Rising TikTok Magician Sean Sotaridona’s Filipino Heritage Motivates Him to Be a Success as ‘SeanDoesMagic.

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Sean Sotaridona was just a freshman in highschool when he decided to pursue a career as a creator of social media videos after graduating. He didn’t want to go to college. His passion was magic, and he wanted others to smile by performing tricks. Now, he’s got 20 million TikTok fans on his account “SeanDoesMagic”He was able to prove that the magic market existed, and it was open to all. 

“l actually wrote down that by the time I graduated, I would be able to make enough money to make this my full career and not go to college,”The interview was conducted by Inside Edition Digital and the 19-year old said this during an interview. “On the Rise” series. 

Sean is the child of Filipino parents. His family grew up in a very poor part of the Philippines, and they worked tirelessly to get to the Netherlands and finally to Washington state to find better opportunities. Their son would become a professional magician was a surprise to them. 

Leo Sotaridona, his dad, taught mathematics in the Philippines for eighteen years and then moved to the Netherlands in order to get a higher education in psychometrics. After completing his PhD in 2003, he and his family moved to the United States for a better job. 

“It’s kind of awkward telling your parents who worked so hard to get to the United States, ‘Hey Mom and Dad, instead of taking their career path that you chose, to go to college, get an education. I want to make magic videos on the internet,” Sean said. 

Leo was hoping college would be plan A. “I told him if he decided to be in college, he can always go out and pursue, still, what he wanted to do related to being a magician any time,” he said.

Eventually Leo accepted that his son would pursue what he considered plan B. “I think they genuinely saw my passion for it,” Sean said. 

Learning Magic

Sean was 6 years old when an episode of the cartoon “Franklin” inspired him to try magic. The first trick he ever learned was where you “take off your thumb and then you put it right back on,” he recalled. From there, he learned magic through books and magic kits. 

“I was very intrigued with the idea of being able to amaze people with just everyday objects,” Sean said of finding his passion for the art. He used recess as a stage for sharing his progress. “It was almost like a challenge, to try to fool my friends.” 

Sean performed his skillset in school talent shows and by the time he was 10, he started making videos to share his tricks. He was fascinated with YouTube, especially a magician known as MisMag822. Sean also found inspiration in David Blane. “He was one of the early people to transcend magic from on stage to television,” he said. “I really want to do the same — taking it from television and stage, and bringing it to social media.”

He auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” four times but never made it to the next round. Sean turned to social media after being rejected. 

Sean Sotaridona

Growing a social presence 

Sean’s persistence was his tool to success and one of the reasons why he has amassed millions of social media followers. “I was a really determined kid,”He said. “I would go on posts of celebrities and people with bigger followings, and I would just self-promote myself. Like, ‘Hey, if anybody sees this comment, if y’all want to check out my content, I’m really trying to make it big.’”His Instagram followers grew quickly from 900 to over 30,000. 

TikTok was born.

Sean had 12 million TikTok users by the time he graduated from Columbia River High School, Vancouver, Washington, in June 2020. Sean attributes some part of his success to his early adoption and use of TikTok, which he jumped on when it was transitioning from Musically. 

He had 1 million followers by his senior year. At that point, he realized he was going to Los Angeles and skipping college. “There was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to come out here,”He said. Sean has moved into his Porter Ranch, California house called “Pound LA”In October 2020. He shares the space and is joined by five friends. “It was just a very straightforward, focused goal of mine to just make this my career,”He said. 

Sean missed out on his senior year of highschool because of the COVID-19 epidemic, but the shutdown enabled him to achieve new TikTok milestones. People sat at home using their phones. “That’s actually where I got my peak growth,”He said. “We went from three to 10 million [followers on TikTok] in about six weeks.”

Now, he’s gained upwards of 20 million TikTok followers. 

“If you told little 10-year-old Sean, ‘one day there’s going to be 20 million people watching your content,’ I probably would have slapped you across your face with my tiny 10-year-old hands. It’s just been a dream and I’m so grateful for where I’m at right now,”He said. 

Sean’s become so popular on social media, he’s even done tricks with Addison Rae Dixie D’Amelio. and his own magic Facebook Showcalled  “Random Acts of Magic”Brat TV.

Making Magic

Sean’s tricks make it easy to feel like a child again. “There’s that genuine joy of, ‘What just happened?’ And it’s that feeling that you can make someone feel like anything is possible,”He said. “[Magic] can transcend any language and that’s what makes it really successful.” 

He said that everyone should be able to perform the illusion of sticking a pen in their nose and pulling it from their mouth. “It’s a really cool one,”He said this as he demonstrated above Zoom. 

Sean loves to tell his secrets, but not like big-time magicians. 

“You’ve got to keep the art form alive and you’ve got to inspire other magicians. So I love being able to show both ends of being a magician. The performing and the tutorials,”He explained. 

Staying grounded 

The pressure of entertaining his 20 million followers hasn’t affected him. “He’s just a genuinely good guy and genuinely cares about other people,” Sean’s manager Matt Maguire told Inside Edition Digital. 

“I knew what was coming, but it definitely feels that you’re being watched a lot,”Sean shared his story about Sean’s celebrity. “Every small thing you do, people are watching you and anything that you say can be taken, any which way. So it’s always something to be wary about.”

Sean believes that he can stay grounded by remembering his roots and morals. 

“I truly believe that a lot of my core values, and everything that I believe in, comes from my Filipino heritage,”He said. “One of the big things is hard work, [it] is a huge thing. Whatever you do, whether it is being a doctor, a lawyer or social media, in this case: Just work hard. And I get a lot of that from my parents and my culture.”

His father also agreed. “I always ask him that whatever happens to him — if he becomes very successful,”His father said, “He should not forget where we came from.” 

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