Biography

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.

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.

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 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. 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.

In 2015, Kostya was invited to perform for Penn & Teller on their TV show, Penn & Teller: Fool Usa 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.

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.

When the pandemic began in March 2020, Kostya pivoted his business to focus on performing and presenting virtually. He has now performed for thousands of employees and teams around the world, becoming an expert in digital leadership and presentation. Kostya now shares his secrets as a virtual magician so that business leaders can learn the tools to shine online.

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Kostya is the real deal when it comes to magic and capturing an audience! I've had the pleasure of seeing Kostya two times and every time he blows me away and hoping for a next time. His magic is flawless but his keynote presentation is as good (if not better) than his magic. He always knows who his audience is and speaks to them about relevant information to their industry. After having the pleasure of hearing his presentation last week, I am still using what he taught daily in my work and personal life. I highly recommend him to speak to any organization as they will be engaged and well as entertained. The best in the business!"
– Katherine F., Regional Sales Director
"I engaged Kostya to do a keynote for our conference which had over 200 attendees. His presentation was so engaging and inspiring that I engaged a corporate sponsor to have him speak as a keynote at our state technology conference. Years later, people still remember his presentation. Kostya does not disappoint. He is a consummate professional, and works diligently to tailor his presentations to connect with the audience. Whether the goal is inspire, message, entertain, or market, he gets the job done."
– George P., Chief Academic Officer
Kostya will have you entertained from the moment he begins! His ability to engage the audience and relate his information to your form of industry is refreshing and so exciting to see. HIGHLY recommend Kostya! He will instantly become one of your favorite keynote speakers!"
– Stefanie S., National Sales Manager
As a conference planner, the most important thing to me is to find someone that understands the audience and can also deliver a message that is replicable and can be taken back to their work. Kostya was the perfect match for that. He has the experience to understand the work that we do, as well as to really read the audience and understand how they need to get that information. I think everybody absolutely loved his message. He’s high energy. He really played well with the different people in the audience. He knew the industry—and they really, really enjoyed it. If you’re thinking about hiring Kostya for your event, I would absolutely recommend him. He was very easy to work with, his team was very professional, and he provided such a wonderful experience for our audience."
– Joy B., Vice President of Professional Development

For Meeting Planners

Other topics Kostya Kimlat talks about:

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