If you scroll through Joseph Baena’s Instagram you’ll see photos of him at the gym, holding his dance partner on one arm, riding a horse shirtless, and explaining how he keeps his arms swole, because Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son is in impeccable shape. Or if you watched him on Dancing with the Stars you would have seen him flexing and dancing shirtless through the show, as he did in a Hercules-themed routine, because he is literally a bodybuilder. However, this wasn’t always the case, as Baena prepares to take on his first big acting role, he is opening up about how he can relate to the film’s material because before he looked how he does today, he was bullied as a child.
Speaking of his movie, Bully High is Baena’s first major film role. The movie follows Maryam, played by Aneesha Madhok, a Pakistani exchange student who gets bullied and harassed by her peers and teachers because she wears a hijab. Baena is now opening up about the subject matter of the film, and how he has personal experience with bullying. The bodybuilder and actor told People:
He added that he was overweight from late elementary school through early high school. Baena also explained that it wasn’t just anybody who bullied him, it was those he thought he was closest to.
Baena went on to explain that he really struggled to find himself, and create ambition to change his weight and physique. However, he went on to be president of his high school, just like his character in the movie. Schwarzenegger’s son mentioned that it really wasn’t hard for him to get into character because he had his real-life experience to draw from. He also explained that what he experienced is different from the main character in the movie because she is bullied because of religious prejudice.
The bodybuilder-turned-actor has opened up about not taking his famous father’s last name before, however, this seems like one of the first times he’s opening up about his weight journey. He’s also been open about how his dad, you know Arnold Schwarzenegger, helped him get into bodybuilding and exceed at it.
If you are interested in seeing Baena in not only his first feature but a story that hits close to home for him, stay tuned to the 2022 movie schedule for more information on Bully High.