Patrick Schwarzenegger, the 17-year-old super-spawn of Arnold and Maria, limps—but never once winces—through the upper courtyard of the Brentwood Country Mart. During the previous night's soccer match, Patrick, a Brentwood High defender, caught a charley horse, and his leg is still stiff. He's wearing slim black pants, a form-fitting red-and-navy-plaid shirt, and—he's proud of these—the black Palladium fold-down military boots that he bought on a business trip to the Magic clothing convention in Las Vegas. He is six feet one but seems taller—and not just because he's sporting a side-swept, gravity-defying updo. A princely local celebrity accrues to Patrick, and the limp does nothing to diminish it.
Even if you've never been inside the Brentwood Country Mart, you've likely seen its farmhouse-kitschy façade. Since the dawning of the "Stars—They're Just Like Us!" era, this upscale shopping center has become the Most Photographed Barn in America. It's where—EXCLUSIVE!—Jessica Alba and her toddler, Honor, were spotted at the Pulp & Hide Candy Alley; where Jennifer Garner and elder daughter Violet met up with hubby Ben Affleck and baby Seraphina for quality family time; and where, last October, accompanied by his do-it-all mom, Maria Shriver, Patrick was snapped leaving Maha yoga studio with no shirt on.
The paparazzi had caught Patrick there a couple of times before, but never like this. TERMINATOR IN TRAINING ran the headline in the U.K.'s Daily Mail, which juxtaposed a pic of lean and sinewy Patrick with one of his jacked-up father. A blogger for Best Week Ever wrote, "Why do some people have it as easy as a haircut and a couple of workouts to become HOT AS SH*T." But Patrick, who knows a little something about the celebrity machine, isn't trying to capitalize on tabloid fame.
"I'm in a fork-split path right now," he says. "My mom raised me with the idea of doing public service, and I definitely want to go in that direction. But I also want to follow in my dad's entrepreneurial footsteps."
When your chromosomes are part Kennedy, part Schwarzenegger, few advantages elude you. But in the eyes of both sides of the family, they aren't worth anything unless you do something with them. At 17, Patrick has expectations to live up to. "The Kennedy-Shrivers were much more hands-on—they were brought up with the idea that doing good was fun," says Laurence Leamer, a Kennedy family biographer who has also written Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger. "And there's no more competitive person in the world than Arnold Schwarzenegger." This can weigh on a kid.
"You do things at a young age in this family," says Patrick's 21-year-old sister Katherine, the author of Rock What You've Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty From Someone Who's Been There and Back. As of yet, neither Patrick's sister Christina, who's 19, nor his 13-year-old brother, Christopher, has sought the spotlight. "Patrick and I have bonded," Katherine says, "over the fact that I wrote a book young and he's already started a business."
That business is called Project360, the philanthropically oriented, increasingly profitable (mid-five figures, net, in 2010) clothing line Patrick cofounded two years ago, at 15. The company donates 10 percent of all its sales to a variety of causes—and that percentage isn't arbitrary. "My grandmother always said," Patrick recalls, "when you receive a paycheck, you always have to put a certain amount to your savings, and 10 percent right away to charity."
Patrick is trying to raise the profile, and the charitable output, of Project360, whose T-shirts, bracelets, and hoodies have been carried in Bloomingdale's and Henri Bendel, worn by the likes of Reggie Bush and Eva Longoria, and featured on Access Hollywood. At a café in the Country Mart, he and his partners, Nick Sheinberg (his oldest friend) and Kimberly Barth, met to discuss the pros and cons of using English-language appliqués like UNFORGETTABLE (benefitting Alzheimer's research) and SURVIVOR (cancer-stricken children) as the company expands into Asian markets. They also selected fabrics for their first men's line, due this winter, consisting of luxe sweats, windbreakers, and, in a nod to Patrick's father, leather bomber jackets.
In one recent for-profit venture, he proved adept at getting out of trouble—a skill that is every bit as valued by the Kennedys as by the Schwarzeneggers. It was last Halloween, when Patrick cohosted "the biggest party any high-school kid has ever been to," in Pacific Palisades. "There were, like, 600 people there," he says. "We flew in a rap group from the East Bay called the Pack." The cops busted the party, handing out multiple citations for underage drinking. Coming just a few weeks after the shirtless-yoga pic, it led to Patrick's first brush with less-adoring coverage. "They're glad I had fun with it," Patrick says of his parents, "but they weren't happy with how it was portrayed in the media."
"It looks like dis apple doesn't fall too far from de tree," wrote an LA Weekly blogger, citing as evidence the Governator's "hard-partying ways during his Venice body-building days." But the blogger was only half right. He didn't mention the entrepreneurial zeal behind the venture (admission was $20). Referring to his investment in the event, Patrick says proudly, "I easily made it all back."
Nor is the young Schwarzenegger opposed to selling his image—he just signed on with L.A. Models, which has plans to push him for the Ralph Lauren and Armani campaigns. He's doing it to "inject some capital" into Project360 and to "get comfortable in front of the camera." But modeling "isn't going to be my permanent job. There's a lot of other things I want to do."
In the meantime, it's not as if Patrick is uncomfortable with the Hollywood set. "I just saw Tallulah over winter break," he says, referring to the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. "I was at their house in Sun Valley." Although he just reunited with an ex, Patrick cockily refers to his tweet-mates Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez as "girls for the future."
"My eye, though," he adds, "is set on Miley."
Patrick Schwarzenegger at the beach in Venice Beach.
• • •
Patrick identifies most closely with the Kennedy-Shriver branch of the family, whose greatest public-service accomplishments have occurred outside the auspices of elected office. His late maternal grandparents are practically saints: Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics, and Sargent Shriver, a Democratic vice-presidential nominee, oversaw the creation of the Peace Corps. Patrick was close to both and refers to Sarge's recent funeral—particularly the sense of camaraderie he felt among his more than 100 cousins and the musical tributes from Bono and Wyclef Jean—as a "life-changing experience."
In an op-ed following the funeral, Arnold invoked Sarge's "call to service" as his ultimate reason for leaving Hollywood to run for governor. Patrick is, therefore, not only heir to America's most formidable political dynasty but also the modern-day embodiment—in every sense—of the self-made man. (His father barely spoke English when he arrived in America from Austria at 21. By the time he met Maria at a tennis tournament nine years later, he was a millionaire with real-estate holdings and a mail-order fitness-supply business.) In other words, Patrick signifies more than a six-pack. Amid all the prurience surrounding his Maha pics, one comment on the Awl placed his hot bod in its evolutionary-biological context: "Oh crap, they took the Kennedy looks and gave it muscles. That kid is going to rule us all." That's precisely what the image of Patrick portends. But using it to rule over all isn't necessarily what he wants. At least not yet.
• • •
In the first week of January, Patrick said goodbye to Calvin Johnson, his State of California-mandated bodyguard and one of his best friends since 2003. That same day, ushered home by his own staff, Arnold flew back from Sacramento for good.
"They brought my dad home from the airport, we all talked for a little while, and then"—Patrick pauses—"yeah, they left. It's like losing 30 family members in a single day."
But Patrick remembers life pre-Governator, when his father used to pick him up from school and take him to movie sets. In the trailer, the two would play chess. While his father was filming, Patrick would stay behind and watch TV. Arnold would often return to find his young son asleep and bundle him home.
Although Patrick eventually learned to appreciate the importance of his father's new job, it took a big toll. In a recent interview, Arnold alluded to "the damage my time as governor did to the family," to the moment when they told him "'We hate your job.'"
"My mom always talks about how hard it was to grow up in a political family," Patrick says. "It's always split up, and just—I want to have fun in life. No, politics isn't on the list."
Patrick is the rare 17-year-old who loves spending time with family. The best weeks of the year, he says, are in August, at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis, Massachusetts. "It's the only time every single person is together: the Shrivers, the Schwarzeneggers, the Kennedys. Everyone." Softball, capture the flag, touch football—not to mention high-stakes bets and dares: Competition on the Cape is fiercely fun. It's a tradition that extends back to when Jack, Bobby, and Teddy would lock horns on the lawn. If there isn't any pressure to win, it isn't fun.
"He's got a lot of guts and courage," says Anthony Shriver, who founded Best Buddies—a charity for people with mental disabilities—of his nephew, adding only that "he's done some crazy stuff." Patrick, who loooooves the Lakers, has a $700 bet with Heat fan Anthony about which team will go further in the NBA playoffs this year. But not all the stakes in Hyannis are competitive. Referring to his godfather and uncle, Timothy Shriver, who runs the Special Olympics, Patrick, a weekly churchgoer, says, "Timmy is pretty religious, so he's always spiritually kind of helping me." Patrick's reluctant to isolate his affections, though. "Everyone is always together on the boat."
"Coming from a family like Patrick's," Timothy says, "people anticipate superiority, bossiness, exclusivity, because most of the time, that's what you get from Hollywood kids. Patrick has absolutely none of that."
Schwarzenegger with Kimberly Barth and Nick Sheinberg,
his partners in Project360, his philanthropic fashion line.
• • •
It's a Tuesday afternoon in early March, and Patrick just got back from an after-school workout with his dad. "He's home all the time now," he says. Earlier, Arnold took him out for lunch. And earlier still, at 6 A.M., the two of them biked to Venice Beach and back. The topic of discussion: starting a business. "It's still secret," Patrick says, conceding only that it may have to do with a new fitness-supplement drink. Of his own volition—though there may be a genetic predisposition there—Patrick has enrolled in a five-day-a-week course at Santa Monica College (where Arnold once studied English) called Principles of Entrepreneurship.
"I'm learning how to write a business plan," he says. "Then I'm going to pitch him." Meaning free-enterprise-loving Arnold. Patrick, the latest iteration of Kennedy, descends from a man for whom the principles of entrepreneurship transcend party affiliation—and justify professional modeling (which will surely increase Patrick's exposure). "My mom is happy that I'm trying to expand it," he says, "and my dad is happy with anything I can do to get ahead of the game.
"After college," Patrick continues, "you've gotta get a job and start living your life. But if you can get ahead before, at a younger age…" He trails off.
Everyone knows what comes next.