Joseph Magno: International Celebrity Bodyguard

One of the perks writing this column is you get to know notable Australian Filipinos in varied, and often colourful professional endeavours.  Joe Magno’s work is not only interesting but glamorous as  it affords him the opportunity to work up close with top local and international celebrities. He is a  full time celebrity bodyguard, personal security provider and
personal transport service provider.
In more ways than one it is every star-struck and movie lover person’s dream job.

Born and raised in Sampaloc, Manila, Joe moved with his parents  to Australia when he was 12, where he continued and finished his high school at Balmain. Both his parents are accomplished professionals in their fields:  his father, now retired,  was into electronics, worked in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and came over to Australia as a skilled migrant. His mother was a chef at an international restaurant in Port Moresby, PNG. Joseph himself spent part of his childhood in PNG.

After high school, Joseph studied electronics to follow his dad’s career, much like many Filipino children following the footsteps of their parents. But he soon realized there was no fit, that electronics was not the career for him: “I can do it, but I’m not into it,” he quipped, talking about making and designing electronic printed circuit boards (PCDs).

Doors opened when he volunteered as “event marshal” in 1989 during the Grand Philippine Fiesta in Homebush. His dad was a member of the board of directors for the fiesta, and  “he brought me along, and wanted me to become active in the community.”  As member of the field marshal “we are on the look-out for trouble makers and maintain peace and order” all throughout the event. From that experience Joseph found he enjoyed security and protection work that he decided to work as part-time bouncer in various night clubs in the city.

There is a saying that good and quality work has its wings. Eventually Joseph became recognized  for his work that in no time producers invited him to provide security during concerts in Sydney. He “bodyguarded” Philippine celebrities, among them Martin Nieverra and Gary Valenciano  during their stints in Australia. Eventually Joseph became a full time celebrity bodyguard, personal security provider and a personal transport service provider for A-list Hollywood celebrities, a job that allowed him to travel with them in their tours to various Australian cities and foreign countries. Joseph  went as far as Argentina to bodyguard a famous Australian singer who filmed a music video there.  He said he got to “experience the culture and enjoyed the sights of Argentina.”

Joseph said he has worked for Usher, and the rapper Flo-Rida.  Most recently it was the David Pomeranz concerts that took Joseph to Melbourne and other Australian cities. Joseph also assisted in providing security protection for Keanu Reeves, Britney Spears and lots more to mention (But it’s Confidential) during their stay in Sydney. Joseph  revealed he is  the “only Filipino Australian Bodyguard” and  is “fully licensed” with 23 years experience in the security industry.

Being close to celebrities has its perks: the celebrity status of the top stars at times rub off on him. Sometimes people  “ask for my autograph” or to “have pictures (taken) with me.” In his words:  “Usually people ask the celebrities for these type of things. But it took me by surprise when some recognised me from the work that I do when they see me on TV, magazines and newspapers. People think I am a celebrity as well because I am always around famous people. It’s a great experience and these things bring colour to my life. Some kids of various nationalities look up to me and look at me as a hero when I accompany their favourite celebrities. But just to let you know I don’t get Star Struck” ending his statement with a chuckle.

In fact Joseph does not only mingle with rock stars and actors. He is active in charity work, among them the Bantay Bata, a child welfare program of ABS-CBN Foundation that  rehabilitates sick and abused children providing temporary shelter for them. Another community based organization Joseph is active in is the Black Dog Institute, Beyond The Blue, a foundation for depressed people. Joseph supports their projects, and helps raise community awareness for children and depressed people. His close association with celebrities and media people are a great boost to his charity work.

When asked why he chose to work in protection, he replied:  “I have a strong passion for protection, securing people, helping people in need of protection, making someone feel safe and feel comfortable at all times. I got into this job because of dedication in security, protection, customer service and professionalism.”

When asked about his plans, he said:  “I am looking at extending my security expertise in the Philippines and train people who wants to have a career in the security industry.” His message for  fellow Filipinos is “stay strong, think positive and believe in what you want in life, stay focused, work hard and never give up some dreams can come true, don’t let haters or jealous people put you down. For the Filipinos in Australia, he said “Thank you for appreciating and understanding the work that I do in security.”

Our ‘Kababayan ko,Ipinagmamalaki ko’ section features the success stories of our fellow Filipinos here in Australia.  If you want your story to be featured in this section or know someone who has an inspiring story to share, you may send us an e-mail at to express your interest so we can schedule an interview.

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