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(Photo © Hannah Bernabe)

Chatting with: Model/Influencer Blake Manning!

Written by Skylar Zachian. Published: November 22 2023


Whether it be on your TikTok For You Page or on the wall of DICK’S Sporting Goods, chances are you’ve come across Blake Manning. A Southern California native and current freshman and basketball player at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Blake has made his mark modeling for companies from BOSS to JCPenney and more. He has also amassed over 2 million loyal fans across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. We recently chatted with him about his interests and inspirations. Check it out below!


YH: Blake, you’re a model, content creator, athlete, and a first-year college student! Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?

BM: I usually have class from 9-2. My favorite class right now is Script Analysis because we get to read scripts, watch movies, and critique them — It’s really cool! After that, I go play basketball for 2-3 hours. Then I focus on homework and posting on social media.


YH: You are majoring in Theatre Arts! What specifically made you choose this major and where do you hope that this will take you in the future? 

BM: I really want to continue with acting. I love it because it’s an escape. I don’t see myself sitting behind a desk in a typical business. I love change and being able to take on different roles. This year, I really want to start putting myself out there and auditioning for different parts in the acting world.


YH: You went viral on TikTok almost immediately after you joined in 2019. What initially drew you to embrace becoming a social media influencer? What keeps you doing it now?

BM: I love dancing. I have videos from Dubsmash back in the day of me learning different dances. When I started posting on TikTok, people liked what I was doing, so I kept doing it! I was inspiring others, but they were also inspiring me to keep pushing out content because they were so positive. All of those positive people are exactly what keeps me in it. 


YH: As a social media personality, what other influencers inspire you? 

BM: Recently, I’ve been inspired by Harry Jowsey. My team works with him as well, so I’ve been watching a lot of his content lately. I never really watched "Dancing with the Stars" before, but I’ve been watching it a bit now because of him.


YH: You’ve modeled for a ton of huge brands! Any favorite related experiences/memories? 

BM: One of my favorites has always been DICK’S Sporting Goods because I always used to shop there for my athletic wear when I was a kid. I was on the wall in most of their stores in America, which was super cool! Like, I could go see myself! I didn’t even know I was going to be on the store wall until someone sent me a picture. I was like, “No way this is real.” So I go, and there I am, right in the center of the shoe area! It was such a surreal moment.


YH: You’re a big fan of Philly sports! Can you tell us more about your connection to these teams and the impact they’ve had on you?

BM: All of my favorite players in the professional world of sports are in Philly because my Dad’s side of the family is on the East Coast. I look up to people like Jalen Hurts and Joel Embiid. Another one of my biggest role models is Kobe Bryant


YH: Can you talk a bit more about your journey with athletics over the years? How did you settle on playing basketball in college?

BM: When I was little, I thought I was going to go to the NBA. Then again, I’m not, like, 6-foot-8, but that’s alright! I’ve been pretty athletic my entire life. I used to play baseball and basketball, and I was really split on which to focus on. But I realized that, with basketball, whenever I play it, my mind clears. It’s a great way for me to destress and just play a game that I love with friends.


YH: You love music — mainly hip-hop, rap, and even some country. What artists and songs are you listening to right now?

BM: Number 1, the best artist of all time is Drake. I have his newest album For All The Dogs on repeat. I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift a bit, lowkey. D. Savage. He’s not super known, but he’s well-known in my area [Orange County]. Lil Baby. Katy Perry. Oh, and the song “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne… I listen to that song every day. It just puts me in a good mood.


YH: Anything else you want to share/that we should keep a lookout for in the future?

BM: I’m going to be putting out a bunch of lifestyle content on Tiktok. So if you want to stay updated, come follow along!