“Every accomplishment,” John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, once said, “starts with the decision to try.”
It’s a catchy, if obvious, statement — and one that Patrick Schwarzenegger has clearly taken to heart. The 25-year-old actor, model and philanthropist has spent his formative years capitalising on good looks, a keen mind and preposterously-good connections to follow the former President’s philosophy to the letter. And so he should, for JFK was his great uncle.
But, despite having such a political heavyweight high up in his family — not to mention a literal heavyweight and worldwide superstar for a father — the young celebrity doesn’t feel overly burdened with expectations. Instead, while most men would crumble under the pressure, Patrick is embracing his inner Schwarzenegger and showing his strengths.
His first film role came at age 10. He began his own clothing line at 15. And his modelling career, most recently for Mango’s SS19 range, has seen him feature on the pages of GQ and Vogue. He’s smart, too — with a degree in business and acting, and several franchises of popular fast-dining restaurant Blaze Pizza. His first leading screen role came last year in Midnight Sun — and he has many more red carpets to walk in 2019.
So how did he do it? Launch businesses, a modelling portfolio and a successful film career while studying?
“It was definitely tough trying to juggle work with school. I believe I was in the middle of my fall semester, senior year, when we started filming. I remember having to fly back to Los Angeles a few times to take some midterms on weekends so that I didn’t fail out of a class!
“There was definitely a lot of time management and juggling to be done. But, honestly, I love being stressed and having lot of work — I find it easier to be organised when I’m stressed than when I have nothing going on…”
Speaking of stress, you unavoidably come from a very colourful, famous family. Did you ever feel any pressure to pursue certain careers or stay in the spotlight?
“I never really felt pressure to pursue a certain career, no. My parents always taught me that passion should drive your career choice. You should pursue whatever you wake up and are excited about, something you love doing. Whatever that was for me, they’re supportive of.
“My passion for philanthropy, for example, comes from my parents and grandparents. My grandmother started the Special Olympics World Games, and I’ve worked and volunteered at the games or ceremonies ever since I was a little kid.
“That was my introduction to giving back and volunteering. Obviously my parents have continued that family tradition and we always help different charities. But, at the end of the day, you still have to want to help — and I don’t think there’s any better feeling that giving back. Truly, I’m at my happiest when I see someone’s face, their reaction when you help them out.
From film roles to your modelling and entrepreneurism, you must be one of the busiest 25-year-olds in any industry. How do you keep on top of everything?
“I’m very motivated. I write everything out. I have a goal board and mood board right next to my bed, so I see it every day when I wake up and know exactly what I want to concentrate on and accomplish that day. And this year I am fully committed to accomplishing all of my goals.
“Because, in the past, I always wanted to accomplish the things I wrote down — but I wasn’t committed and it’s easy to find excuses and push things off until tomorrow that way. So that’s why I’ve made this my goal this year; to be committed to what I do. Each and every day.
So what are you applying this new mindset to? What’s coming next for Patrick Schwarzenegger?
“I have a film premiering next month at SXSW that I’m super excited about. It’s a role that’s completely different from me or anything I’ve done — I mean completely. But I’d love to just continue to work. For me, working is fun and living the dream. Whatever role’s next, I’m excited for it!
“Outside acting, I’m working with Mango, who are all over the world, and for people all over the world. It’s awesome to work with a company that appeals to so many different types of people.
“Balancing it all is just time management at the end of the day. There are days I have multiple auditions, acting classes and spend a ton of time memorising lines. But then also days I spend researching companies and going through income statements and diving into that field.
“So yes, I’m very busy and have a lot on my plate right now — but there’s tons of people out there that have more, and they’re not complaining that they’re working their asses off. I love what I do, so for me it’s fun and I look forward to being busy each and every day…”
Want more insights from young actors? Dev Patel is still figuring things out…