When you see Dynamo on stage now, you see a master performer who entertains legions with his grace and charisma. But before he was Dynamo, Steven Frayne used magic for a much more somber purpose.

The magician gave an interview to UK publication The Mirror Online about his difficult childhood, recalling his experiences living with racism and bullying at a young age. After realizing the scope of the attacks from fellow kids, Dynamo’s grandfather taught the boy a few magic tricks.

"It wasn't the typical approach I'd expect to use to stop getting beaten up every day but these were like kind of scary pieces of magic that got people off my back a little bit,” he told the Mirror. "I think people thought I was a bit of a demon child after seeing my stuff but then over time not only did it scare people away but it also gave me my own identity and I felt for the first time ever comfortable being myself and I've been doing magic ever since."

The Mirror’s piece about Dynamo coincides with a fundraiser for the NSPCC, a children’s charity in the UK, and Childline hotline for abused or suffering youth. Bullying sadly knows no boundaries, so if you’re able, consider putting a few bucks towards more local organizations with the same goals.

Dynamo also briefly talked about being bullied in a recent appearance on This Morning. His chat mostly focused on Dynamo: The Book of Secrets, an instructional volume for aspiring magicians.

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