Thomas de Bernede will perform at Muse on Wednesday, 26 June. | Phoenix Media Mallorca


Thomas de Bernede is French, and that’s also the name of his Instagram, @thomasisfrench But, he was raised in Bermuda for a while before returning to Paris as a youth. He is well known on the island for his skilled close-up magic and has worked and travelled all over the world. Later this month he will be performing a “Mentalism” show in Palma.

How old were you when you first discovered magic?
I was 12 when I went to the movies with my father and we saw “The Illusionist” with Edward Norton, and in the same week I also saw “The Prestige” by Christopher Nolan. And I couldn’t stop thinking about the magic in these films. My whole world was shaken. I started to try anything I could get my hands on related to magic. I had been given one of those boxes of magic tricks when I was younger, but they had not captured my attention. But suddenly I really cared! I started to learn tricks straight away.

What was your first one?
I would make a pencil move with my mind. So take a pencil, put it on a glass, and I would try to make it move without touching it. It was a very simple trick. But it fooled a few people in the classroom. So I was doing it at school at first, and then to my parents, friends, anyone who was around me, I guess.

Were you popular at school because of the magic?
I was a very shy kid. I never talked. I would talk to people if I had to. And now my job is to entertain hundreds of people!

I’ve seen you at events, you are very good at close up illusions. Do you have jackets with a lot of pockets in them?
I do, but I learned to, to be able to do what I do without any effects. So I can show up anywhere without anything in my hands or in my pockets and entertain people for a whole evening.

So, not even cards?
I always have cards on me because I travel the world and I can pretty much do card tricks in the most unusual places. For example; I can be waiting for the barista to make me a coffee and I can show them a trick. Or I can be on a bus in Indonesia and not take out some cards and do a show for half an hour or so.

I guess it transcends language as well, doesn’t it? You don’t have to speak.
I was living in China, in a temple with monks for a few months. Nobody spoke English. but I could still do magic and freak them out.

What were you doing in China?
I was a huge Bruce Lee fanatic. I loved kung fu and martial arts and I figured if I wanted to learn that, I might as well go to China. So I found this guy on the Internet who told me he could bring me to this temple and live there for three months and train all day with the other locals. I was training in kung fu, meditation, and Buddhism. After three months I went to Africa and worked on a farm. Then I came back to France to look for work in the movies. I had always loved films and I wanted to break into the industry. I didn’t graduate from high school, which means I shouldn’t have got into film school, but I still applied. At the interview I did some magic and they allowed me in!

So you got into film school because of your magic?
I pretty much get in anywhere I want with my magic, and I´ve got out of speeding and parking fines as well.I was once arrested in Philadelphia because of a problem with my visa. They were questioning me for hours and they found a deck of cards on me. They asked me why I had cards on me, and I explained that I was a magician. I started doing tricks for them. And ten minutes later, they brought all of the security at the airport into the room! I did eventually get my high school degree by the way, I studied on my own for it.

What did you study in film school?
I wanted to be a director and writer, and I still today write anything; scripts, poetry, novels. I’m a writer, and I was a filmmaker. I came to Mallorca to shoot, to make a short film, actually. So I came here, and I loved it, and at the same time, I met a magician here randomly. He showed me how I could work as a professional magician. So Mallorca is where I truly began my career as a magician. Everytime I have enough money saved, I travel to another country. But something always attracts me back here.

Does the ability to do magic mean people don’t trust you, though?
So it’s more the idea of surprising and entertaining people. I was in Dubai and I met the son of Ferruccio Lamborghini, the guy who invented Lamborghini. Everybody was in line trying to talk to him, to take a picture of him, he was very serious. And when I came up to him, I showed him a trick. I said, tell me a number between one and 1000. He said, 27. I gave him the paper in my hand with the number 27 written on it and he started laughing! He told me his father would always have, in any social situation, magic tricks in his pockets which he would use to break the ice. And I have noticed this amongst a lot of, let’s say, business people, many of them know one or two party tricks that they can do for everybody at the dinner table that are entertaining.

Can you describe what Mentalism is?
It’s a sub-part of magic. It comes from magic. But instead of making an object disappear with sleight of hand, you will try to use the audience’s mind to fool themselves. I’m not a big believer in the universe or attraction, but I’ve noticed over the years that so many strange coincidences could not just be coincidences. My favourite book as a kid was “The Catcher in the Rye”. And the only reason I read it is because the guy who gave it to me said that John Lennon was dead because of this book. So I read the book over and over again. I loved it. It’s a very popular book for adolescents. Ten years later, at 27, I happened to be in New York City, wandering around, and living there for three months, and somehow I ended up having a drink with the grandson of Salinger. And the weird part is, a week later, I went to see Derren Brown, performing live in New York. He got me on stage, and asked me to pick from slips of paper which each had the names of celebrities on it. So I picked one, and it had “John Lennon” written on it. At the time, I didn’t care for it. It was only afterwards where I put all the pieces together, and I was like, okay, this is. I see this, everything that we live in as a huge spider web, and you can put dots together and connect everything to the place that we were here now. So during my show, there’s a lot of strange coincidences. I ask people to think about where they were born. Or where they used to hang out as a kid, or the name of their friends. And I sort of reveal it to them in a surprising way, unexpected way. And I’m also going to be blindfolded while I do this.

How do people get tickets for the show?
The event will be on June 26th at Muse in Palma, there’s more information and tickets at The event will start at 7.30pm featuring art and cinema, food and tarot card readings as my performance.

Will you show the audience how you have done it?
No, but I give them a hint. It is random. It’s very interactive. I’m not here to embarrass people. So it’s not embarrassing, it’s more surprising and fun.

So there’s no hypnotism. Nobody turns into a duck.
No. I used to do hypnotism in Paris. It was quite fun. But I realised after each event, everybody was scared of me!

You are only 30, you have already done so many things.
I’m on a mission. I want to travel to every country in the world, to do magic. The idea is to have a show that is without any big boxes or lights so you can move around more like a stand up comedian, where you can just show up at a place, pick up a microphone and go. That’s the idea.