Riverdale is without a doubt one of 2017’s biggest successes. Based on the Archie comics series and bringing characters such as Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge and Jughead Jones to the small screen in a modern day, dark adventure, the series has made household stars of its leading actors. KJ Apa is one of those fronting the show in the leading role of Archie, and he’s amassed an incredible set of loyal fans thanks to his performance. Still, there are probably quite a few things you didn’t know about the actor, so here, we break down just 10 facts about KJ Apa that we think you may not be privy to!
10) He’s Actually From New Zealand
Though he’s playing an American in Riverdale, KJ is actually an actor hailing from New Zealand who later moved to the States to follow his dreams. Though we know him for his role in Riverdale, he had in the past been a star in New Zealand prime-time soap opera Shortland Street. There, he played Kane Jenkins and helped to bring the shocking statistics of youth suicide to light in New Zealand. It was a critically-acclaimed storyline that saw Apa lauded by the majority of those watching.
9) KJ Stands For Kenati James
Known to the majority of the world as KJ Apa, KJ’s real name is in fact Kenati James Fitzgerald. With two older sisters and as the son of Keneti and Tessa Apa, he’s somebody who’s all about his family, but had to change his name slightly if he was going to be someone who stuck in the minds of those he entertained.
8) KJ’s Also Half Samoan
Though you might not have heard about KJ being half-Samoan, it’s not something the actor hides! In fact, he’s been very vocal in his pride of his heritage and says that Samoan culture has played a massive part in his life. Though there was a point in his life when he used to speak Samoan fluently, it’s now something that he’s lost. Still, we imagine it wouldn’t take too much relearning for the talented young actor to pick it up again!
7) He’s A Talented Musician In Real Life
Much like his character Archie in Riverdale, KJ has spent a lot of his free time in his own life brushing up on his musical skills. Taking to the guitar and even the piano, he’s honed in on his talents and really cemented himself as a true double threat. We know he can sing and act, so now we just need to see those dance moves to see if he’s the complete entertainment package! Something tells us he’d do incredibly well in a season of Dancing With The Stars…
6) He’s Not Really Got Red Hair
KJ is somebody who puts his entire look on the line to follow his dreams, and that’s exactly what he did when he got the role of Archie Andrews in Riverdale. Reports suggest that it took 10 hours to dye KJ’s hair completely red for the role! True dedication.
5) He’s A Bit Of A Loveable Goof
When it comes to social media, KJ isn’t afraid to act the fool. Though he’s clearly very smart and business-minded, working his way onto one of the biggest shows of the modern day, he’s not against letting his hair down and being a little silly, as shown in the tweet above.
4) He’s A Gemini
For those who believe in the star signs, Gemini is one of the most compelling characters there can be, so it makes sense that KJ is one of them. Born on June 16, 1997, he’s currently just 20-years-old, but manages to perform on the small screen like he’s been there for decades.
3) His Shoulder Tattoo Has Greater Meaning
When KJ’s father died, the actor travelled to Samoa at 17 and got a tattoo to represent his family. He’s not the only one, as other members of his family also agreed to get the tattoo to commemorate their tradition and love for one another.
2) He Almost Became Red Ranger In The Power Rangers Reboot
Though Australian actor Dacre Montgomery eventually picked up the role of the Red Ranger in the recent Power Rangers movie reboot, it was something that KJ wasn’t too far behind on. Testing for the role, KJ is said to have been very close to securing the contract, but in the end Montgomery pipped him to the post. Still, he met Ross Butler during the auditions for the film, before working with him on the first season of Riverdale!
1) He Actually Injured Himself During The Riverdale S1 Finale
Whilst filming a scene where he was punching solid ice, KJ admits that he “got a little bit too excited”. Punching a foam mat that was sitting atop the ice, he says that he was so in character that “it wasn’t until 20 minutes after that I realised I broke my hand.” Looks like the brace shown and used for his hand is something that was completely necessary when filming!
Riverdale continues exclusively on Netflix.
Tagged in Netflix