Show & Tell: Meet Georgie Bernasek

Q: You are so gonna be the NRA’s pinup with that prop.

A: I come out with that in our (Transportation Security Administration) security number.

Q: You’d never performed in a magic show before joining Penn and Teller?

A: No, I’m too tall to fit in the box (laughs). Now we do a trick that plays on how tall I am.

Q: Were you a magic fan as a kid?

A: No. Sorry. (Laughs) I loved dancing. I couldn’t stop moving as a kid. I was mostly classically trained (in ballet).

Q: But you ended up in “Hello Hollywood, Hello!” in Reno?

A: I loved being around all these beautiful girls. It was like, “Oh, we’re all kind of the same,” because whenever I was in ballet class, it was, “Oh, line them up and, oh, I’m the tallest girl.” There’d be some guy, I’m 5-11 and he’s 6 feet tall, and he’s, like, “I have to lift you?”

Q: Then what?

A: After two years in Reno, I auditioned for the “Lido” in Paris. I moved to France when I was 19. I got my own apartment and I loved it there.

Q: Why would you ever leave?

A: The manager of “Jubilee!” came to see the show and invited me to be the lead dancer in “Jubilee!” I was there for six years, and after that I wanted to get out of town, so I went to South Korea for 13 months and did a show.

Q: What was that like?

A: It was awful. That whole year they hated us. I came back, and I had this dream where someone said, “Here’s a million dollars in a suitcase, go to Korea for a year,” and I’m like, (thrashing) “No, no I’ll never go there again.” (Laughs) That’s how affected I was, being hated for the whole year.

Q: Then came Penn and Teller?

A: (When) I was dancing in “Jubilee!” we (dancers) did a card trick with them. They were going to perform in the Celebrity Room (at Bally’s) and they were doing this New Year’s Eve special. I had met Penn and got to talking with him, and they invited me to do the fire-eating routine.

Q: Fire eating? What was it like to learn that skill?

A: My hands were sweating (laughs). I don’t know if (Penn) asked me or if they asked, but I didn’t really answer. I was just kind of, “Oh, OK.”

Q: Any training mishaps?

A: It was OK. It’s just the part when you burn yourself and have a little panic attack (laughs).

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