EXCLUSIVE! Rachel Ling Gordon is turning her real life into magic

Imagine being a world-class magician... at the age of 11. Now imagine that the magic came after a career in runway modeling, starring in the Broadway National Tour of How The Grinch Stole Christmas *and* struggling with anxiety and selective mutism.

Yep, that's just life for superstar Rachel Ling Gordon.

Rachel took a rare break from performing magic onstage and promoting her new album Wild About You (did we mention she's a singer too?!) to chat with GL about her passions, her challenges, her future goals and her amaze advice.

Girls' Life: How'd you get your start performing?

Rachel: I was diagnosed with selective mutism when I was about three years old. [Btw, selective mutism is an anxiety disorder that leaves someone unable to speak when theyre exposed to certain triggering situations.] My parents never thought I had any problems since I was the normal kid talking, singing and dancing at home. So they were shocked when my preschool called them in to recommend an evaluation for me.

But looking back, I was lucky to be diagnosed early and receive all the help I needed. I found my love and passion for performing, so my parents helped me get started with runway modeling [at New York Fashion Week, no less!], where I wouldn't have the pressure to speak. It was really hard at first, but seeing the audience light up with smiles boosted my confidence.

GL: Any advice for other girls dealing with anxiety?

Rachel: Even today, anxiety still lives inside of me. Instead of being fearful of my anxiety, I learned how to manage it. Magic has been healing for me. Everyone blooms differently and at a different time. Follow your passion, do what makes your happy and above all, never give up on your dreams!

GL: Take us through some of the highlights of your performing career so far...

Rachel: I have come so far with my acting and music. From not talking to now having a voice and using it onstage and onscreen—it feels really amazing! One big turning point was landing the role of Cindy Lou Who in the Broadway National Tour of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I was touring around the country, and being in a company performing seven to eight times a week really built my confidence.

For now, I'm a regular kid and a full-time student who goes to public school. Outside of school, I'll continue to pursue my passions as a professional actor, singer, magician, voiceover artist, pianist, model, and more. Ultimately, my dream is to merge all my talents into creating my own show someday.

GL: And where does magic come in?

Rachel: With my selective mutism and anxiety disorder, I would go to after-school programs every week. On Monday, we would do science, and on Tuesday was magic, and that was my favorite. I was just really happy being there. When I got home, I would watch Penn & Teller on TV and read books and look up on the Internet how to do tricks. I really related to Teller since he didn't talk too.

And one of my biggest inspirations is David Copperfield. I went to his show, and it was just really amazing. Backstage, he said that he knew everything about me and he even invited me to his private museum that's out of the public!

GL: How does it feel to step onstage and perform magic?

Rachel: I practice many times, and performing helps distract me from my anxiety. Whenever I'm in front of an audience, I just remember what I practiced and I don't get nervous anymore because I'm excited to perform. It makes me really happy because I think about how far I've come from being mute to being magical, and I like to entertain people and show them that miracles do happen.

Check out Rachel's website or her IG @rachelingordon!

Keep reading for more exclusive interviews:

✨ EXCLUSIVE! Kacey Fifield has a whole new sound in Nostalgia Haunts Me
✨ Singer-songwriter Devan talks heartbreaks, mixtapes and touring with Noah Kahan
✨ EXCLUSIVE! Sophie Powers is just casually reinventing pop music


by Katherine Hammer and Ava Slocum | 3/27/2024