When Jackson Aces, the 314th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, was in Year 7, his life changed forever.

During a geography lesson, a student surprised the class by showing them a cool card trick. Jackson was so impressed that all he could think about was learning an even better trick to outdo his classmate. From that point on, Jackson had an insatiable desire to learn and practise magic. By the time he finished school, he was a skilled magician with numerous paid gigs to his credit.

Jackson has been a professional performer ever since.

To become a great magician, you need to master two different types of skill, Jackson explains.

The first is technical – you need to learn all the tricks of the trade. (Big hands help, as they make it easier to hide cards and use props.) The second is interpersonal – you need to learn how to read and interact with people. After all, you can’t have a show without showmanship.

Jackson performed several tricks during our very entertaining lunch, all of them extraordinary. Each time, I tried to spot the trick while it was happening, by following his hands and guessing what he was up to; each time, I failed. That illustrates the quality of his technical and interpersonal skills.

The key word is ‘skill’. Magic isn’t a talent Jackson was born with, but a skill he acquired through many, many years of hard work. When he was at school and would perform for his friends, he would often suffer the embarrassment of getting tricks wrong. But rather than let the setbacks defeat him, he used them as inspiration to practise harder.

If you’re looking for a magician to appear at a corporate function or a private event, contact Jackson. He’s a superb performer – and a really nice guy.