Q&A with Xavier Mortimer
Illusionist Xavier Mortimer took his act to the global stage of TikTok in 2019. But during the shutdown of 2020, something magical happened - he surpassed 20 million views.
There’s a trick to Xavier’s rise to viral fame. It’s about balancing all the creative pursuits you care about until you find out what sticks. And, while a magician usually never reveals his secrets, he’s willing to share just a few for aspiring creators on The247.
The247: You’ve always been a performer, but what drew you to magic specifically?
Xavier: I started to do a lot of things when I was younger, like juggling magic with music and acting. I don’t know why, but magic was always on top of everything. I was like “yep, I’m gonna create my own show. I’m gonna create videos and make a difference.”
How did balance become such a big part of your illusions?
It’s because of my circus background. When I was a kid I learned a lot of these stunts and it made me love having a physician element to add to my magic. I enjoy being able to show people that I can fly in the air or hang on a pole. It takes an insane amount of practice. The jump rope trick, for example, took me three years to master.
Was there a particular moment where you transitioned from the other performing arts to magic?
Not really because I’ve always done magic and studied everything at the same time. When I was twelve years old, I learned how to juggle and would put on some shows for my friends and family. At school I was doing a lot of magic too. I would make cars disappear, do somersaults and then juggling with balls.
"I just really wanted to put on a show which is funny because as soon as I left school that's what I did. I was able to go on the road and have my own show. It felt like it was my destiny."
Do you think that your acting skills have made you a better performer?
Acting is amazing for magic because being a magician is a performance just like acting. I've seen actors like Neil Patrick Harris or other actors going on set and doing the most basic trick, but they perform it so well that it’s enjoyable. Same goes for being a dancer, dancing has helped a lot with my posture which also makes me great at presenting my tricks while performing. And then my background in music allows me to have that rhythm and timing that is needed to keep my audience entertained.
You seem to have mastered the art of both live and online performances. How do you keep your audience engaged in a video?
Social media was a different world that I definitely had to relearn, but I had no choice because of the pandemic.
"One thing that I think has kept my audience engaged is my personality. I perform just as big as I would in front of a live audience even if it’s just to my camera."
When my videos started to take off, it was crazy. There were millions of views per video. It motivated me to keep going and helped me understand what people really wanna see. The downside of that though is that people keep expecting more and more hits from you. In that case, I always take a step back and once I have more ideas, I’m ready to create again.
And why do you think people love illusions so much?
I think people love illusions because they don’t understand how it works. It’s something they’ve never seen before and it makes them wonder how it’s possible that I’m flying. I remember being amazed by illusions as a kid.
Do you have hobbies outside of magic? What does resting look like to you?
I love going on hikes and being in nature. Resting for me is just being away from everything and enjoying the landscapes and mountains.
What advice would you have for magicians on social media?
I would say be yourself.
"The only reason I’ve succeeded on social media is because I created what I didn’t see."
So just work really hard at what you like and don’t worry about what you think people want to see.