Matt Wayne: Animal AdvocatePublished February 7, 2012
Does this man ever sleep? When asked where he gets his energy, Wayne said, “My life is targeted at helping animals. That’s what motivates my career. I’m like the Betty White of magic.” Oh, and he’s only 25.
This holiday season he performed magic for the Paws NY Annual Fundraiser and Cocktails that Care’s barktastic night at the elegant Pranna Lounge on Madison Avenue. He strutted at “Pups on the Runway Costume Ball” where dogs competed in categories like Glamour, Hilarious and Matching Pawrent. Winners received free entry into the 2012 Barking Beauty Pageant and a free copy of the book Chasing Bocker’s Tale.
Wayne arrived in New York City five years ago with only six hundred dollars in his pocket and big dreams of making magic. His first big break was the overnight success of his DVD Gotta Light, a modern version of the 3-shell game. Another career boost came when he appeared on the reality dating show Wing Man. His pitch: “I’m a magician who toured the world but can’t get a date.” Through that show he met his soulmate, Karen Biehl.
“On our first date I made her a white rose out of a napkin,” Wayne said. “Lucky for me she’d always dreamed of a man who’d give her white roses.”
Wayne’s excited about his upcoming February 10, 2012 project, the Pre-Westminster Fashion Show. Their tagline is “Get Ready to Pawty!” It’s an annual benefit for the Animal Care and Control of NYC. One of the Best in Show sponsors will give away a one-year supply of oral care and other natural products to the pet owner that sends the winning photo in the Petzlife Products “Best” Smile Photo Contest.
This past May, Wayne was so moved by the tragic Tuscaloosa tornado he created a relief effort, Operation Toto. “I contacted many friends including Loretta Swit, Bonnie Jill-Laflin, the NBA’s first female scout, actor Doug Jones from Hellboy movies and Richard Pryor, Jr. They all gladly participated. Loretta even agreed to host. I called the Alabama State Department to say I wanted to help and asked to be put in touch with animal shelters and the Humane Society down there. I turned my campaign into the only relief effort that came from the northeast. The New York Daily News did a write-up about it. It went so well I plan to organize another ToTo Relief Op. This time it will be ‘Feed the Homeless’ for hungry stray dogs and cats.”
“My biggest complaint,” Matt said, “is when celebrities don’t use their fame to help others. Being a celebrity magician means I have a voice. I use it to help speak for animals.”
Dorri Olds (DorriOlds.com) writes reviews and personal essays for many publications, including The New York Times.