Sex, Drugs And Baseball: Josie Canseco Tackles Scandal And Paves Her Own Way
Do you remember what it feels like to be a teenager? Being a teenager feels like knowing who you are, then forgetting, then remembering again. Josie Canseco is on the tail end of her teenage-hood, as an aspiring model and 18-year-old daughter of Jose Canseco, the legendary baseball player also famed for scandal and Jessica Canseco, cosmetic tattoo artist.
“Your dad has a reputation for his involvement with performance enhancers,” I awkwardly began our conversation.
“Steroids,” Josie corrected me, laughing. “It’s okay, you can say it. Steroids.”
“Okay, steroids. So your dad’s taken steroids, and your mom is a cosmetic tattoo artist. How have you dealt with the consistent theme of enhancers in your life?”
“Well, it’s definitely something that is very involved in my life. It’s not something I personally want to get—I don’t think I need growth hormones to make myself bigger, or lip implants to make my lips bigger because I think I’m beautiful the way I am.”
Did your parents teach you that kind of confidence? I asked.
She laughed. “I kind of learned from my parents mistakes. Seeing my mom get a nose job at a young age, I thought, that’s cool, but that’s not what I want. Some people want to get their lips done, and some people don’t, but I think it’s better to love yourself the way you are.”
That’s how Josie Canseco, at 18 years old, speaks. Teenager or not? You decide.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Los Angeles. I’ve lived here since I was 5 or so, but I was born in Florida. I’ve kind of lived everywhere around L.A.—my mom and I have lived in Encino, Sherman Oaks with my dad, Beverly Hills, Brentwood. The reason I came to Los Angeles is actually because my parents divorced, and then my mom stole me away.
She stole you away?
Well, she didn’t steal me away, but you know, they divorced and then she took me. He sort of followed a few years later.
And so have you lived with your dad since then?
No, I’ve lived my mom my entire life. We’re each other’s best friends. I’ve never really lived with my dad. I mean, he comes in out of my life sometimes, but he’s always kind of doing his own thing. So right now he’s living in Vegas, and working. For the most part, he lived in California when I was younger, and when I turned 12, I started seeing him less and less. But we’re still close, we have a good relationship.
You talk often?
Well, not often, but sometimes. I’m busy a lot. But we stay in touch. His fiancee threw him a really big surprise party, so I showed up and surprised him. It’s always great to see him.
And your father—he’s Cuban, right? Do you identify with that heritage?
Yeah, so my dad is cuban. Dark hair, dark eyes, totally cuban looking. He was born in Cuba and grew up in America. And my mom, on the other end, says we have a bit of Cherokee, a bit of German, a whole bunch of different things, but basically I get my blonde hair and blue eyes from that side of the family. I feel like if my dad was more in my life, and I was closer with my Cuban family, I’d be more in touch with my own heritage, I might know Spanish, you know. But since I’ve been raised by mom and lived with my mom, it’s more that I identify with that side. I’ve never even been to Cuba. Yeah, I’m pretty much as white as they come [laughing].
When people say to you, what does being Cuban mean for you, what does that mean for you? And like, what’s Cuban food?
Well, I wish I could identify with that side of me more! I think it’s so cool, and so interesting, and I like when people are able to see certain characteristics of mine that are similar to my father’s, like our face shape and my freckles. And Cuban food is actually really good! There’s this place called Versailles and it’s probably one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been.
Okay, so that wasn’t a big part of your experience growing up. And so what about your mom, what does she do?
She’s a cosmetic tattoo artist. Not like designs, but permanent make up. She can do permanent eyeliner. Or like if someone gets surgery, she can tattoo in order to cover it up. It’s pretty cool.
Have you ever gotten any?
No, but I already have 5 tattoos. One is my dad’s baseball number when he played. Another is JC for Jim Carey. They’re kind of like reminders to myself. Then I have a Chinese symbol for strength. I mean, it’s going to take a long time to explain. Like for my dad’s baseball number, I think about what he’s been through in his career, and about how if he can get through all the hatred, and death threats—
He got death threats?
Oh yeah, my dad’s had a super controversial career. He was both so hated, both for his individual decisions, and ratting out a bunch of players, but also loved because he was such an amazing baseball player through his time. So that’s a reminder if he can go through all that and not care what other people think, then so can I. And for Jim Carey, it’s just something about his personality and his spunk, that reminds me not to hold back my weird side. It’s a reminder to myself to ‘do me’ because at the end of the day that’s how I’ll flourish.
Yeah! All of my tattoos are mostly positive. And my chinese symbol is just a reminder for strength. I’m all about getting back up when you fall down, you know, I’m always the one telling my friends to be strong. I hate weakness. I hate crying.
You do? When was the last time you cried?
Oh, hmmm, probably 5 or 6 months ago, when I was going through a rough time with my mom. I was actually on a plane, and when I landed I got some rough news about something that was going on in our lives and I just completely broke down. And I feel like for me, things build because I just hold them in, and then it just burst.
And there’s something about crying in public that’s really intense to. But so you try not to.
Yeah, I’m all about standing strong and being firm. I mean, sometimes it’s okay to cry, maybe when you’re watching a movie or something. I cried in Titanic once. And my last one is my mom’s name tattooed down the back of my neck. Like I told you, my dad’s never really been in my life, and my mom is pretty much my best friend, so i got this tattoo for her, and she has one with my name going down the back of her neck.
What’s your relationship to your parents now?
Well, I’m at a point in my life where I just want to work. I want to support my family. I’m so lucky to have everything they’ve given me, and now I want to do the same for them.