She might have magic powers, but even resort schoolgirl Issy Simpson couldn’t have predicted the spell she’d cast during the 12 months since making her debut on Britain’s Got Talent.
The sweet - but definitely not sugary - nine year old has had a whirlwind year, culminating in a headline slot at the world-renowned Blackpool Magic Convention’s gala shows at the Opera House, which are open to the public for the first time in 67 years.
“I’m really looking forward to it because there’s going to be lots of magicians there,” she said, at her grandpa and magical mentor Russ Stevens’ South Shore home - where she’s working on new illusions. “The pressure on the stage will be big, but my friend’s coming and says if I make a mistake it will be OK.”
It’s 12 months to the week since Issy wowed Britain’s Got Talent’s judges Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams with her audition at Salford’s The Lowry theatre - going on to come runner-up in last year’s series.
Since then, she’s been signed by Daniel Radcliffe’s manager, has had Hollywood meetings with directors and casting scouts, appeared at the Illuminations Switch-On and just last week on Blue Peter, and has more ‘cool and amazing stuff’ coming up.
But away from all that, Issy is a fairly normal schoolgirl; she loves to read, is wound up by her little brother Dexter, and enjoys a trip to the Sandcastle.
Russell, a former star of the Pleasure Beach’s Mystique show, credits the ‘smart kid’ with much of her impressive stage craft and says she’s one of - if not the - best student he’s had.
“The things she can pick up and learn are amazing,” he said. “And then there’s how well she copes getting up there in front of people.”
They’re thankful to Hawes Side Academy and Blackpool Council for their support in allowing Issy to pursue some of the opportunities she’s had, although they try to keep trips - including LA and Abu Dhabi - to school holidays.
While Russ teaches the magic skills, Issy makes the act her own and brings her own personality to a practise run of an impressive number trick she shows us.
“Some of the words I change, to be a bit funnier,” she confides, which a cheeky smile.
Although confident, Issy never oversteps the all-important line with child stars into precocious territory. Both she and Russ know that time is precious; with a new series of Britain’s Got Talent filming, Issy’s 12 months of fame could all too soon start to fade.
That said, with a levitation stunt set to wow the international audience tonight, it’s probably safe to say the sky’s the limit for this resort youngster.
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