‘Riverdale’ Star KJ Apa Struggles To Do This as an Actor

KJ Apa is a talented actor best known for playing Archie Andrews on the CW series Riverdale. Outside of the teen drama, Apa has acted in several other movies and television series. Regardless of Apa’s undeniable talent, there is one thing the New Zealand native struggles with as an actor. 

KJ Apa
KJ Apa | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

KJ Apa started out as a musician

Before catching his big break in the 2017 movie A Dog’s Purpose and then Riverdale, Apa got his start on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. In addition to being a child actor, Apa was regarded as a talented musician in New Zealand. 

Apa, who went by his full name Keneti James when he was playing music, taught himself how to play guitar at a young age. By the time he was 13-years-old, Apa was winning talent competitions. When he was 14-years-old, Apa released his first guitar album, The Third Room.

As Apa states in the album’s description, the song “Hotel California” inspired him to pick up the guitar. Today, many of the roles Apa has taken on in his acting career highlight his musical talent. 

Most of KJ Apa’s roles require an American accent 

From A Dog’s Purpose to I Still Believe and his recurring role on Riverdale, Apa’s career has required him to perfect an American accent. Ironically, Apa says he hasn’t worked on perfecting his accent all that much. 

RELATED: ‘Riverdale’: Here’s Why the Series Will Jump Ahead 5 Years in Season 5

“I didn’t work on [my American accent],” Apa admitted to Glamour UK. “I worked on it by myself, but it was kind of just one of those things I was able to do. I’m lucky in that respect because it doesn’t mean I have to focus on it while I’m working. I can focus on the work.” 

KJ Apa struggles to say certain words in an American accent 

Growing up, Apa would watch TV shows from the United States. When Apa is acting, the American accent fans hear is based on what he heard as a kid. During an interview with The View, Apa talked about growing up in New Zealand and consuming American television.

“We’re constantly bombarded with American content over there when you grow up,” Apa explained. “All TV is American, [as well as] music, radio.” Watching American shows made it easy for the New Zealander to learn American inflections. 

Still, regardless of how many American parts he has played in the past, two words give Apa trouble. Apa struggles to say “girlfriend” and “burger” in an American accent.

“And I have to say them a lot on Riverdale,” Apa laughed.

“That’s because [burger] sounds like booger,” Joy Behar added.

KJ Apa thinks adopting a New Zealand accent is tougher than learning an American accent 

During his chat with The View, Apa pointed out how, for him, learning an American accent was easy, thanks to his childhood entertainment. In his opinion, adopting the accent of his homeland would be much harder for an American. 

 “I think it’s easier for us [New Zealanders] to learn [an American accent] than [Americans] to do a New Zealand accent,” he concluded.