Checking out the mind of Santiago Michel isn’t really tough these days. The UNLV senior opened his new Planet Hollywood show Ilusión Mental to audiences with a mix of mind reading and mind-bending illusions. However he didn’t count on his intuition to break ground with the Strip’s very first all-in-Spanish program.
“I didn’t know if it was going to work,” stated the Mexico City local of the concept for producing a program that deals with the Latino market. “I thought it made sense, however I needed assistance to do some research.”
Michel parked himself in the front row his Sociology of Gaming class and soon exposed his idea to professor Bo Bernhard.
“At the time, I remember thinking, either you’re the fortunate genius who has developed a dazzling concept, or you’re the unfortunate genius who developed it simply a couple of years too early,” said Bernhard, who in addition to teaching for the Harrah College of Hospitality works as the executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute.
He helped link Michel to the market research and mentored him on how to make his company pitch.
However convincing the entertainment-soaked Strip that there was space for an Spanish-language magic show was a tough sell, in spite of the fact that around 6 million annual visitors to Las Vegas speak Spanish. Many residential or commercial properties handed down the task.
“It didn’t matter the number of ‘Nos’ I got because I knew that it would only take one ‘Yes,'” Michel said.
World Hollywood did more than provide Michel a phase, he says; it challenged him to create an experience that is both dynamic and distinct to each audience.
And while Ilusión Mental deals with Spanish-speakers (the program draws audiences from as far as Argentina), Michel explains that magic transcends the bounds of language.
“It’s an all-ages, all-backgrounds, highly visual program. You do not need to speak Spanish to enjoy the program.”
Maturing in Mexico City, Michel saw magic as more than a pastime. It is an artform to be looked into, studied, and practiced. His parents nurtured his passion for magic but were also clear about the value of a solid education.
“My moms and dads told me the only way they would support me was if I went to college,” Michel stated. “I came to UNLV due to the fact that I wanted to become a professional magician, and I wanted to do this in Vegas. I imply, UNLV is the only location in the world where you can be a college student and have a show on the Strip. It is one of the most Vegas thing ever.”
His experience at UNLV’s Hospitality College has given him indispensable professional tools.
“The college has actually broadened my horizon,” Michel stated. “It assisted me find out how to approach individuals, how to communicate with individuals from all over the world.”
And what of the deal he made with his moms and dads?
“I told them I will end up college not matter exactly what happens,” said Michel, who just began his last semester. “I might need to sacrifice some sleep, but I will complete.”