My god we were loud.
As was routine for me and my intensely fabulous “LA” friends, the night I met David Hoover we were in the midst of yet another blowout featuring the familiar assets: gorgeous people everywhere you looked who possessed an impressively high tolerance for advanced debauchery, were impossibly stylish and, of course, mastered the ability to laugh hard until the sun came up over Sunset Boulevard.
BY RICHARD PÉREZ-FERIA
David Hoover was—and remains—a handsome, just-this-side-of-shy soul that was somehow always caught up in the middle of the tornado-like winds known as my friends. The affable, smart young guy who hailed from Longview, WA, was drawn to the Type-A personalities that made up a large percentage of my “people.” And we all loved him for it.
Now 35, David is married to Angeleno native Peruvian, Marissa, and is dad to three picture perfect kids: Harrison, Mila and Nicholas. Professionally, David works at Production Locations, a film location service where he’s a partner with Rob Johnson, as it happens, another mutual friend of ours who was very much a part of our fabled fun bunch.
But this normal Southern California success trajectory was upended suddenly last Father’s Day, a weekend David repeatedly refers to as his “rock bottom” stemming from his “addictions from the past that haunted” him. It was scary and it was serious. As it happens, David met the right therapist who introduced him to the world of CBD and in what must certainly be regarded as setting record time, not only is my buddy back to his old self, but he’s also gone and launched the Stressed CBD brand during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Talk about a 180.
In reconnecting with David, I’ve been thinking a lot about those hedonistic—and undeniably fun—times my friends and I experienced, and how far away that life seems now. I vividly remember feeling joy whenever I made yet another grand entrance at yet another fantastical event and I’d see David was there, smiling, for he was indeed one of us, and he was kind and smart and funny. We were a happy tribe, no question.
And now David Hoover’s gone and launched Stressed CBD—the name came to him for fairly obvious reasons—and my buddy’s life is squarely back on the upswing as it should. I asked him to have a chat, and I’m quite certain you’ll get a glimpse of what we all saw in this special man. C’mon, let’s meet this founding member of my Hollywood tribe.
First of all, for full disclosure, we should reveal that we’ve been friends since we met in Los Angeles in 2005. We met, of course, at the legendary hotel, Chateau Marmont, my old stomping ground, through our mutual friend, Eduardo Renta, fashion designer Oscar De La Renta’s nephew. It was all “very LA,” wasn’t it? [Laughs]
That’s right, Richard! We had many, many late nights of debauchery that we should probably leave out and not talk too much about. [Laughs] Great times though.
I remember my initial impression of you being that you were something of a mystery. Here you were surrounded by so many huge personalities, and you always kept yourself in check. You also listened far more than you spoke, a rarity in our posse. Fair?
Yes, totally fair. To this day, I’m business partners with our mutual good friend, Rob Johnson, so that’s funny how that worked out. I’ve always been one to mesh well with all types of people. I have this ability to blend into a conversation and social situation just by absorbing it.
We first bonded over our friendly football rivalry: Your insistence on being a New England Patriots fan and my more enlightened choice of being a diehard Miami Dolphins OG fan. [Laughs]
That’s right. I got in early on the TB12. That’s basically where my love for football came into play. Not hard to like a team that wins all the time.
I can’t attribute all of my success over the last year to CBD alone, but it’s the one thing, along with therapy, that I can see—and feel—the benefits I get from it.
So, just after I left Los Angeles fulltime, you fell in love and soon thereafter started a family. Talk to me about how that transpired.
Well, I moved to Los Angeles’ westside in a determined search to live by the beach and met a lovely lady, Marissa, at a bar—again, very LA—and married her. I desperately needed to get a break from Hollywood and the craziness, so I figured, what better place than Venice Beach for a change of scenery? And what feels like a minute later, Marissa and I now have three amazing kids. Obviously, I made the right move.
To most of us who know you, your life seemed kind of great, you were sort of living the dream: Loving wife, happy kids, close friends. But, come to find out that the reality wasn’t as rosy as all that.
It was a nice picture from the outside looking in, a blessing, really. Truth was there were still addictions of my past that haunted me, and I couldn’t quite shake. Those demons eventually caught up with me and I went through a really incredibly rough patch right up until Fathers’ Day weekend last year (2020). And the pressures brought on by global pandemic was also a catalyst for the unavoidable. It was a rough time for sure.
What was your lowest moment? When did you know you had arrived at a reckoning that if you didn’t fix, your life as you knew it could all go sideways?
My lowest moment—without going into much detail—involved some of the worst thoughts a person can have resulting in the scariest outcomes I could have ever imagined manifested in my actual life. So glad that’s well behind me now.
You know, of all the careers and businesses I thought you might end up involved with, CBD is quite possibly among the very last. Tell me how you not only got swept up in the CBD movement, but how you thought of it as a business opportunity.
When I hit rock bottom, I was open to trying anything to get me back on track. I sought out a therapist and through cognitive brain therapy, he introduced me to CBD. I’ve been using it every day since that terrible weekend and the changes in me have been nothing short of amazing. I can’t attribute all of my success over the last year to CBD alone, but it’s the one thing, along with therapy, that I can see—and feel—the benefits I get from it.
I started Stressed CBD because I wanted to give the feeling I had to people who needed it, but also careful not to apply the usual marketing techniques used by so many CBD brands. I now realize that my own growth that I’ve had is because, not in spite of, stress, anxiety and craziness. I don’t let life hold me back any longer; I embrace it and push through. I actually look forward to life’s challenging moments now even as opportunities to grow Stressed CBD are in place. So, in other words, what’s my marketing plan for Stressed CBD? Power through.
What separates Stressed CBD from the numerous other CBD brands?
First of all, my product is thick and dark—but in a great way. It gets dark because of the raw hemp which keeps more of the elements in the liquid. Some other CBD brands filter it out resulting in a clear liquid by removing some of the lipids and plant materials that help with the effects. I’ve noticed these brands may be easier to take, but they’re not nearly as effective as Stressed CBD, of that I’m quite sure.
How did COVID-19 impact your new business? The pandemic has affected everyone, of course, but in the CBD space, different brands have had different experiences ranging from extremely good to financially catastrophic.
Well, the effect from COVID-19 on my business is reflected right in the name of my brand: stressed. We’re all going through stress at some point with this horrible pandemic and I think a lot of us reacted out of fear. All of us would’ve been better served by just embracing the drastic changes and looking for the positives this time allowed.
You hear all of these stories that offer extreme outcomes due to the health emergency—I mean, it’s on the polar opposite ends of the spectrum—from losing a family business to starting something amazing and thriving. My perspective in this period was even when I hit rock bottom, it ended up being a fortunate, life-saving blessing. For years, I went back-and-forth about whether I should stop all of my bad behavior or if I should keep coasting through life with the “eventually I’ll change” mindset. But hitting rock bottom during the pandemic made me make those necessary changes.
In five years, what would be the dream for Stressed CBD? Expansion nationally and globally? More product offerings?
Honestly, I’d just love to make Stressed CBD become a contributor to the normalization of CBD in the US and help with its overall acceptance. I’m also currently working towards being a life coach so I can share, mentor and walk with people who need it. I want to incorporate CBD into that as well and use it as a tool to bridge the gap between traditional medicine and mental health. It’d be amazing to see everyone from, say, members of religious groups to high-powered corporate executives and everyone in between using Stressed CBD. As far as new products, we’re working on topicals and pet formulas that we’ll eventually launch.
OK, back to important matters… [Laughs] Please tell me you didn’t suddenly become a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan because of Tom Brady. [Laughs]
[Laughs] Totally! I did root for the Buccaneers this season and was happy Tom Brady got his seventh Super Bowl ring. He’ll always be my favorite.
David, I think we’re due for a Hollywood family reunion soon after this whole global pandemic business is sorted out. Now, that will be a day I’ll look forward to for sure.
Yes! Let me know when and where and I’ll make it happen.
OK, one more. Complete this sentence… “David Hoover is…”
…a fisher of men.
Not what I was expecting. Thanks, brother.