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Joseph Baena Opens Up About How ‘DWTS’ Helped Him Step Out of ‘High-Achieving’ Parents’ Shadow: ‘There’s a Lot of Pressure’ (Exclusive)

Leaving with some important lessons. Joseph Baena opened up about becoming his own person during his time on Dancing With the Stars shortly after he was eliminated alongside partner Daniella Karagach during the Tuesday, October 18, episode.

Related: Dancing With the Stars’ Most Shocking Eliminations: Photos

“It’s hard for any kid to have high-achieving parents. It doesn’t have to be a star. It doesn’t have to be a pro athlete. It could just be any high-achieving parent. It’s difficult,” Baena, 25, who is the son of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mildred Baena, exclusively told Us Weekly following his performance. “There’s a lot of pressure [and] a lot of comparison. So, the main thing wasn’t just stepping out of anyone’s shadows — it was more so me just trying to please myself and trying to chase my own dreams.”

Joseph Baena: ‘DWTS’ Helped Me Step Out of ‘High Achieving’ Parent's Shadow
Joseph Baena. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The fitness model praised DWTS for helping him build up his confidence, adding, “This show for sure is the icing on the cake for this year of doing that — chasing my own passions [and] chasing my own dreams. I’ve found a new passion. Like, I love dancing, it’s been so fun.”

Related: Former ‘DWTS’ Partners That Stayed Good Friends After the Show

Joseph also gushed about getting to work with Karagach, 29, during his time on season 31. “Daniella has made this experience that much better the way that she’s coached me, the way that she’s been such a great teammate, partner [and] friend,” he continued. “It means the world to me. It’s crazy.”

During the second part of Stars’ 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, having his mother in the audience for his last appearance made the experience more meaningful.

Related: Biggest ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Controversies Through the Years

“My mom was there in the crowd tonight and it was really extremely nice that she was there because she wasn’t supposed to be 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 exit, the California native previously opened up about his father’s reaction to his time on DWTS. “He’s so happy, he’s so proud [of me],” Joseph told reporters on October 10 after performing a dance inspired by Hercules, which doubled as a subtle shout-out to Schwarzenegger. “I love my father. He’s 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. It’s awesome. And, you know, who doesn’t want to be like their father, right? It’s great.”

Dancing With the Stars airs on Disney+ Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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