By: Grace Gavilanes
Angie Banicki is warm, inviting and an all-around positive human with a penchant for connecting with strangers. The fact that she gives tarot card readings to celebrities like Lea Michele and Sophia Bush for a living isn't surprising given her charismatic personality and previous career.
The California resident first started out as an entertainment publicist before turning her hobby of reading tarot cards into a full-fledged career. “It was my job basically to be throwing parties for big brands, like launching BlackBerry and throwing celebrities birthday parties,” Banicki tells Lively of her former life on the bustling Hollywood scene. “It was the cool, really fun job.”
After close to four years at the PR firm she had been working at, Banicki had a realization: she didn’t want to take the next step in her professional life and start her own PR company. “I thought, ‘I don’t know if this fits in with a family and who I picture myself as when I get older,'” she remembers. So, Banicki left the firm but took her clients with her – a move she hadn’t originally planned to make. She fell back into PR, only now it was on her own terms. Old habits die hard. (She acknowledges this in our conversation.)
Not long after leaving her corporate job, Banicki was gifted a deck of tarot cards from a friend. “I took them with me everywhere and didn’t even want to go out and party like I did before. I’d rather bring the cards and go sit somewhere and read people all night.”
Banicki was having fun doing readings (and was even getting paid for them), but it wasn’t until one of her PR clients encouraged her to pursue the hobby full-time, that she decided to take the leap and switch careers at the age of 33.
“It got to the point where I was like, wait, I don’t want Budweiser’s $50,000. I want to sit with this person for $100. This brings me so much joy,” recalls Banicki. “I don’t care if I’m poor and living under a tree.”
“I remember the first few readings, too. Somebody was crying. Just having these moments of ‘Oh my goodness, this is what it’s like to help someone.’ It was such a crazy difference from throwing these parties,” she adds. “I was making fun for people, which is important too, but it was like all of a sudden to help someone and know their soul – it was so much bigger than me and feels so much more rewarding.”
What sets Banicki, who recently read Stassi Schroeder on an episode of Vanderpump Rules (and is returning for a second session with the reality star next season), is her use of music during readings. When a client comes in, Banicki reaches for her phone or laptop and connects to a Spotify playlist comprised of 1,000 songs. She presses play as soon as the one-on-one reading begins.
“Once, this girl sat down and at one point, a song came on and she just burst into tears,” says Banicki. “She said, ‘Those are the lyrics on my grandfather’s grave,’ and then all of a sudden, the hairs on my body were standing up. We asked the cards questions and the grandfather began communicating through the cards.”
In addition to her spot-on readings, Banicki has also had vivid premonitions and dreams that have come true in the past, like the time she felt dizzy and kept referring to a friend (who was not physically with her at the time) as her spirit guide. Her friend passed away shortly following this incident. Despite the eerily-accurate signs, Banicki still relies on her cards when it comes to tarot sessions. Mediums and fellow tarot card readers have told her before that she doesn’t need the cards to give readings, but Banicki refuses to part with them; they serve as a sort of security blanket for her.
“It’s a lot to feel,” she tells me of certain people’s energy. “I like that I have this excuse. If someone at the hairdresser is like, ‘Can you tell me anything?’ I’m like, ‘Sorry, can’t. I don’t have the cards.’ I do think I close off on that. There are certain people who, when I read them, it is like a ball of fire. I will be sweating. My body physically reacts to them.”
Banicki tells Lively it is possible for people to be more in-tune with their natural psychic ability a.k.a. their intuition. It’s all about choosing to believe “and being more open to signs,” she says. She practices the approach to this day in her readings.
“I’m not trying to be right. I don’t even think I’m right and the person is like, ‘Oh, how would she know to say that to me.’ That’s the beauty of the cards.”