When Cal State Fullerton theater major Paul Vu saw his first magic trick as a child, he was dumbfounded.
It was the classic thumb trick, where the illusionist fools spectators by “ripping the thumb off.”
“It was the single most astonishing moment of my life and it was that feeling of the impossible that made me so happy … it was something so small, but something that left a big impression with me that I have carried on for my entire life,” Vu said.
Ever since then, he wanted to know more about magic.
“It was just that one magic trick that led me on a path to become a magician,” Vu said.
Now 20 years old, Vu is already on his way to living his dream as a magician as a member of The Magic Castle.
The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California—an extremely exclusive club only available to magicians and supporters of magic—is like the epicenter of magic, Vu said.
Last weekend, Vu performed with fellow Magic Castle magicians at Hotel Del Coronado with more than 500 people in the audience.
Only Vu’s life wasn’t always so magical.
Vu has four parents. Along with his biological parents, he has a stepmother and a stepfather. He said the constant effort of hopping between families and living away from his siblings proved to be a struggle.
“I always thought that I would have that perfect family with just the right amount of people and it would be awesome, but it wasn’t ever like that,” Vu said.
The hardest part for Vu was seeing his father remarry in another country.
“Basically, he just dropped me and my family to start a new family, and that was the biggest struggle in my life—knowing that my dad was going to start a new life without us,” Vu said.
Despite everything, “I still call him dad,” he said.
Vu dreams of having his own one-man Broadway show. Vu said he wants to mix theater and magic to create a unique experience which hasn’t been done before.
“You know every school’s got that one guy who thinks he can do magic tricks, well Paul is the guy who actually can do magic,” said CSUF theater major Jeremy Mercado.
“(Paul) made a deal with the devil and got magical powers,” Mercado said.
When Trent Wasco, 19, also a theater major, first met Vu in one of their theater classes, Vu was performing magic tricks for a bunch of people.
“At the time, I thought that was kind of weird,” Wasco said.
However, after that initial meet, Wasco and Vu became close. “Paul can go up to a stranger and have a conversation with them, which is something I can’t do or a lot of people can’t. He is just really charming at talking with people and is really nice, and down to earth,” Wasco said.