The ma­gi­cian talks about the first il­lu­sion he ever per­formed, cre­at­ing MINDFREAK and the re­wards of the business.

Where Las Vegas - - CONTENTS - Criss An­gel

[Popular ma­gi­cian and the cre­ator of MINDFREAK and Be­LIEve at Luxor

When Criss An­gel cre­ated MINDFREAK for A&E in 2005, it re­de­fined the mod­ern magic show, and be­came the most suc­cess­ful magic show in tele­vi­sion his­tory; it con­tin­ues to be viewed reg­u­larly by more than 100 mil­lion view­ers per sea­son in more than 90 coun­tries. In 2008, An­gel part­nered with Cirque du Soleil to cre­ate and star in the thrilling Be­LIEve at Luxor, which went on to gar­ner another ac­co­lade: it has been the best-sell­ing live magic show in the world since the day it opened.

What first drew you to magic?

I re­mem­ber, after learn­ing my first trick, that I felt this in­cred­i­ble sense of power that an adult didn't un­der­stand how it worked, but I did. I prac­ticed magic tricks ob­ses­sively from that point and did my first magic show at age 12, at a neigh­bor's birth­day party—I made $10!

What was the first trick you ever per­formed?

My Aunt Stella taught me my first card trick when I was 6 years old. From then on, I was hooked! My first au­di­ence was my fam­ily in Long Is­land. My first "as­sis­tant" was my mother, whom I lev­i­tated on a broom in our liv­ing room.

When did you re­al­ize that magic was some­thing you could make a pro­fes­sion out of?

After I grad­u­ated from high school, I de­cided—crazy as it sounded—to skip col­lege and pur­sue a full-time ca­reer in magic. My par­ents were NOT happy about that. The thought of my be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional ma­gi­cian was un­bear­able for them. I ba­si­cally just hit the road and be­gan tour­ing with other trav­el­ing per­for­mance acts. I stud­ied the his­tory of magic in pub­lic li­braries. I stud­ied the arts of mys­ti­cism, mu­sic, mar­tial arts and even dance. It was a prac­ti­cal ed­u­ca­tion, not a for­mal one.

What’s the most com­pli­cated il­lu­sion you’ve ever per­formed?

I’ve done a lot of re­ally tough il­lu­sions over the course of 116 episodes of tele­vi­sion and 2,300 live per­for­mances, but prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult thing that I dealt with was when I hung by four fish hooks, from my flesh, from a he­li­copter at 1,000 feet over the Val­ley of the Fire, which wasn’t a trick. It was in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful and painful.

Do you have a per­sonal phi­los­o­phy or creed you’ve fol­lowed through the years?

I take a lot of in­spi­ra­tion and phi­los­o­phy from my fa­ther. My fa­ther wound up be­ing my big­gest sup­porter, even when no one else thought I’d make any­thing of my­self. Dur­ing his life, he showed me how pow­er­ful one can be when the mind, body and spirit work har­mo­niously. By fac­ing your fears, and be­liev­ing in your­self, truly any­thing is pos­si­ble. I’m liv­ing proof of that.

An­gel lev­i­tat­ing

An­gel on stage

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