Los Angeles and Mexico City-based Actor, Blake Webb, moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream at age 30, an age many considered “too late”. He’s acted on shows such as Criminal Minds, American Horror Story, 13 Reasons Why, Good Trouble, NCIS, and more. He’s worked with a number of well-known actors, including Alison Brie, Frankie Muniz, Lizzy Kaplan, Carl Weathers, Wes Bentley, and Josh Holloway, to name a few. But if you ask him the biggest lesson he’s learned as a professional actor, besides working hard to master the craft, he would tell you that is learning to love himself and go with the flow of life. In spite of the success he’s seen thus far, Blake, like many other artists before him, has dealt with severe depression, and in 2018 that depression reached a breaking point.
For a little back story, Blake grew up in a very conservative household in Phoenix, Arizona, where acting wasn’t considered a realistic career, mostly down to religious reasons as he was raised Mormon. His father worked in the air conditioning distribution industry and did well (it was Arizona after all), and Blake grew up believing this would likely also be his future. Blake was raised a perfectionist of sorts; he had a 4.0 throughout high school, an Eagle Scout award, and attended Brigham Young University, where he followed all the rules pertaining to his faith. “I was very hard on myself," Blake explains, "and always had a guilty conscience”.
At age 19, Blake moved to Tamaulipas, Mexico, to complete a 2-year service mission for his church, which isn’t obligatory, but not doing so was certainly frowned upon. An interesting fact - Tamaulipas is one of the most dangerous states in the country, and Blake spent 6 months in the capital, ciudad Victoria, currently one of the top 5 most dangerous cities in the world *. There, he learned fluent Spanish and was immersed in a completely different culture, where people worried more about putting food on the table than the “first world problems” people often face in the United States.
Upon completion of his 2-year mission, Blake returned to BYU, where he received a Bachelor's degree in Marketing Management. He wanted to study film, but his father discouraged it at the time, reasoning that marketing would provide more value. He went on to work several years in marketing and graphic design, but the hours sitting in front of a computer screen, alone in an office, were eating away at him. Blake described it like this, “I felt time was just slipping away. I spent 9 hours a day in a cubicle doing work that I felt nothing for, 1.5 hours driving in traffic, and by the time I got back to my apartment, there was barely enough time for a nice gym session. I didn’t have the time nor think it was even a possibility to pursue acting anymore. But one day, I imagined myself watching my own funeral, listening to what my loved ones would say about me. It was at that moment I realized that I truly hadn’t been living for myself; I’d been living more for my dad (whom I love very much) and my religion. I knew I needed to make a change before more of my life slipped away from me.”
At age 27, Blake decided to try an acting course in SLC, Utah, and immediately fell in love with the craft, while finding a new community with whom he could relate. He found immediate bookings and success and began working in indie films around the clock. He even was able to portray the role of Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” in the famous Granbury Opera House in Granbury, Texas. However, he soon learned that finding acting work in Utah and small markets was much different than in Los Angeles. “LA is a different monster," Blake explains, "You compete against thousands who look like you and have also made it their life purpose to become a working actor. If you think about it too much, it’ll overwhelm you more than you can possibly imagine.”
Even though during his first year in Los Angeles, he would see himself booking three television guest roles and a role in a major motion picture, Blake soon learned the ugly truth of the entertainment industry, something every seasoned artist knows; most everything is out of your control. He soon found himself comparing himself to others, overanalyzing every submitted audition, and overthinking at every corner. In 2018, just after booking a national commercial, NCIS, and Criminal Minds, Blake, living in North Hollywood, found himself suddenly very empty, lonely, and depressed. This depression dragged on for nearly 2 years, until Blake found himself near rock bottom. Blake explains, “Because I started my career late, I wanted to catch up to those actors I grew up watching. I wanted to outwork everyone. I enrolled in 2 different acting studios simultaneously. I went to casting workshops with casting directors 3 or 4 times a week. My life was acting. For me it wasn’t a marathon; it was a race. After doing this for 4 or 5 years, without even realizing the lack of balance my life had, I became extremely depressed; my days no longer had value to me. I would hear other people talk about how happy they were, and I began to think happiness was just a facade. We are taught as children that if we work hard, we will be rewarded for our efforts, but when the opposite is true, it can cause a lot of pain.”
For Blake, his dad was always his go-to voice of reason, and a great one at that. However, at age 34, the advice he was receiving from his father and close friends weren’t enough anymore, and it was difficult to find people who could relate to his situation. Oftentimes, religion cannot provide the therapy that one needs, and even though Blake’s father tried as best he could, there wasn’t much more he could do. Blake’s family had also been going through tougher times with a close family member who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Blake says, “Seeing a loved one suffer was one of the most difficult things I’ve been through in my life. Sometimes life just isn’t fair, we never know when tragedy will strike.”
One of Blake’s closest friends, from acting class, would occasionally mention that she went to therapy, and one day he finally mustered the courage to ask her for a referral. According to Blake, “I was scared; I began seeing life in grayscale and couldn't find enjoyment in anything. I’d always gone to the gym between 4 and 7 days a week, and I just slowly stopped going. I began eating only one meal a day. I didn’t want to do anything; nothing brought me joy. Friends started noticing, as I began losing weight and didn't know what to do. But finally, one day after having a breakdown talking to my dad on the phone, I decided to follow up on my friend’s referral, which was a very difficult thing to do. Luckily, the therapist accepted my insurance, and now I’ve been seeing her for nearly 5 years. Therapy has truly changed my outlook and answered so many questions I’ve had throughout my life. I never understood why my mind worked the way it did or why I felt so much anxiety. My therapist has slowly guided me, through conversation, into a much greater and richer understanding of my mind.”
While many people still shy away from the idea of therapy, Blake champions it. “For me, there wasn’t anyone in my life who could have convinced me that my problem was my thinking and not my situation - no one except a licensed therapist and many months of visits. For anyone out there who feels that life isn’t enjoyable or who sees things through a negative lens, please reach out to someone; please consider therapy. You’d be surprised just how much it can change your life.”
Covid hit the entertainment industry, among others, with an especially heavy blow. This affected Blake, like all actors and artists in Los Angeles. The city became a shadow of what it once was, and many people became increasingly anxious and depressed. During this time, nearly all auditions first halted and then became remote. Actors could no longer enter casting rooms for auditions; they’d have to film them from home. Not having personal contact, through in-person acting classes and auditions, took a toll on Blake's mental health, and he knew he needed to make a change. After going through a tough end to a 3-year relationship in 2021, Blake decided it was time to take a risk and make a big change.
Having always loved Mexico and its rich culture, food and loving people, Blake decided to head to Mexico City for 2 months in September 2021. Blake describes, “I made the decision on a whim. A guy in LA was showing me an apartment, and I said, “life isn’t the same after the pandemic, and I don’t even need to be here to audition. So it’s either rent this apartment in Venice California, locking into a 1-year contract, or move to Mexico City for a bit.” The guy showing me the apartment said, “I would do Mexico City. I’m an actor too, and it hasn’t been fun. You should do that.” Blake says, “And so that’s what I did, I booked a one-way ticket and still remember landing in Mexico City, waiting for my bags and thinking, “What the hell am I doing here? I remember the taxi-ride from the airport to my Airbnb. It felt like an eternity, but I began to feel at peace with my decision. Shortly after getting out of the taxi, I found myself at a taqueria speaking Spanish with a new friend I’d made, the taquero.”
Blake went from living in an Airbnb, knowing no one, to securing a work visa and moving into his own apartment. He got himself into shape at a local F45 circuit training center and began attending daily. Blake decided if he was going to stay, he should find talent agencies to multiply his opportunities. He began booking immediately, working with Tenoch Huerta (Narcos, Güeros, The Black Panther 2), and on a new Netflix Series titled The Chosen One. He recently signed with one of the biggest modeling and commercial agencies in Mexico City and has now shot 4 national US commercials (including Wells Fargo, Kayak and Cigna Healthcare) in Mexico. According to Blake, “Not only can therapy, exercise and good habits be amazing for your mental health, but a good environment can also work wonders on your mind. I’ve always loved Mexico and have now lived in the country for over three years of my life, including this year in Mexico City. Now I get to work in the entertainment industry here and live here, while continuing to work in the career I love in Los Angeles as well. I feel very fortunate. It’s safe to say that this has been one of the best years of my life.”
Blake continues to visit with his therapist twice a month over Zoom and he is an advocate for mental health for all those who will listen. He is fascinating with how the human mind works, and enjoys reading mental health and psychology books every day. He loves when friends reach out with questions about their own mental health, and he is more than willing to help any of those in need of a little advice. Blake would encourage anyone in a similar situation to, “Find a good therapist. Therapy can literally change your life.”