Archie Riverdale: Everything You Need To Know About KJ Apa

By Emma Moylan

28th April 2020

Archie Riverdale: Everything You Need To Know About KJ Apa

The American teen series first hit our screens in 2017, based on the characters of Archie Comics. But what do we know about actor KJ Apa who plays Archie from Riverdale?

The teen drama follows Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) and Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) living in the small town of Riverdale.

Playing the role of Archie Andrews, KJ Apa has quickly become a heartthrob in the comic-book adaptation. Archie is a high school football player at Stonewall Prep with a passion for music. Yet, we’re more interested in what the actor is like in real life.

We’re taking a look at everything you need to know about KJ Apa.

Growing Up In New Zealand

Despite acting with a convincing American accent, KJ Apa was actually born in Auckland. He has admitted the words he finds most challenging to say in an American are ‘girlfriend’ and ‘burger’.

His father is Samoan and a matai (chief) of his village in Samoa. His mother is a European New Zealander.

Image Source/YouTube

Apa was raised in a Christian family and has confirmed that he is a Christian himself.

Image Source/Twitter

Not Just An Actor But A Musician Too

KJ Apa has been playing the guitar his whole life and at just 14 years old, he recorded his own album.

Showcasing his talent on the show, the actor said he was drawn to the show for its musicality.

He divulged:

“Riverdale is a perfect example of ‘I’m a musician,’”

“But am I particularly enjoying the musical aspects of the project that I’m doing? Not really. I have to do it.”


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What a night. Thanks to all who came to our first show xxxx

A post shared by KJ Apa (@kjapa) on

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Whilst he is made to sing on the show, Apa has explained how he prefers to stick to the guitar.

Part of the band legend, Apa plays alongside his Riverdale co-star Rob Raco, who plays Joaquin DeSantos in the Netflix show.

Together, they have recorded different singles and covers including The Strokes’ ‘You Only Live Once’, John Mayer’s ‘Vultures’ and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’.

How Does He Cover His Tattoos For The Show?

Speaking about his body art, KJ Apa admitted he is a bit addicted to getting tattoos.

“I love tattoos, I love the art of them, and I love the experience of getting them.”

“My grandmom and my mom both have the same bee.”

I got the wreath around it when I was actually waiting for another tattoo that is on my left shoulder.”

KJ Apa Tattoos

Image Source/Information Cradle

The only problem is that his character Archie Andrews does not have any tattoos and therefore there is a need to cover them when filming his (many) topless scenes.

The show’s make up department head Juliana Vit explained the arduous process of covering them.

She said:

“To cover them, we first use a coral cream from a Skin Illustrator palette to cancel out the darkness in the black ink, then we go in with another palette that’s thick, dries really fast, and doesn’t smudge.

“It takes about 40 minutes to finish him, face and body, for shirtless scenes. It is a bit of a process, but we did a good job covering them, as you’ll see.”

Archie Riverdale

Image Source/Refinery29

The actor also has to dye his hair every two weeks to get that Archie Riverdale iconic ginger hair.

When asked if he would continue to dye his hair post Riverdale, he said:

“Definitely never going to dye it again.”

“I really hope that I don’t go bald when I’m 30.” 

What about any pre-filming rituals? According to him, there are none that that cast adhere to.

Where Did He Get His Scar?

The scar on his head comes from hitting it on the side of a trampoline.

When he was just four years old, KJ Apa fell off a trampoline and cracked his head open.

He said of the experience:

“I almost died. Near death experience.” 

KJ Apa

Image Source/Cosmopolitan

He Was Almost NOT Cast On Riverdale

But we can’t imagine anyone else playing Archie Andrews…

The search for the right Archie Andrews was worldwide and KJ Apa went in to audition. However, the casting director felt that the actor was not right for the role.

Casting director David Rapaport explained:

“I passed on him the first time he came in. He didn’t seem prepared.”

Yet, after not finding anyone else suitable in their first search to fill the role, they decided to give the actor another chance to audition.

Rapaport explained:

“He came back in and his read blew me away.

“Sometimes people have bad days and you miss something.”

After Riverdale season one was such a success, it is safe to say that the right decision was made.

Acting alongside Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch and Camila Mendes, KJ Apa fit in nicely.

From TV To Film

If you can’t get enough of KJ Apa, you can watch him in the films The Last Summer and The Hate U Give. 

KJ Apa’s latest project was the film I Still Believe, released in March 2020 where he plays Jeremy Camp in the true story of the Christian music star.

I Still Believe

Image Source/IndieWire

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