Waitaki Girls’ High School student Aleshia Spiers is enjoying a spell of success after taking out the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand’s Pat McMinn Rising Star Award.
The 14-year-old Oamaru magician received her award at a black-tie event at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Auckland over the weekend.
Winning came as a surprise to the Watiaki Girls’ student, who knew she was up against some tough competition.
Aleshia is a fourth-generation magician and has been mentored by her grandfather Alan Watson who is a Grand Master of Magic.
Her great-great-great-great uncle Oswald Ashton also performed magic during World War I and was one of the four founding members of the New Zealand Society of Magicians in 1920.
Aleshia is continuing a family tradition by winning the prestigious Rising Star Award. Her mother Melanie, along with twin sister Larissa Watson, won the same award 16 years ago. Her aunty Nicole Watson also won the award 19 years ago.
A passion for magic was sparked for Aleshia at age four, after walking out on stage for the first time, eagerly assisting her grandfather on stage at Rainbows End.
Ever since that day she has had a genuine interest in being a magician.
“I like making people feel happy and it makes me feel happy to bring a smile to peoples’ faces,” she told the Oamaru Mail.
For now, magic remains a hobby, but she’s looking forward to developing her skills.
She said her friends thought her magic talents were “pretty cool”.
Aleshia’s grandfather said he was “very, very proud” of her.
“She did very well,” he said.
In the last year, Aleshia also won the under-17 Close Up Magic competition and was awarded the Funniest Magic Routine in the adult category at the 31st New Zealand International Magicians Convention in Christchurch.
By Rebecca Ryan