December ‘15
Insight Interview

December ‘15
Moustapha Berjaoui...the Mind Illusionist
Moustapha Berjaoui...the Mind Illusionist


    


Imagine if you could read minds. Imagine you had this super power wouldnt it be fun and exceptional? You would be a genius! For Moustapha Berjaoui this was his childhood dream, but he didnt just wait for a miracle, he went chasing his dream and guess what, HE MADE IT! He is an Egyptian-Lebanese mind reader, the best mind illusionist in Egypt and the first Egyptian to win the Merlin Award, which is described as the Oscars of Magic! We had the pleasure to interview him and got enchanted by some of his magical tricks.

What can you tell us about yourself?

Im Moustapha Berjaoui, a 23-year old mind illusionist. I have been practicing magic for ten years. My obsession with magic started when I was four years old. On my 4th birthday party we had a magician and I was very impressed by his tricks. My grandmother then got me a box of magic tricks from Las Vegas with instructions and that was when all the madness started. By the age of 13, I started performing magic tricks to people.


What is your favourite trick?

I enjoy reading minds; this is my favourite type of magic. People like it too.


What is your most difficult magic trick?

It differs from one person to another and from one trick to another, but for me it is the cards trick. Especially hand manipulation. Im not a sleigh of hand artist, although I used to be, but it takes a lot of practice so when theres a trick that requires a lot of hand work I have to practice it daily to be able to master it!


Which do you depend on more; Illusion or Distraction? And which is harder to do?

Both, still it depends on the trick itself, whether it needs distraction or illusion. Sometimes a trick requires doing both together. Illusion is a bit harder its broader and more comprehensive than distraction. You cant do illusion without being able to distract, but you can do distraction without illusion.


Does the possibility of your secrets being uncovered play on your mind WHILE PERFORMING? If so, how do you handle it?

Yes it happens all the time, but the thing is that people dont know what Im doing or what is coming next; they dont expect anything. For instance, if I tell you think of a colour in your head and I predicted its red but you said no, I didnt say that Im reading your mind, Im just seeing how your mind works so that I can start a new trick.


What kind of audience enjoy your tricks most?

Adults and teenagers, but generally Arabic societies love to act smart when it comes to magic. They act as if they know how to do it although they dont. Unlike Asians or European societies; they get impressed by anything easily.


What is the funniest and weirdest response you had from your audience?

Most of the time they enjoy and clap for me or they freak out and run. But for the weirdest: I was 16 and a man came begging me to change his car to a better one, and he was totally convinced that I can do that! I told him that I would come next week and do it just to escape the situation.


Who is your favourite magician and why?

I have many favourites not only one. David Blaine in close up magic, David Copperfield in stage magic and many others. Any magician that creates new ideas for tricks inspires me.


If not a magician what else would you be?

Im a mass communication graduate, radio and television major, and I did a lot of cinematography aside magic, but I stopped a year and half ago to concentrate on magic only, so if not a magician I would definitely be a cinematographer.


What is the first thing people say or ask you about when they know youre a magician?

Well, some ask if I can vanish their wives, double their money or change their cars. Its always something funny.


How long do you practice a trick before you PERFORM it?

It depends on the trick. Hand tricks for instance require a lot of daily practice. Generally, a trick takes a month at least with practice and presentation. Sometimes magicians can create a new trick from over-practicing another one but these are the professionals. I have 17 original tricks that I created some with my friend and others all by myself.


If you can have a super power what would it be and why?

To vanish for real. Only then I can do things I wouldnt normally be able to do when I am visible.


What are the obstacles you face as a magician in Egypt?

People freak out from me. They think Im a wizard who do black magic and abracadabra.


Have you won any awards for Practicing Magic?

I took The Merlin Award last year its equivalent to the Oscars but in magic. Its not an easy award to win; it takes creativity, developing stage acts and showmanship. Now, Im the manager of IMS (International Magician Society) in Egypt and Im working on developing the organization.