Prove your humanity

The name Cosentino may ring a bell for fans of the Australia’s Got Talent 2011 series. Out of nowhere, a fedora wearing contestant comes onstage with a polished magic show that gets him a pretty much guaranteed position in the final round. Although he didn’t win, the magician become a household name, and his talents well sought after.

In the eight years since then, Paul Cosentino has progressed into other fields, and has become one of the most renowned magicians around the globe. Grok spoke to the illusionist about his passion, his upcoming tour, and what the future holds for the illusionist.

Cosentino was brimming with vivacity and excitement, keen to share his ideas about the magic industry. He says that before him, there was no real industry for magicians in Australia, so essentially, he had to create a career on his own by setting his own standards. Many years before he entered the televised talent show, he was working the rural circuits of Australia. Cosentino says his television appearances were 13 years of hard work in the making, it was not a fluke. Hard work is engrained in his motto.

“A lot of people might not understand how hard it is … to forge your own way, especially when there is no precedent to your work in your country,” he says.

This hard work has created many opportunities for the illusionist; his current ventures include the production of a TV show that is produced in East Asia and aired in Australia on Channel 7. This is a significant achievement, as he is the only known magician to feature all four pillars of magic; ranging from up close, slight of hand magic to card tricks and death defying stunts. Many have attributed his magic to editing skills, but he assures us that he has featured them all in his upcoming live shows. The magician is so well renowned for his range of skills and acts, that he has written tricks and scripts for other magicians who perform in Las Vegas shows.

But Cosentino has applied his talent and ethos to other ventures as well, having written a number of books which includes his auto-biography—an inspiring story that follows his magic career from a hobby, as a shy and young boy, to when he decided to take it up professionally. Writing is something he couldn’t see himself doing, because as a child he hated reading. If you had told a young Cosentino that he would write a book, he would have said you were joking, as he was a very reluctant reader and writer during school.

The illusionist also has a children’s books series under his belt, which he hopes will encourage kids that are reluctant to read, to pick up a book. Cosentino didn’t take to reading until he came across a magic book in the local library, something that I assume triggered his desire to be a magician. His children’s series reflects the style of a comic book, full of pictures and wonder. They are set in an alternate universe where magic is real and life-saving. Before he found a publisher, he sourced his own illustrator to construct a storyboard out of pocket.

When discussing how he convinced publishers to take on his story ideas he says, “I had a friend who helped me out [and] was willing to talk about the story, and that really got the ball rolling.”

The Mysterious World of Cosentino is now available in book stores, ready to inspire kids around Australia. But it seems that kids inspire him too. He attributes some, if not all, of his ideas to his nieces and nephews. These include ideas like, “Can you walk through a steel plate?”, an idea that will be addressed in his upcoming tour around Australia. He tests his ideas out on his nieces and nephews, stating matter-of-factly, that he is the cool uncle—to date there have been no injuries. He talks of putting aside the logistics to maintain the childlike wonder that sparks interest in magic universally.

“There comes a limitation with acts like this, logistical issues [like whether it is] economically viable to travel with a heavy steel plate”, but he says it is more than worth it when you see the fascination ignited on the faces of the audience.

When asked how he is keeping up with a younger and more modern audience, he says he has incorporated technology into his acts; he keeps his style—and the signature fedora—but with new gadgets. The mystery, hard work and charisma will always be there, but now he has included elements like iMessenger in his acts. Cosentino is influential, working through what could have been 15 minutes of fame, to a new horizon of professional performance in which every show is as electrifying and unique as the last.

Catch Cosentino live this July when ‘Anything is Possible’ arrives at Crown Theatre on July 20th!

For info and tickets visit his website.