Improving youths’ mental health is magic man Grupido’s mission The powerful wonder of magic had already infiltrated Anthony Grupido’s bloodstream in 2004 when the then-8-year-old was invited onstage by magic mega-star Lance Burton during a sold-out show at the Monte Carlo Casino in Las Vegas.
“More than anything, I was starstruck,” Grupido recounted, smiling at the memory. “(Burton) made a birdcage vanish in my hands. When that happened, I was like, well, I want to learn how to do this.”
Eighteen years later, it’s safe to say Grupido, a native of Lake Orion, has not only learned the craft, but mastered it.
Talent in high demand
Now 26, Grupido has sharpened his magic skills to such a degree he could fill up his career calendar with gigs at high-profile venues. He has opened shows for a litany of big-name acts including the Impractical Jokers, Bill Engvall, America’s Got Talent winner Darci Lynnne and The Chainsmokers.
Grupido’s fame hasn’t come easy; he has worked tirelessly at his craft and watched lord-knows how many how-to videos and read countless books to hone his crowd-pleasing skills.
Grupido recently served as the pre-main event entertainment for an audience Q&A session with Mike Tyson in Ponte Verde, Florida.
“To be on the same bill as Mike Tyson was super-cool,” he said.
Making an impact
While Grupido enjoys the mega-shows, he prefers to perform in front of groups of school-aged children, sharing his own experiences of living with chronic depression and the tricks he has learned to fight off its symptoms, including daunting bouts of anxiety and stress.
“I started using self harm in fifth grade and I survived three suicide attempts in high school,” Grupido revealed. “My depression wasn’t constant; it came in waves. My junior year of high school I suffered a wrestling injury and ended up suicidal, abusing drugs and alcohol.
“Magic is a reminder that we have the tools to accomplish the impossible and it really has helped me share the strategies that have worked for me on this journey for my own wellness.
A message worth hearing
Grupido gives hundreds of presentations every year – many virtually since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged – to audiences ranging from middle school students to business conference attendees and military personnel.
The impact of Grupido’s magic is reflected in the number of people who approach him or contact him after they’ve seen his show to let him know how much his message helped them endure a difficult time.
“I’ll receive hundreds of messages a year from students who say, ‘Hey, that was very beneficial’,” Grupido said. “I’ve even gotten students to connect with their school counselors and /or therapists. So there is data that shows this works.
“Performing in front of students – for instance Imlay City Middle School or Avondale High School – is the most fulfilling thing for me. Sure, I can rock a show with 20,000 people in the audience, but they don’t really know me after the show’s over. Performing for students is more intimate, more satisfying for me.”
Grupido maximizes social media to spread his mental health improvement message.
“My goal is to provide you with content that raises awareness of trauma and the impact it can have on the physical, emotional and mental well-being of children, families and communities,” he wrote on his official Facebook page. “My life’s work and purpose as a speaker who uses magic is to make the mental health stigma disappear.”
The mental health ambassador for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, Grupido offers mental health guidance on his official website: www.TheMagicOfHope.com.