Thursday, October 2, 2014

Douglas student keeps audiences smiling with magic tricks

For Billy Hsueh, life is all about making people smile. As a Hospitality Management student and a budding magician, he’s found two areas where his talent as a crowd-pleaser can shine.

“I think hospitality is a good fit for me because I’m very people-orientated. It also fits with magic and having an outgoing personality,” he says.

Billy discovered his interest in magic around eight years ago. It started out as a hobby, but after many hours honing his craft he now considers himself semi-professional. He performs for hire at local events and regularly appears at magic competitions.

And his skills have not gone unnoticed. Billy has earned several prizes including a recent award from the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians. He is also an active member in the magic community as a member of the Vancouver Magic Circle, Canada’s largest magic club, and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Billy describes his style of magic as close-up or sleight-of-hand. His shows often involve smaller audiences, gathered around closely to witness dazzling illusions that involve playing cards, coins, rings and other props. But Billy also takes to the big stage to perform for larger audiences, whom he delights with a blend of stand-up comedy and magic.

“I know exactly what’s keeping my interest in magic. It’s making people smile. It’s the look of amazement that I can give people, just letting them step out of reality and into my world of weirdness,” he says.

As a Hospitality Management student at Douglas College, Billy is learning about marketing, leadership, business analysis and food service. Its knowledge he can put to good use as he pursues his long-term goal—opening a restaurant that features live magic.

“It would be like a dinner theatre,” he explains. “It would include magic shows twice a week. There would be close-up magicians coming from table to table. I want to mix both of my passions.”

Learn more about the Hospitality Management program on the Douglas College website and about Billy at