Patrick Schwarzenegger’s Hudson Jeans billboard on Sunset Boulevard has been turning heads since it was erected in August. It’s the first modeling gig for the 17-year-old son of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, who are in the midst of a high-profile separation. The younger Schwarzenegger has so far kept mum about his shirtless star turn for Hudson but agreed to an interview with WWD — after getting permission from his mother.

WWD: How did you decide to do the Hudson Jeans campaign?
Patrick Schwarzenegger:
I got the offer from [agency] L.A. Models and we talked it over. I told my sister [Katherine] and my family. My sister wears the jeans all the time and she said, “Do it, do it.” At first I was pretty nervous but [campaign co-star Georgia May Jagger] was extremely nice and a great person to work with.

This story first appeared in the September 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

WWD: You’re shirtless, and the campaign is pretty sexy. How did you approach that aspect?
I looked at Hudson’s previous ad campaigns and I knew they were sexy and showed off skin and stuff. But they all come out really well so I knew I was in good hands. Right away when I saw the pictures, they looked really good.

WWD: What did your parents think of the Hudson ad?
They loved it. They support anything I do and I support anything they do. That’s how it is. They liked how it came out, and they think it’s great that I’m starting to work and that I’m managing my time between high school and work. They help me a lot with my company [the Project 360 clothing line]. My dad helps me a lot with my business side, and my mom and my grandparents [the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver] had a huge influence with the charitable component and the idea of giving back. I’ve learned everything from them.

WWD: Your clothing line, Project 360, helps raise money for charities. Have you always had an interest in fashion?
I’ve always been into dressing nicely. My dad’s really into fashion also. We’ll always go out and buy stuff. He has his own style and I have my own style, but it’s a shared thing. Same thing with my grandfather, he was really into his style so it’s just sort of been passed down, I think.

WWD: You showed Project 360 at the Project show in Las Vegas last month. How did that go?
It was great. I made a lot of friends and made a lot of contacts. I went last year also. I brought my dad this year, since he’s into all that. He brought his friends and had a great time. My dad always taught me a lot of business stuff, but this is the best way to learn. I’ve taken business classes at school and at [Santa Monica College], but I’ve jumped ahead of most other kids because I’ve had the opportunity to deal with the numbers and everything firsthand. Project 360 helps raise funds for Alzheimer’s research and Best Buddies and is sold on

WWD: What are your college plans and career goals in the future?
I’m a senior at Brentwood High School. I’m applying to USC, Georgetown, Stanford and Penn. One sister goes to USC and the other to Georgetown. If all my work is going well and I get into USC, that’s probably what’s realistic for me. I’ve wanted to do some sort of acting stuff down the line, but modeling is a good way to get comfortable in front of the camera. L.A. Models is setting up a lot of cool stuff for me now. Hopefully that will keep jumping. And I want to keep my business going. I’m always thinking of new ideas and trying to find ways to expand my career opportunities. — D.L.