Like most other teenagers, Raphael La Ferrara spends a lot of time on TikTok — it’s where he shares his craft, makes others smile and has amassed more than a million followers.
The 17-year-old Montrealer is a professional magician and content creator who uses everything from a deck of cards to colourful party cups to Rubik’s cubes in his popular videos. His tricks often involve putting a personal and magical spin on an online trend.
He largely films his creations from the comfort of his family home, sometimes with the help of his mom and dad.
“I’m making these videos because I enjoy making them,” La Ferrara said. “I never take anything for granted. I’m just so blessed for everything I have in my life and I’m able to perform gigs. I’m able to get bookings and it really helps me out.”
The teen just hit 1.7 million followers on TikTok, which he joined in 2019. He also posts his videos on Instagram and YouTube.
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His passion for magic goes back to childhood, when his parents bought him a small magic kit, and he then dug into a book he borrowed from the library.
Luigi La Ferrara says his son soaked up all that he could learn and would show his family a new act nearly every other day.
“Ever since then he’s been just developing his craft, his tricks,” the proud dad said.
What does La Ferrara enjoy most about being a magician? The reaction from others, he says.
“It makes me feel so good.”
When he was eight years old, he learned a trick with an elastic band and he remembers practicing in front of the mirror over and over again. After that, he started watching online video magic acts involving everyday objects like rings and coins.
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“I started performing them at my school. When I showed my friends, they were just blown away. They were freaking out,” La Ferrara said. “I got some really good reactions out of them.
“So then after that I just wanted to keep doing it because I love seeing people happy.”
His passion for magic has grown over the last nine years. The teenager started performing professionally when he turned 13, working weddings and family events.
“They would just watch all my tricks; it was the best feeling,” La Ferrara said.
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He was 14 when he started posting videos online on TikTok. He didn’t think much of it at the time, but after a couple of months he hit 5,000 followers.
And then one of his creations went viral and gained 25 million views. La Ferrara was stunned.
“I was getting followers left and right, you know what I was freaking out that day,” he said. “It was one of the best days of my life. I literally gained like 100,000 followers overnight.”
The magician has nearly two million followers on the platform, leading to collaboration with brands and bookings.
La Ferrara wants to keep his passion fun, though. He said he doesn’t pressure himself to create and publish new content constantly.
“And now I post whenever I feel like it,” he said. “I think it’s good for your mental health to take breaks.”
For his dad, it is “mind-boggling” to see how many fans his son has to date. Luigi La Ferrara has played a role, too. He has helped with filming his teenager’s tricks for passersby downtown, and enjoys the reactions.
“I’m just so proud of him.”
— with files from Global News’ David Sedell and Anne Leclair
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