Josie Canseco On Being Jose Canseco’s Daughter, Dog Adoption & Idolizing Jim Carrey
“I think meeting any young lady’s father can be stressful, especially a father that’s controversial like mine, and also very tall and known for his strength.”
Josie Canseco’s Instagram bio doesn’t contain links to her jet-setting Retreat Magazine cover or serene editorial spread in Harper’s Bazaar México. Nor does the Maxim Hot 100 stunner urge her 1.2 million followers to visit the top of her profile page for a “special deal” from one of the labels she’s worked with, among them Nike, Juicy Couture and Alo Yoga—she’s a brand ambassador for the latter. Instead, there’s a link to a YouTube video titled “The Meaning —Jim Carrey.”
“My favorite human, who I’ve looked up to my entire life, is Jim Carrey,” Canseco says. “His talent, humor, confidence, and wisdom is inspiring and something that’s shaped me and my perspective on everything.” The four-minute clip features a montage of scenes from the prolific funnyman’s many roles overdubbed with audio excerpts from his 2014 commencement speech at Fairfield, Iowa’s Maharishi International University.
Some may consider the video mawkish, but Carrey’s overarching message can be summarized by this humility-inspiring line: “How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide?” Belying her youth, the 26-year-old Canseco has taken Carrey’s words to heart, using her time and talent in service of others—“others” being animals.
“I’ve always had a really soft spot for animals,” says Canseco, who has also followed a meatless diet for the past five years. “Growing up, I volunteered at farms and shelters just as a way to pass time doing something I love. The last couple of years I’ve been working with a wonderful nonprofit [organization] called The Real Bark, which takes in dogs that other shelters simply won’t because they might be considered ‘hard cases.’ It’s so beautiful to get to see [The Real Bark] team find them loving forever homes.”
Canseco is of course most famous for being the model daughter of controversial MLB legend Jose Canseco. During and following his baseball career, the six-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion’s personal and professional life was rife with well-documented turmoil, from steroid use to financial difficulties.
“I think everyone should just remember that a lot of this world is smoke and mirrors,” she says when asked about assumptions of nepotism. “Everyone’s family goes through their own set of issues, and sometimes when you have one side of your life in the public eye, the personal side can bleed through and make things messy. I’m grateful for my family in every way, but it’s just not all what it may seem.”
Contrary to public perception, Canseco’s early career was a complete grind. She’d had limited experience working with Brandy Melville—a teen fashion brand—when viral photos of Canseco captured at Coachella got her noticed by scouts. She then made the move to New York City to pursue modeling full-time. Nearly broke, she lived in a string of cramped apartments, most of which were filled with several other models.
“My agency believed in me and was fronting me for rent and pocket money for my first two years of my career, so when I’d get paid from jobs they’d recoup that,” she recalls. “Eventually I had built a clientele, and I was out of debt with [the agency] and could afford to not stay in those anymore. Regardless how rough those apartments could be, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I met some amazing women. And luckily, I got along with most of them.”
The job that thrust Canseco into the national spotlight was a spot in the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which happened to be the last installment of the famed lingerie parade before the company’s rebranding. But there are still a couple of dream gigs that could take its place.
“The ultimate goal for me, because of my love for their late, legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld, would be to work with Chanel. Another dream would be an American Vogue cover. I think being chosen for something that big would, in a way, solidify my success.”
Looking at her portfolio, which also includes shoots with Chinese Vogue and revered fine arts photographer David Yarrow, most would consider her success bona fide. Even so, Canseco manages to remain humble and open as she speaks with us, even when asked, for what must be the umpteenth time, about her father. Specifically, whether he intimidates her boyfriends.
“I think meeting any young lady’s father can be stressful, [especially] a father that’s controversial like mine, and also very tall and known for his strength,” she says. “My dad and I have a very special relationship, most of the time, and I bring a very vulnerable side out of him, so ultimately he’s very kind and respectful to anyone I bring around.”
She also didn’t flinch when asked about the perks that come with being a Canseco, joking, “I can hit a baseball pretty well!” So far, she’s definitely batting 1,000 in life.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2023 issue of Maxim magazine.