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Editor's Note: Alumnus Seth Grabel recently made it through several rounds of America's Got Talent on NBC. Read more about him on the show's website.
For Seth Grabel, ’05, it wasn’t always a given that he would become a magician; in fact, he had dreams of some day
opening a hotel/health spa. Growing up in Los Angeles with a belly-dancing mother and a Realtor father who enjoyed
magic, Grabel didn’t realize until college that he had a talent for sleight-of-hand trickery.
At what age did you become interested in magic?
My dad dabbled in magic as a hobby, but it was his thing, not mine. He would teach me tricks, but I was more interested in wrestling and karate and gymnastics.
Why did you decide to attend UNLV?
During high school, I became fascinated by the hotel industry and began looking into universities. I had researched UNLV and thought it was the right place for me. I enjoyed my classes, and became involved in student life. I was a hotel major but became president of the UNLV Real Estate Business Society and used what I had learned from my dad to promote the club. I liked my hotel marketing classes and learning about the business side.
Now you work as a magician…When did you “rediscover” magic?
I caught the “magic bug” during my UNLV days. I started doing a few tricks at friends’ parties, just for fun, and it grew from there — I started getting hired to perform at parties, which led to bigger, more profitable jobs. During my Caesars Palace internship, I incorporated magic into the room check-in process and learned that I really love performing and pleasing an audience.
Not many performers have college degrees so I feel like I have a leg up on my potential competition because I have the business and hospitality expertise to go with my entertainment skills. UNLV also provided me with great networking opportunities that are still coming into play today.