How ‘DWTS’ Helped Me Step Out of My Parents’ Shadows

Leaving with some important lessons. Joseph Baena opened up about becoming himself during his time Dancing with the stars shortly after he was eliminated along with his partner Daniella Karagach during the Tuesday, October 18, episode.

“It’s hard for any child to have high-achieving parents. It doesn’t have to be a star. It doesn’t have to be a professional athlete. It could be any high-achieving parent. It’s hard,” Baena, 25, who is a son Arnold Schweitzenegger and Mildred Baenaexclusively speaking Us Weekly after his performance. “There is a lot of pressure [and] lots of comparisons. So the main thing was not just to get out of anybody’s shadow – it was more just trying to please myself and trying to chase my dreams.”

Joseph Baena: 'DWTS' Helped Me Step Out of the Shadow of 'High-Achieving' Parents

Joseph Baena. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The fitness model praised DWTS for helping him build his confidence, adding: “This show is definitely the icing on the cake for this year of doing it – chasing your own passions [and] chasing my dreams. I found a new passion. Like, I love dancing, it was so much fun.”

Joseph also raved about how he got to work with Karagach, 29, during his time on Season 31. “Daniella made the experience so much better the way she coached me, the way she was such a great teammate, partner [and] friend,” he continued. “It means the world to me. That’s crazy.”

During the second installment of Star Stories Week, the duo performed the cha-cha to Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” before being eliminated with a score of 32. According to the bodybuilder, his mother was in the audience for his final appearance which made the experience more significant.

“My mom was there in the crowd tonight and it was really great that she was there because she shouldn’t have been there,” he shared with Us. “I was supposed to have some friends, just a group of friends that were here. … Everything happens for a reason. She got to see my last dance, which means the world to me. She’s super proud and it’s a crazy night.”

Ahead of his departure, the California native previously spoke about his father’s reaction to his time there DWTS. “He’s so happy, he’s so proud [of me]” Joseph told reporters on Oct. 10 after performing a Hercules-inspired dance that doubled as a subtle shoutout to Schwarzenegger. “I love my father. He is the smartest, best man I can think of. So, you know, to be compared to him – to be in the same character, Hercules – it’s amazing. This is great. And, you know, who doesn’t want to be like their father, right? It is great.”

Dancing with the stars airs on Disney+ Mondays at 8pm ET.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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