired by this live show that I do every month in the back of a comic book store, also called Magic Meltdown. Chris Hardwick, who is ‘The Nerdist’ created a Nerdist Channel that was created by You Tube, so he gave me my own show. I am doing fifteen episodes and the first one aired last Friday and a new one drops every Friday. It’s kind of a mix of street magic and giving people the most bizarre, spooky connotations, sometimes creepy- I’m just trying to make it fun and light, so it’s kind of a street magic/sketch comedy show. It’s been so much fun working on that.
You can see Justin on Cupcake Wars every Sunday at 8:00 pm or everyday on http://www.justinwillman.com.