Riverdale Star KJ Apa: ‘I’m Proud to be Samoan’
Move over Dwayne Johnson, (We still love you). But the new uso on the block KJ Apa is sizzling U.S screens and has teenage girls (and guys) falling at his feet. Literally.
At just 20 years old, KJ Apa is the latest young acting sensation to turn heads in Hollywood. And his talent, good looks and physique can be attributed to those amazing Samoan genes!
KJ, born Keneti James Fitzgerald Apa, from Auckland is half Samoan and the star of America’s hottest new teen show Riverdale currently airing on the network CW.
In a recent interview in the U.S, KJ spoke of how proud he is to be Samoan.
“I have a massive Samoan family. And the Samoan culture has always played a massive part of my life,” KJ shared.
“I’ve got hundreds of family on my dad’s side that live in Samoa and in New Zealand. I’ve just been surrounded by the culture ever since I was a kid.”
He adds that he actually used to speak Samoan fluently but that “Me and my sisters all kind of lost it.”
“We go to Samoa once a year to see family. And my dad recently just got a traditional Samoan tattoo. He’s a chief in Samoa (Tupa’i) so he got the tattoo to commemorate it. I got a small tattoo when I was 15 when my dad became chief.”
It’s no surprise, that KJ, like most Samoans is a natural musician and athlete – both of which helped him land the lead role of Archie Andrews.
Riverdale, based on the famous old Archie Comic series has a modern and millennial twist that young audiences love. Set in a sleepy small eerie U.S town, the plot has all the elements of a good mystery with news of a death in town on everyones lips; affairs, scandals and lies – all complimented with a good looking cast.
Archie is the quintessential handsome and popular high school jock who has his sights set on a music career. An innocent ‘player’, Archies weakness is falling for every girl that crosses his path including his music teacher. The couple’s presence near the crime scene complicates things even more as the investigation intensifies putting pressure on them to reveal their relationship.
What I love about this new series, (bias aside), is unlike most ditzy U.S dramas with vampire storylines and annoying characters that make the younger generation clueless, this series actually touches on some very interesting and real issues like black feminism and same-sex relationships.
And I could be bias again but the show is also a thrill to older viewers like myself who grew up with Brandon, Brenda, Kelly and Dylan from the 90’s series 90210. What a delight it is to see Luke Perry from 90210 playing Archie’s Dad. The heartthrob of the 90’s is now playing the father of today’s new heartthrob KJ.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride – and a good ride for the youngster who started out on New Zealands own Shortland Street. KJ hasn’t worked in the States for long and in a short space of time, he has filmed his first feature film ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ alongside acting royalty Dennis Quaid before heading straight into Riverdale.
SUGA spoke with his agent Mandy Jacobsen of Red 11 and she recalls introducing KJ to agents in LA for the first time a couple of years back.
“I was pleasantly surprised,” she said. They all wanted to sign him on the spot! …And some compared him to Tom Cruise.”
Well Tom Cruise and The Rock can both move aside then. It’s KJ Apa’s time to shine! #Polywood