From China to Cedar City, ‘Magic Mak’ beginning to conjure a name for himself

CEDAR CITY — An 18-year-old magician from central Utah got plenty of practice last summer, as he helped teach magic tricks to more than 1,000 children at an innovative summer camp in China.

Makade Talbot, who goes by Mak, is a freshman at Southern Utah University, where he is majoring in hospitality and event planning, with a minor in marketing.

In late January, Talbot landed his first major gig as a student, getting hired to entertain more than 200 current and future SUU students in a half-hour show that was part of the annual “Red Riot” initiation week on campus.

During the show, Talbot enthralled the audience with a diverse mix of tricks and humor. At one point, he asked if any volunteer could produce a $20 bill from their wallet. Upon finding a willing donor, he immediately pocketed the cash and jokingly asked, “Anyone else?”

That money seemingly ended up as fodder for the paper shredder during Talbot’s next trick, only to surprisingly show up later as a different kind of fodder, inside a sandwich.

Talbot also did a couple of interesting card tricks, including one where he front-flipped across the stage to land on the target card … or not. Let’s just say that trick also had its own unexpected twist.

Makade “Magic Mak” Talbot interacts with an audience member during Southern Utah University’s “Red Riot” event, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 25, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

For Talbot, the experience of performing at his first solo show was encouraging, given the rousing ovation he received from the audience.

“I received an overwhelming amount of encouragement and support from the ambassadors, my friends and the audience,” Talbot said, adding, “They were the ones who made the show a success, not me.”

Talbot said the show also marked another step toward his lifelong dream. Ever since he was young, Talbot has aspired to be a magician. But there were plenty of doubters.

“I had a lot of people tell me I couldn’t make a career in magic or that it wasn’t feasible,” Talbot said. “Everyone loved my magic, I get great reactions, I’ve used it to build relationships. I can brighten their day and take them out of reality just for a second. Everyone loved that, they just didn’t see me doing it in the future.”

That thinking changed a couple years ago when Talbot joined the Student Success Agency, an organization dedicated to helping students meet their life goals.

Makade Talbot teaches magic tricks to young students, Shanghai, China, summer 2018 | Photo courtesy of Makade Talbot via Facebook, St. George News / Cedar City News

Last year, an agent with the organization put Talbot in touch with a young magician from Wisconsin named Rajon Lynch, whose stage name is RJ the Magician. Lynch, who had taught for three years at a prestigious summer camp in New York, ended up asking Talbot to accompany him in the startup of a new summer magic camp in China.

Although educational summer camps for youth are commonplace in the U.S., the concept of a multi-day sleepover camp is a new and almost unheard-of idea in China. The program is believed to be the first of its kind ever held in China, Talbot said.

Throughout the summer, at the Sun Island resort in Shanghai, Talbot worked alongside Lynch as each week they taught a new group of young children aged 6-16.

Talbot said there was a bit of a language barrier during their visit, since they didn’t speak Chinese and their students understood little or no English.

“But magic really is a universal language,” he said. “We had to get creative with our instruction and communication, but it made the job all the more fun and challenging.”

Talbot said he enjoyed the experience so much, he is planning to join Lynch for another such trip this coming summer.

“My plan is to return to Shanghai with my friend and mentor RJ to continue to teach magic and explore the streets of China,” he said.

Makade “Magic Mak” Talbot performs during Southern Utah University’s “Red Riot” event, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 25, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Meanwhile, Talbot continues to hone his magic skills closer to home. He’s already partnered up with companies in sponsorships to promote their business using his magic on social media.

“Beyond that, I hope to start landing more gigs, sharing my magic with more people and getting paid to do what I love,” he said.

One lesser known fact about Talbot is that he has battled cystic fibrosis since early childhood. Despite having to manage his CF daily, he has never let it slow him down.

A 2018 graduate of North Sanpete High School in Moroni, Talbot maintained a 4.0 grade point average, played soccer, was a Sterling Scholar and was student body president and class valedictorian.

“I’ve worked hard to balance magic with other aspects in my life, and I’m at currently at a point in life where I can see and enjoy the results of the dedication I’ve put in,” Talbot said. “My advice for anyone is to put in the work and seek out your opportunities, rather than waiting for them to come to you.”  

For more information about Talbot, visit his “Makgician” Facebook page.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.


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