The Telegraph

‘It was supposed to be my best year yet’ – cruise ship entertainer’s landlock misery

“With thousands of pounds worth of bookings, 2020 was looking to be my best year yet,” said Romany, a headline magician on cruise ships. Little did she know that the pandemic would take away her dream career and leave her with no income for nearly a year. The global cruise industry has been decimated by the coronavirus crisis. A series of outbreaks on ships plagued the headlines last year and forced the industry into dry dock for the foreseeable future. But while some crew members were furloughed, others, like the entertainment staff who often worked on contracts, were left high and dry. Romany, who calls herself the “Diva of Magic”, has had a glittering career as an international magician. She won the prestigious Gold Lion Award presented by Siegfried and Roy at the World Magic Awards in Las Vegas, appeared on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us television show, and even performed for Prince Charles at St James’s Palace. And prior to the pandemic, enjoyed a sparkling career as a headline entertainer on Seabourn cruises. “I did about 10 to 12 weeks a year on the ships – nearly all Seabourn and Holland America – and in between trips, I was MCing award ceremonies and hosting corporate events in England.” In 2018, Romany took time off to write her book, Spun Into Gold: The Secret Life of a Female Magician, and installed three lodgers in her house in Brighton for income. Although self-employed since 1996, because of the 50-50 rule, Romany was excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) as she earned more money from her lodgers in 2018–2019 than from her showbiz income. “They left in December 2019, so come March when the pandemic hit and the cruises were cancelled, I had no lodgers and no showbiz.”

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