Joseph Baena-On Being Arnold’s Son But Becoming His Own Man

After watching the now-iconic documentary Pumping Iron, it is still absolutely astounding to reflect on what one of it’s subjects, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has created. From film to fitness and all the way to the California Governor’s mansion, the man known as “The Terminator” has shown that he is much more than a larger than life, shredded bodybuilder. Now, the next generation of Schwarzenegger’s family is looking at taking his own place in the spotlight. Joseph Baena is not only taking cues from dear old dad at the gym, he is looking squarely at conquering Tinseltown; and just like in the gym, he is putting in the work necessary to succeed. 

The tabloid drama surrounding Baena’s birth and the subsequent revolution about his true parentage is that of a Hollywood film itself. Baena’s mother Mildred Baena served as a housekeeper to Schwarzenegger and then-wife Maria Shriver, with Joseph being born in 1977. While it took until 2011 for the truth to emerge (after the physical resemblance between Arnold and Joseph became simply impossible to ignore), Baena took the news of his parentage in stride. Baena’s mother Mildred told Men’s Health that “When [Joseph’s] grandmother sat him down to explain that Arnold Schwarzenegger was his father, he exclaimed, ‘Cool!’ ” In the decade since the revelation that one of the most famous men on the planet was his father, Baena has developed a close relationship with his famed father, even receiving a copy of The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding (which he also coauthored) to help guide his training. While he is taking tips from dear old Dad on fitness, his current regime (according to Men’s Health) consists of “lots of sets, plenty of isolation moves, two hours, six days a week, plus 20 minutes of fasted cardio in the morning.”

As for a possible action-hero career, Baena has his eyes firmly set on the prize. While not using his father’s famed last name (“My dad is old-school; he doesn’t believe in handouts. He believes hard work pays off, and so do I,” says Baena), one piece of advice his father gave him was key-“find a mentor”. Reaching out to Eric Morris (the same acting coach who helped Arnold snag a Golden Globe for Staying Hungry in 1976) and now works with him regularly. While student films were early lessons, Baena seemingly has started to find his groove two years ago. In an ironic turn, Baena played Biff, the conflicted son of the title character, in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman in class. As for the future, Baena is aiming high, which truly must be a family trait. He told Men’s Health that in ten years, he sees himself as “an award-winning actor with lots of real estate experience, and I’m on a boat in Miami, sipping a mai tai with my buddies, getting ready for the next movie”.

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