Riverdale heartthrob "ashamed" of not embracing his Samoan side more

By Soli Wilson 11 March 2020, 5:00PM

Hollywood's Samoan-Kiwi heartthrob, KJ Apa, is one proud Samoan. So much so he has reportedly said he is "ashamed" of not embracing more of his Samoan side.

Popularly known as ‘Archie’ from the American drama series Riverdale, the 22-year-old has spoken of his Samoan roots, saying he identifies more as a Samoan than a New Zealander.

Mr. Apa opened up in an interview with men’s fashion online retail website MR Porter ahead of the March 11, 2020 release of his film “I Still Believe”, which is based on the life of Christian music star Jeremy Camp.

“I’m half Samoan, but nobody knows it because I’m white and I have red hair,” he says. “My dad is a chief in Samoa. I almost identify more as a Samoan than I do as a New Zealander, just because I grew up with so much Samoan family and the Samoan culture is really close to me."

“I feel ashamed of myself for not pursuing it more, for not spending more time with my Samoan side because I’m out there all the time.”

Mr Apa was born Keneti James Fitzgerald to Samoan father, Tupa’i Keneti Apa from the village of Moata’a and a European mother, Tessa Apa and has two older sisters, Timena and Aireta.

The last time he visited Samoa was last year when he came for a vacation to visit relatives, a cousin told the Samoa Observer.

While still in King’s College High School, Mr Apa's acting career took off almost immediately after pursuing it with no acting experience.

He landed a dark role of suicidal teen Kane Jenkins in New Zealand's longest-running primetime soap opera, Shortland Street, and the rest is history.

Mr. Apa has been nominated for various awards from his role in Riverdale, and won the Breakthrough Performance Award presented by America’s Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in 2017 as part of the annual Saturn Award.

By Soli Wilson 11 March 2020, 5:00PM
Samoa Observer

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