Known as “The Business Magician,” Kostya Kimlat is a world-renowned sleight-of-hand magician, theatrical mentalist, and entrepreneur.
He has spent 20 years as a living example of the American Dream, pursuing a passion and an art-form and turning it into a flourishing business.
A Young Immigrant
Born in Kiev, Ukraine while it was part of the former Soviet Union, Kimlat was three years old when the nuclear power plant accident, Chernobyl, occurred, just an hour away from where his family lived. With the lack of resources and opportunities for the future, combined with the concern of the nuclear fallout, Kostya’s parents knew that a better life for the family existed outside of the country. Along with his mom, dad, grandmother and sister, the family flew in 1992 from Kiev to Moscow to New York, finally settling in Orlando, Florida.
His dad taught Kostya his first simple card trick when he was 8 in Kiev, but his interest in magic truly flourished in America at age 12, when he watched World’s Greatest Magic—an annual TV special on NBC. He began performing at local restaurants and hotels at age 15 and spent his formative years buying and reading every book on magic he could get his hands on. By 18, he’d written his first book for magicians, Card Work, Card Play.
Debuting on the World Stage
Over the next 10 years, Kostya would solidify his reputation, becoming recognized for both his technical mastery and business acumen, speaking at magic conferences on the techniques, theater and business of magic. In all, he’s presented in 200 cities on 5 continents.
In 2007, Kostya began performing an intimate magic and dinner show at Christner’s Prime Steak and Lobster, which Orlando Magazine rates as Orlando’s best steakhouse and best place to close a business deal. The partnership is still currently running, including guest performers, with over 500 performances.
As his reputation grew nationally, Kostya’s base of fans in Orlando has grown. With over 30 appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates, Kostya has been contracted by most major corporations headquartered in Central Florida and every local professional sporting franchise. Kostya’s continued partnership with the Orlando Magic NBA team began in 2010, with Kostya providing interactive entertainment for private suite-holders, half-time entertainment, and fan events.
Transforming into CEO
In 2010, Kostya founded See Magic Live, a company that trains, certifies, and books magicians for events around the country. As CEO of See Magic Live, Kostya’s experience has enabled him the unique perspective to understand the mentality and needs of his clients—business executives who value the customer experience. Kostya has retained the curiosity and imagination of an artist while embracing the foundations and systems of a business owner. He has become a role model for aspiring magicians and new entrepreneurs alike, with features in:
- Orlando Sentinel "Orlando magician delights in Dr. Phillips Show" (May 2016)
- Orlando Sentinel "Orlando magician surprises Penn & Teller" (August 2015)
- Entertainment Weekly "Best Fooler Yet" (August 2015)
- Orlando Magazine "Story of a Magician" (May 2014)
- Orlando Business Journal Kostya Kimlat uses magic to help companies train employees. (July 2013)
- Smart Meetings Magazine “Sleight of Hand” (September 2013)
- Florida Trend “CEO Sounding Board” (September 2013)
- Restaurant Business Magazine ABRACADABRA! BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE! (Oct 2012)
By creating a national booking service for top-level talent, Kostya took the years of learning while attending his client’s corporate events and put those lessons—launching a startup, building a team, setting up a franchise model—into action.
Fooling Penn & Teller on National TV
In 2015, Kostya was invited to perform for Penn & Teller on their TV show, Penn & Teller: Fool Us — a show where the world’s best magicians are invited to perform for the famous Las Vegas duo and have one chance to fool them with their magic. Not only was Kostya one of the few to fool the legends of magic, his viral video was the stand-out hit of the season, with Penn picking up a chair and jokingly threatening Kostya: “I’m gonna break your hands!”. Entertainment Weekly called Kostya “the best fooler yet.” His outstanding performance on their show led to a live performance at their Las Vegas theater, where Kostya closed the Penn & Teller Show at the Rio Hotel & Casino by once again inviting Penn & Teller on stage and amazing them with his original magic.
Even after learning how Kostya actually fooled them, Penn exclaimed on his Penn Sunday School podcast “*!#!*$! It’s just that good.” This is because Kostya’s specialty is difficult-to-master sleight-of-hand. Even when you know exactly how it’s done, all you can do is appreciate the skill level and years of dedication necessary to reach this level. He is one of the rare artists who combines technical mastery with a charismatic personality and showmanship.
The Business Magician
Kostya became known as “The Business Magician” after over a thousand performances at business conferences, meetings and events nationwide. Using magic to break the ice with audiences and communicate key concepts from the stage, Kostya has trained thousands of people how to better read their audience and be more aware of how they are perceived by others.
He’s shown executives how perception impacts their ability to be effective leaders. He’s taught teams of engineers to use critical and lateral thinking to approach problems. He’s shown thousands of customer service reps how to execute amazing moments of magical service. He’s brought clarity to marketing teams and HR departments. And he’s taught thousands of salespeople how to read the minds of their customers.