We had the good fortune of connecting with Drew Lake and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Drew, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from Salinas, California, a smaller town on the Central Coast. I dont have any siblings, so as a kid I played a lot of pretend (and so, SO much dress up). My mom has always been a singer, and I grew up going to voice lessons with her, though I was far too shy to sing, at the time. In fact, I really wasn’t into anything where I had to speak in front of groups of people! I started dancing when I was around 3 years old, and absolutely fell in love with learning new styles and expressing myself in that way. I competed in dance from age 12 with a dance studio in my hometown, and halfway through high school ended up traveling 2 hours away to the Bay Area to train and compete with a studio called Captivating Dance by Nona. Dance taught me so much about myself, shaped my work ethic, & showed me the value of creativity. Moreover, dance gave me a safe space to express myself and process some of the harder things life threw at me as a teenager.
My mom raised me as a single parent for basically all of my high school years, ran her own business, and still made time to drive me hours away to dance every single day. It’s because of her and some of her closest friends (my second parents, if you will), that I was able to go to college at Loyola Marymount University for Dance.
There, I eventually ended up taking a musical theater class my second year, and after being convinced by one of my closest friends that I was, in fact, going to be okay to sing in front of people, I absolutely fell in love with theater. That theater teacher, the late and great John Todd, became my mentor, and I attribute so much of my career to what I learned within the 4 walls of his class. His ability to inspire people to put their heart into their artistry, and dare to take that out into the world with them, is everything I aspire to do and be as an artist person. “Just do it,” as he would say. Ever since graduating, I’ve been in and around the musical theater scene, growing as a vocalist and an actor, as well as a dancer- something that 15 year old girl who dreaded giving a PowerPoint presentation would have never imagined.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I think the entertainment industry is so many things, but easy is definitely not one of them. The way I feel that I’ve come to find my space in the industry is through a ton of dedication, hard work, and a system of good friends to keep me honest! I came to musical theater as someone who’d been studying dance their entire life and had very quickly realized how much I felt compelled to share my heart with the world through story. For me, that involved a lot of training as to how to best deliver those words/lyrics/steps so that someone in the audience would feel what that story needed to convey to them. I believe that as artists, our greatest responsibility is to be of service to the story. Keeping this fact in mind is sort of what’s at the core of everything for me as a performer. The more I find ways to connect to this, the more steady my “why” is. The more steady my “why” is, the more I’m able to share my heart & connect with others through any character or story that comes my way. Once I started fully embracing this for myself, I saw a shift in how I look at approaching opportunities for work, and that has been absolutely essential in balancing my life as a performer and person!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is so fun! My itinerary definitely includes many opportunities for whiskey, as I’m a big whiskey fan!
For drinks, my go-to spots are The Fat Dog in Noho (they do an amazing Whiskey Wednesday deal), Tonga Hut (also in Noho, amazing Tiki Drinks), and Forman’s in Toluca Lake.
My current new obsessions for food & drinks are: The Guest House and Alma’s in Los Feliz, as well as Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood.
I dont drink coffee, but I’m a huge fan of tea! My caffeine recommendations are The Ugly Mug in Burbank, Boba Cha Cha in Valley Glen, and Bohemia Tea Parlour in Weho.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My amazing mom and grandmother are the reason I am anywhere that I am today. Their belief in me has never wavered, their support is so constant, and has definitely not come without immense sacrifices, which I will never stop being grateful for. I’m also incredibly lucky to have a system of “second parents”, as I call them, who have been there for me my whole life, and act as an incredible support system, as well as some truly great friends and some amazing teachers, namely John Todd and my voice teacher, Deborah Shulman, who have seen me for who I am, pushed me to heights I didn’t even know I could climb, and cheered me on all the way.
Joanna Degeneres, Leavitt Wells