“I never intended to be in the entertainment industry at all,” said 18-year-old Blake McGinness. “All that I knew was that I wanted to do car stuff.”
McGinness is in grade 12 at KCVI and flips classic cars. He’s currently signed to Mayhem Entertainment, a Burnaby-based production company, and has a show in production called Millennial Muscle. So far they have filmed the pilot and sizzle reel, and McGinness said that he is “hoping before the end of the year to see it on TV.”
The entire cast of Millennial Muscle is between the ages of 16 and 20. McGinness called the show “a shot at getting the younger generations interested in classic cars.” He said that the “majority of the industry is older people,” and sometimes he’s felt like there wasn’t space for young people in classic car communities.
Although McGinness has now bought, sold, and restored 15 classic cars, he said he often encountered skepticism about his knowledge and abilities.
“I’ve lost deals because of my age, because people think I’m not serious, or I don’t have the cash, or they think I don’t know what I’m talking about,” he said.
McGinness hopes Millennial Muscle will help “break down the barrier” in the industry and encourage younger people to have the confidence to get involved.
“A lot of young people out there think they can’t get into cars, or they think they can’t learn it. I want to show that it is possible,” he said.
Citing an aging consumer base, McGinness said, “If I don’t get more young people interested in classic cars, the industry’s gonna die. I want to stop that.” When pitching the show, he focused on the idea of millennials “helping build the industry back up.”
“My now producer, Matt, direct messaged me on Instagram, and that single message started everything,” McGinness said. “We got talking more and more, we kept in touch, and it turned into me actually having my own show.”
According to McGuinness, when Mayhem initially reached out “I only had 600 followers. I only had one account. Over the last year and a half, I’ve built up everything else.”
He describes his Instagram success as “sort of my big break. Last year alone I grew 65,000 followers. Between my two bigger Instagram pages, we reach two to three million people a week.”
“I’m a full-on entrepreneur and always have been.” said McGinness.
After the death of his father, the family couldn’t afford a gravestone, prompting then-nine-year-old McGinness to hold a garage sale, selling his toys.
“I wanted to raise money for my dad’s headstone because we couldn’t afford one,” McGinness said. “It was really overwhelming for me because I was, like, nine years old and it was interviews, every day, it was a lot of travel. To this day, it’s been my 15 minutes of fame.”
McGinness credited the experience with making him more comfortable entering the media industry as an adult.
“I have no problem speaking in front of a crowd on television. It certainly helped with my attitude toward it all,” he said.
Around 2011 McGinness started making YouTube videos with his cousin Brady, and said his passion for creating content “all started with just him and I making skits.”
Unfortunately, Brady passed away in 2016.
“After that, I stopped all social media stuff for years,” McGinness explained. “I completely gave it up because I just had no desire to do it.”
McGinness said that cars were a retreat, and it took him awhile to step back into social media due to the affect his cousin’s death had on his mental health.
McGinness’s first purchase was a 1969 Ford F-250, and only happened with a little bit of sacrifice in the interest of his passion.
“I didn’t really have any starter money to get me going, so I sold my laptop that I used for school,” he said, noting that he purchased the Ford with the money from selling his laptop. McGinness later sold the truck to the shop class at Napanee high school for a profit, and continued to purchase and restore more cars from the profits of sales.
While McGinness was the initial force behind Millennial Muscle, he’s since brought on other cast members.
“Around the time we were going to film the pilot, I thought ‘I can’t do the show by myself,” he explained.
The show is co-hosted by 20-year-old mechanic Logan Repath, who McGinness connected with over a mutual love of cars. Cassie Shaver, 16, is in charge of “finances, a lot of the photography, videography, editing.” As the driving force behind-the-scenes and McGinness’s girlfriend, Shaver said she “makes sure things are running” and that “everyone is kept on track.”
“Not a lot of people get this sort of experience or this sort of chance, and I certainly don’t take it for granted. I appreciate every single moment,” said McGinness. And while some people were skeptical about his non-traditional career path, McGinnis said that his mother had supported him throughout his journey.
“My mom, she loves it. She always said that I was destined to be on television. She called it right from the start, I guess,” he said with a smile.
Like any young entrepreneur, McGinness has found that perseverance and determination can go a long way when paired with skills. Still, those things don’t change the way life naturally progresses, McGinness admitted candidly.
“I think the biggest hurdle has just been growing up,” he said.
For information about Millennial Muscle, visit the show’s Facebook page here.
McGinness can be found on Instagram: @blake_wml.
You can also find McGinness’ other Instagram accounts as follows: