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KJ Apa Facts

KJ Apa Isn't His Real Name and 12 Other Facts About the Riverdale Star

If the first thing that pops into your head when you think of KJ Apa is "Riverdale hottie," then you'd be right. But the actor is so much more than just Archie Andrews. While he's quickly stolen the hearts of millions with his starring role on the hit CW show, there are a lot of other interesting facts about the star you probably didn't know. Like, how he's not from America. Or that despite his smoldering good looks, he's only 19 years old! Seriously, those chiseled abs could have fooled us. Get to know KJ a little better and prepare to fall even more in love.

  1. His real name isn't KJ. Well, sort of. His full name is Keneti James Fitzgerald, but everyone calls him KJ for short.
  2. He's from New Zealand. He may play an all-American type of guy on Riverdale, but KJ was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand.
  3. He's a Gemini. The actor was born on June 16, 1997. So young.
  4. He's the youngest of three. He has two older sisters, Arieta and Timēna.
  5. He's half Samoan. Aside from being a Kiwi actor, he's also half Samoan. His father Keneti, who he's named after, is a Matai (chief) of his village in Samoa.

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  1. He got his start on a soap opera. Before scoring the role of Archie Andrews, KJ played heartthrob Kane Jenkins on the New Zealand soap opera, Shortland Street. His character even shared a scene with Ed Sheeran when he appeared on the show in 2014.
  2. He scored the part of Archie at the last minute. After a six-month-long casting process, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa found KJ three days before the show was supposed to test Archies in front of the studio. Even though KJ wasn't fully prepared for his first audition with casting director David Rapaport, Aguirre-Sacasa was blown away the second time he came in and read for the writers and producers. "He was immediately Archie Andrews," he said.
  3. He's not a natural red head. The actor, whose natural hair color is a dark brown, admitted that it took 10 hours in the salon to get that perfect shade of orange.
  4. His family has matching tattoos. Following the death of his paternal grandfather, KJ got a tribal tattoo on his right shoulder with his mom and sister. "My dad's father was a high chief . . . and the family agreed my dad would take over his chief title: Tupa'i," he explained. "We decided to get a tattoo to commemorate that." The ink has specific designs unique to their village, Moata'a, and symbols representing their family.

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  1. He played a young Dennis Quaid. Before the release of Riverdale, KJ filmed the comedy-drama A Dog's Purpose, based on the book of the same name. Not only was it his first movie, but he also played the teenage version of Dennis's character.
  2. He was almost in the Power Rangers reboot. KJ tested for Jason (the Red Ranger), but ultimately lost out to Australian actor Dacre Montgomery. As fate would have it, he actually met Ross Butler, who played his onscreen nemesis Reggie in the first season of Riverdale, during the audition process.
  3. He has a musical side. Archie isn't the only one who is musically gifted. Aside from singing, KJ also plays the guitar and piano. You can catch his debut album, The Third Room, on Spotify.
  4. He ships Bughead. Even though he admitted he would love to see Betty and Archie together on the show, he seems to be behind the Betty and Jughead fandom as well. Back in March, fans went wild when he said that he ships Bughead on Twitter.
Image Source: Getty / David Livingston
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