This week, we are pulling a little sleight-of-hand by sharing this “Behind the Persona” feature from the Straz Center’s INSIDE magazine featuring Yu Ho-Jin, The Manipulator, from The Illusionists, which returns to Tampa Sept. 23.
How did you get started in the business?
I got into magic at the age of nine after witnessing a magician doing a stage card manipulation act. Eventually my parents, who were opposed to me performing magic, became my greatest supporters when they realized the passion I had for it. Soon I began to receive awards at various magic competitions. When I was 19, I won the Grand Prix award in the stage magic division at the International Federation of Magic Societies’ 2012 World Championship of Magic in Blackpool, England. This gave me the opportunity to perform around the world.
What’s always in your refrigerator?
There is always Korean food in my refrigerator. I love ice cream; I am huge big fan of it. Also eggs and ham. And not in the refrigerator, but in the kitchen, there are bananas.
What is your worst quality?
Hmm … hard to say (laughs). Well, I love to cook but am not very good at it. So I eat bananas.
What music is on your playlist?
Classical music played on the piano is a passion of mine. It inspires me. While I’m a fan of most music, hip-hop gets me moving.
What’s your favorite place to vacation?
Natural wonders make me very happy. Of course, the best place for vacation is anywhere my family and friends can join me. Someday I hope to show my family Florida.
What are your thoughts about our great state of Florida?
Miami is one of the places where I want to stay for a long vacation with my family. Florida has unique natural landscapes and a beautiful coastline. I can’t wait to enjoy Florida!
Read any good books lately?
I used to devour self-help books about self-management, leadership and communication skills but these days, I look for a good novel for an escape.
Ginger or Mary Ann?
Well, I like both, but if I have to choose only one, Mary Ann.
What’s the greatest thing since sliced bread?
There are too many choices! To me, the Internet and computer, hands down. Without the ability to search, download music, play games and send emails, I cannot imagine what we would do with our lives.
What’s your “guilty pleasure” television show?
I usually don’t watch television. When I travel and I am feeling lonely, I will watch a Korean mini-series.
Who or what inspires you?
I respect my friends, like the other performers who work with me in The Illusionist shows. Theyinspire me in every moment. Also, I respect David Copperfield and the way he has made his own magical world.
What do you consider your greatest successes – personally and professionally?
Personally, of course, I love my mother, father, sisters. Without my family, what does my life mean? Professionally, I want to create more mystery and wonder using my magical inspiration and share my magical creations with people around the world.
If you hadn’t chosen a career as an illusionist, what other career path do you think you’d have followed?
Well right now, this is my dream and it works. I just concentrate on my present.