KJ Apa is a New Zealand actor, singer, and musician. He is famous for his role of ‘Archie Andrews’ in the CW drama series ‘Riverdale’ (2017).
Keneti James Fitzgerald Apa Vulture was born on Tuesday, June 17, 1997 (age 24 years; as of 2021), at Waitakere Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.
He did his schooling at King’s College, Auckland, New Zealand. He is a high school graduate. Wired -YouTube When he was eighteen years old, he came to Los Angeles for the first time to audition for a movie.
Wired – YouTube Height: 6′
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Brown
Red 11 Model Management Body Measurements: 39″-33″-33″
Family & Ethnicity
His father, Tupa’i Keneti Apa, is a Samoan and a matai (chief) of his village, Moata’a, in Samoa. His mother, Tessa Apa (née Callander), is a European New Zealander. Samoa Observer
He has two elder sisters named Timena Apa and Ari Apa.
The former rugby union player and coach Michael Jones is his paternal uncle.
Relationship & Children
In 2020, he began dating the French model and social media influencer Clara Berry, who is four years elder than him.
In May 2021, the couple announced that Berry was pregnant. On September 23, 2021, Sasha Vai Keneti Apa, their son, was born, which Clara announced through an Instagram post.
KJ Apa was brought up in a Christian family, and he follows Christianity. Los Angeles Times
In 2013, KJ Apa started his career as an actor with the New Zealand soap opera ‘Shortland Street’ in which he played ‘Kane Jenkins,’ a role introduced to depict the youth suicide. The show aired on TVNZ 2. Shortland Street follows the story of the individuals living in Ferndale, New Zealand. He played the role till 2015.
In 2016, he appeared in the New Zealand TV series ‘The Cul de Sac’ as ‘Jack.’
The next year, his breakthrough came with the American TV series ‘Riverdale’ (also his debut in the American television entertainment industry) in which he was seen in the main role of ‘Archibald “Archie” Andrews,’ a high school football player, who is also interested in music. The series chronicles the life of Archie Andrews in Riverdale town. He also played the young version of Frederick Arthur “Fred” Andrews, Archie’s father. The series was broadcast on the CW Network.
In 2017, he made his film debut with the American comedy-drama adventure ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ in which he portrayed ‘Teenage Ethan Montgomery.’ The film is based on a dog who goes on an adventure to seek his purpose in life over different lifetimes and owners.
Next, he appeared in the 2018 American drama ‘The Hate U Give’ as ‘Chris.’ The film is about a girl named ‘Starr Carter’ (played by American actress Amandla Stenberg), who, after witnessing her friend ‘Kalil’ shot by a police officer, finds her voice to stand up for the right thing.
He then appeared in the 2019 film ‘The Last Summer’ in the lead role of ‘Griffin Hourigan.’ The film revolves around the lives of high school graduates navigating personal issues while having fun in their last summer before joining college.
In 2020, he appeared in the American film ‘I Still Believe’ in the lead role of ‘Jeremy Camp.’ The film narrates the life of the Christian musician Jeremy and his journey of love and loss.
Other American films in which Apa appeared are Dead Reckoning (2020) and Songbird (2020).
He is a guitarist. At the age of fourteen, he released his solo instrumental album. He has a band of his own that was formed in the initial days of Riverdale’s shooting. Apa and Rob Raco (who played Joaquin in the series) began having jam sessions together to take their stress off acting career. Soon, Alex Carruthers and Josh Wyper joined the sessions, making a band called ‘Good Time Boys.’ The band played mostly at Vancouver bars. After the band played at the Teen Vogue Party, they began calling themselves ‘Legend.’ The band has an Instagram account, which they use to give updates on the band and upload their songs. The band also did a gig in Washington, D.C. As of 2021, the band is known as ‘The Rumble Fish.’
In 2021, he released another album titled ‘Clocks,’ which has ten songs. He has also sung in his album. In an Instagram post, he talked about his album and said,
CLOCKS. This music represents a piece of myself – my past, my future and my present. This is my living room journal. I lose all sense of time in this room making music. This is the place where I feel the most free. To me, letting go of these songs feels like letting you read my diary. Like standing naked in front of a crowd – it’s liberating to have nothing left to hide but also terrifying to share the thoughts & feelings from some of the most vulnerable parts of my life.”
- In 2017, KJ Apa was criticized heavily by people when he liked a fat-shaming post on Instagram, which read,
Making fun of fat people is the only thing that’s gonna stop those useless bags of sh*t dying a fat early death.”
Many of his fans showed disappointment over this, while some even shared their experiences of fat-shaming. The New Zealand Herald
- In 2018, the rugby player Israel Folau, in response to a comment of a follower (who had asked ‘What was God’s plan for gay people?’) on his Instagram account, said,
HELL..unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”
KJ, who was a Christian and felt bad about Israel’s comment, replied to Israel’s comment,
@izzyfolau Very disappointing comments… Our role as Christians is to LOVE not Judge. What gives you the right to condemn? Are you perfect? Sit down.”
After his response to Israel, he received support from many people. Teen Vogue
- In June 2020, after the Black Lives Matter protests started following the death of George Floyd, KJ Apa also posted a black square with the hashtag ‘#blackouttuesday.’ The post was a part of the viral Instagram campaign to focus on the deaths of Black Americans on the hands of the white police officers in the US. However, the American comedian Elijah Daniel tweeted highlighting his ‘The Hate U Give’ film and accusing Apa of not talking more about the issue. Elijah wrote,
I love that movie but i do have a question. If KJ was the co-star of that movie why is he so silent? He has such a massive young audience and got paid to be in a movie about police brutality and … posted a black square?”
In response to the accusations, KJ wrote,
I don’t need to post about my opinions and beliefs in order for them to be real to me. I support black lives – but I don’t feel it’s necessary to prove to people I do by posting my attendance at these protests.”
The same day, he posted an Instagram story, calling attention to rap by late rapper Tupac Shakur in 1993. USA Today The video showed the rapper saying,
White folks see us as thugs. I don’t care if you think you a lawyer, if you a man, if you an African American, if you whatever the (expletive) you think you are, we thugs and (expletives) to these (expletives).”
- In June 2020, a Twitter account named Tasha shared screenshots from various Twitter users, who had accused Riverdale actors including KJ Apa, Cole Sprouse, Lillie Reinhart, and Vanessa Morgan of sexual harassment. Tasha later walked back on her allegations, tweeting,
Do you see how easy it is to lie and you guys will believe it? Vanessa Morgan and KJ Apa didn’t do jack shit. You will believe anything.”
Following the allegations, Sprouse and Reinhart denied the accusations against them and other Riverdale cast members. Sprouse also announced that their team would take the matter seriously and consider actions. The American actress Camila Mendes showed her support to the Riverdale cast accused in the case. The New Zealand Herald
- Actor(s): Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, John Cena, Channing Tatum
- Fruit: Watermelon
- TV Show(s): Top Gear (2012), Friends (1994), Ted Lasso (2020)
- Musician(s): Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan
- Band(s): Kool & The Gang, Pearl Jam
- Singer: Bobby Brown
- Film(s): How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Fool’s Gold (2008), Fury (2014), Dunkirk (2017)
- Actress(es): Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson
- Album(s): ‘The Nightfly Studio’ by Donald Fagen, ‘Couldn’t Stand the Weather’ by Double Trouble and Stevie Ray Vaughan, ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ by Bobby Brown, ‘In Rainbows’ by Radiohead, ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ by Oasis, ‘Definitely Maybe’ by Oasis
- Superhero: Spider-Man
He owns a house in Nichols Canyon, Los Angeles, California, which he bought in 2020. Coincidentally, Apa and Cole Sprouse, his fellow cast from Riverdale, were both going to buy the same house. However, Cole decided to let Apa have the house, and he bought another house in Nichols Canyon. Los Angeles Times
In 2018, Variety revealed the salaries of the top stars per episode in their respective serials. According to the article, KJ Apa’s salary for ‘Riverdale’ was $40,000 per episode. Variety
- He has two Samoan tattoos, one on his left shoulder and one on the right shoulder, which he received at the age of fifteen when his father became the chief of his village.
- On his right wrist, there is a tattoo of a bee covered by two branches of leaves, along with a flower, which is a tribute to his grandmother.
- He also has a Val Halen tattoo below his right elbow.
- On his left forearm, ‘VSR’ and a couple are tattooed.
- On his left chest, there is ‘Omnia Vincit Amor,’ which means love conquers all, tattooed.
- There are a few words inked on his back.
- An arrowhead tattoo on the right bicep
- KJ is his nickname. Vulture
- In his spare time, Apa likes exercising, playing the guitar, and spending time with his friends.
- He is also an artist and likes doing Samoan art from time to time. Most of his art pieces take 2-4 or more years to make.
- He started playing the guitar at the age of twelve after watching one of his friends’ brothers performing ‘Hotel California’ by Eagles. He then brought a $200 red-colored Ashton guitar on which he painted white strips with the help of his mother so that it could look like his idol Eddie Van Halen’s guitar.
- He is such a guitar lover that he took his guitar to the auditions of Riverdale.
- When he was thirteen years old, his mother put him in the same modeling agency as his sister. He did not take any work from the company until the age of sixteen when the agency offered him to play a role in a TV series.
- In 2017, he won Saturn Award for Breakthrough Performance for his performance in Riverdale.
- In an interview, he talked about his Samoan culture and said,
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. I actually used to speak Samoan, but me and my sisters all kind of lost it. We go there at least once a year to see family.”
- While talking about his American accent in an interview, he said that he never had to struggle to speak in an American accent as it came naturally to him when he came to the States. He said,
I used to talk to myself as a kid in an American accent. Other than that, I don’t actually know why I can do it. It’s an easy accent to do, I think, in terms of accents. It’s harder for Americans to do a New Zealand accent than it is for a New Zealander to do an American accent. I think my musical side has always helped as well. I’ve always played by ear with guitar and piano, so I think that can also play into it as well. I’m able to hear and then mimic it or something.”
- He is very athletic and plays rugby.
- He is a fitness fanatic and loves exercising. When KJ Apa turned eleven, his father began his home workout sessions at the gym in the backyard of his house. While talking about it in an interview, he said,
I’ve exercised my whole life. My dad got me into it when I was young, so I’ve been training for a long time. It was something I didn’t have to think about going in [to the show], which was good.”
- He is an animal lover and has two pet dogs, Furby and Rocky.
- In an interview, he shared that he never thought of becoming an actor. He either wanted to be a rugby player or a musician and do gigs in New Zealand bars.
- In 2017, he was involved in a late-night car crash as he slept while driving a 45-minute distance from home. Reportedly, he was returning home after a 16-hour workday outside Vancouver.
- While talking about his experience of the show Riverdale, he said that he felt like being in jail. He added,
I felt so free coming from a show where I feel like I’m in jail a lot of the time. With this character, it was like, ‘Wow, this is what it’s like to really express myself in a natural way.’ I wasn’t covered in makeup or hair products. I had long hair and a beard. I just felt free.”
- He is fond of Dwayne Johnson. In an interview, he appreciated Dwayne’s happy demeanor. He said,
I was talking to my sister about this. I was like, ‘The guy’s always in a good mood from what I can see in his interviews. I wonder if he’s ever [not happy]. I wish I could be like that, always in a good mood.’ She was like, ‘That’s just not who you are.’ But I was wondering, if he’s really like that, that’s really sick. How can I be like that?”
- He is also on TikTok with his username @FifiIsQueen, and his bio reads,
There is only one queen and her name is Fifi”
Fifi is also claimed to be his alter ego. W Magazine
- In an interview, he revealed that he wished to play ‘Spider-Man/Peter Parker’ in the future. According to him,
Tom Holland, if you’re out there reading this, Apa thinks you’re doing great. But Spider-Man, that’s been his dream forever. He’s just the best superhero to me. When I was a kid, I just loved him.”
- Apa left New Zealand due to, what he calls, Tall Poppy Syndrome, which, he says, means being pushed down for doing what the majority is not doing or standing out. In an interview, he explained,
Everyone wants to be normal, no one wants to stand out. Creativity and absurdity in New Zealand are almost not accepted. Everyone in New Zealand just wants to get by…like, if everything is going well the way we’re doing it, let’s just keep doing it that way, ya know what I mean? So as soon as you kind of break that consistency, people are like ‘what are you doing!?”
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