He was 10 when his father began laying the groundwork for the Freakshow, and remembers being a bit nonplussed by the whole undertaking. "My dad started collecting strange animals and things in jars, and at first I thought it was weird. After a while, though, I got used to it and once we opened up in Venice Beach, I really started to like it. It's fun and I'm always meeting new people – famous people, unusual people," he says. "And the people we work with are like family. They care about us, and I care about them like brother and sisters."
Of course, most teenagers don't own a business, much less have a stake in a decidedly unorthodox amusement center. Inevitably, Phoenix's routines aren't those of a typical teenager. "Most kids at my school have routine lives, and they hang out with their friends on the weekends. For me, weekends are when I go to work. Sometimes I travel to pick up new animals. Or I'm meeting new people who come to perform at the Freakshow," he remarks. "There's one side of me, where I want to hang out with my friends. But on the other hand, I get to have these great experiences that none of my friends will never have. It's an exciting life."
Now a senior in high school, Phoenix is mulling his options for the future. An avid fan of nonfiction medical programming, he's fascinated by the workings of the body and is looking into colleges with advanced anatomy programs (he's particularly keen to work with cadavers). Meanwhile, performing with the Venice Beach Freakshow isn't out of the question. "It's inspiring to watch the performers go onstage, with the audience clapping and excited to see what they're going to do in their acts. Sometimes I think, 'I want to do that.' And I know that everyone would help me and teach me."