Jesse James Youngblood is a distinctive character actor known for his roles in 300 (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Heathens and Thieves (2012), and True Blood and Medium (2010). Including working with Clint Eastwood and the Coen brothers on the films Flags of Our Father (2006) and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018). Which is not limited to numerous appearances spanning television, movies, and commercials. Jesse was born in Lubbock, Texas, and when he was a young boy, his mother moved to Whittier, California. Jesse’s humble beginnings caused him to develop a philosophy of “Never Say Never.” No matter how many people would tell him he could not do it, he constantly reached for the top. Jesse was a skinny little kid who focused on building up his mind, body, and soul. He became interested in fitness and nutrition along with the arts and incorporated them into a successful bodybuilding career, including such titles as Mr. Los Angeles and Mr. California. During this part of his life, he fine-tuned his commitment to work, dedication, motivation, and discipline, which has served him well in his acting career.
Jesse believes in giving back to his community and has served the Inner City Youth Games with Arnold Schwarzenegger; more recently does motivational speaking for elementary school children and continues mentoring our youth through fitness and health programs that he develops. Over the last several years, he has been invited to speak for the students at Sherman Native School in Riverside, California. Jesse’s Native heritage, Yaqui descent, is a continued passion for him and often involves teaching the values of his culture.
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Jesse moved to the SGV in 1990 or 1991.
Jesse used to travel and commute to different gyms in the area to work with certain mussel groups.
Different places had different equipment. He would train at Gold Gym in San Gabriel at least 3 times a week.
Jesse met his wife at that gym as well.
She lives in the area, and Jesse really fell in love with the area. Because he met his wife, he moved out of the SGV.
When Jessie grew up, he was very much a minority growing up around a lot of white kids, but he was also ostracized by people of color as well.
At 16, he found himself on his own with his stuff thrown from the house the day after celebrating graduation from high school.
Thankfully, Jesse’s friend’s parents gave him a place to call home for a time.
Jesse had his stepfather when he was young to teach him a work ethic. So, by the time he was 16, he had savings.
Youngblood is his grandmother’s mason’s name. It’s Native American; Jesse comes from the Yaqui tribe in the southwest area.
He didn’t have that strong of a connection to the tribe because his mother bounced the family around to escape Jesse’s father, who was not a model citizen.
Jesse’s first connection comes from his stepfather’s connection to Temple City. He had family that lived in the SGV that they would come to see.
Jesse was not the biggest kid in school, so he was an easy target.
When Jesse was 21, he started lifting with another person that he worked with. And from there, he became obsessed.
Jesse gained 100 pounds of mussel in a year’s time.
In the 80s, the SGV produced a lot of bodybuilders, and Jesse was along for the ride.
Jesse even became friends with world-renowned champions.
After working with his partner for months and months, his partner encouraged him to do his first contest. Jesse won that contest.
After he won, it just fed his drive.
In each weight class, anywhere between 10 to 50 guys line up in a row posing, and the judges ask the contestants to do a certain pose, and they execute the pose.
They kind of pre-judge by putting the less likely-to-win on the sides and the front runners in the middle.
The judges then check for symmetry. That is very important in the contest.
The goal is to be almost a human statue.
Jesse says absolutely.
He’s had trauma from a young age; the gym is an arena where he can feel comfortable, and he’s surrounded by people he likes.
It was a healthy way to deal with his negative emotions.
Did you know people that were on steroids?
Jesse says you have to be on steroids to be in that kind of shape.
Because of his extensive experience with steroids, Jesse can look at someone and tell you what kind of steroids and how long they’ve been on it based on their physical attributes.
Jesse’s community would travel to LA and the SGV to make it. It was this area that was like a Mecca for bodybuilding.
Jesse was a trainer and trained a lot of celebrities, and from that, he made connections. He was semi-retired, and he was recommended to Alan Finstine.
Jesse had 2 years to make it, and eventually, he got pretty good. He really just committed and worked hard to get good.
Jesse did small roles on History Channel re-enactments.
Jesse met Zack Snyder after he introduced himself to the gym.
After they connected, Zack had Jesse in the trailer for 300. Jesse ultimately was in movie 300.