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Podcast 127: Actor Lina Esco on Mindfulness, Meditation & Overcoming Rejection

June 15, 2021

This week’s guest on the WHOOP Podcast is actor Lina Esco, co-star of the CBS drama SWAT.

By Will Ahmed

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Finding success in Hollywood is not easy, and Lina details a lot of her early struggles in life and in the business. Lina is forthcoming and honest about her battle with drug addiction and explains what it was like to be rejected for role after role at the beginning of her acting career.

This episode includes a deep dive on mindfulness, meditation, and breathing techniques. Lina shares why learning those skills has made a tremendous difference in her life, and also explains why connecting with your subconscious is critical for everyone.

Stay healthy and stay in the green!


Lina Esco Podcast Quotes and Highlights:

2:15 – Becoming an Actor. “It’s not that easy,” Lina says of becoming a successful actor. “It sounds easy, but it was all kinds of struggles. Ups and downs. I grew up really poor. I just had to go. Everything around me reminded me of, ‘Dreams are not true. Anything you dream about, it’s not ever going to happen.’ I had to leave. I had to be around the energy of people that believed in what I believed in.” Lina left home at the age of 15 to pursue her career.

3:26 – Early Struggles. “I was a drug addict for a long time. For 4 years I was doing all kinds of things, from opiates, to heroin, to you name it, anything I could get my hands on. … You’re just trying to get through to wherever you can to survive. You don’t really have an actual destination in mind, but you know there’s a particular feeling you want to feel and achieve certain things and be fed as an artist. I was just going in that direction and trying to feel that.”

5:54 – Dealing with Rejection. Lina shares what her early career was like and how she had to come to terms with rejection in the highly competitive field of acting. “You’re just constantly questioning yourself. Those doors closing in your face really get to you. You start questioning, ‘What’s wrong with me? What don’t I have?’”

7:41 – Therapy and Hypnotherapy. Will and Lina discuss the importance of therapy and Lina explains why she is a big believer in hypnotherapy. “When you’re doing hypnotherapy, you have somebody talking to your subconscious. And that’s where everything’s at.”

11:31 – Meditation. “Transcendental meditation is a beautiful, simple, effortless technique for anybody. Sometimes I do it twice a day, but I try not to go a day without it. I do it every morning before I turn my phone on or anything.” Will is also a big believer in transcendental meditation and does it every day. “When you meditate, it’s like taking showers for the brain. When your brain is clean, there’s room for good stuff to come in,” Lina adds.

15:36 – Breathing Techniques and HRV. Will discusses WHOOP data showing people who use breathing techniques have higher heart rate variability and get better quality of sleep than those who do not. “It’s fascinating to me that something you do in the morning can then affect how you sleep 16 hours later,” Will says.

19:19 – Hallucinogens. Lina explains why she used Dimethyltryptamine (or DMT) for medicinal purposes.

23:56 – Using WHOOP. “My girlfriend [joked with me], ‘Every morning you wake up, all you’re looking at is that damn phone for the WHOOP app.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I want to know how I did. I have to check how much I slept, how many minutes, how many this, how many that.’ … I’m obsessed. I’m completely obsessed.”

26:29 – Running with WHOOP. “I’ve become an okay runner in terms of long distance running. Once we went on lockdown, I had nowhere else [to go]. I couldn’t go to the gym, I couldn’t go anywhere, so I started running outside. Now I run every other day 8 miles, 7 miles, and WHOOP is the best buddy to be next to me throughout this whole thing. I’m challenging myself. … It’s been my partner in crime.”

28:17 – Memorizing Lines While Exercising. Lina says she’s learned that she memorizes lines most effectively if she reads her scripts while exercising. “If you give me a whole page monologue, I just go on that treadmill or go on a run for 45 minutes to an hour and I memorize it. If I’m sitting there, I can’t.”

35:41 – Dealing with Nerves. “When I’m nervous, that actually helps me. It pulls me out.”

37:52 – Doing Her Own Stunts. “I want to be able to do as many of my stunts as possible. I want to make it as real as possible. I want to be able to feel like I can do any of it. … I just want to be challenged. There’s nothing better than being challenged.”

42:58 – Creating Great Things. Will notes that George Lucas was repeatedly rejected by movie studios when he was pitching Star Wars. “When something great comes out, people say, ‘Oh my god!’ But where are all these idiots that said no?” Lina says.

45:23 – How Netflix Has Changed Entertainment. “It’s a wonderful time to be an actor,” Lina says. “There’s so many outlets. There’s so much good stuff out there. We used to make fun of Netflix [for having so much content], it’s so much saturation, but guess what? They’ve been ahead of the curve. … The only outlet that is keeping up with our appetite is Netflix.” Check out our podcast with Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph.

Connect with Lina on Instagram.


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Will Ahmed

Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. WHOOP members include professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, frontline workers and a broad range of people looking to improve their performance. WHOOP has raised more than $400 million from top investors and is valued at $3.6 billion, making it the most valuable standalone wearables company in the world. Ahmed has recruited an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. Ahmed was recently named to the 2021 Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list as well as 2020 Fortune 40 Under 40 Healthcare list and previously named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and graduated with an A.B. in government.