KJ Apa welcomes the unknown and discusses taking creative control

‘I don’t think I’m hitting the reset button as much as I’m moving on to the next chapter of my life. Who knows what’s next? I take things as they come. My creative interests seem to move and change all the time. In terms of acting, I’m looking for interesting characters in original stories with bold and decisive directors. I love a challenge and being involved in experiences that put me outside my comfort zone as well,’ on the phone says actor KJ Apa. 

It’s an idyllic yet chilly Sunday evening in London when I virtually meet our cover star, who’s joining our catch-up after a few email encounters from sunny Los Angeles. And even though it’s a Sunday morning on the other side of the pond, which is also a time of the day when I would highly likely be not in my greatest spirits, KJ is. He laughs wholeheartedly when I ask about the cyber interview process that became a reality for all of us once the pandemic struck. ‘I can’t tell you the exact number of those that I’ve done, but there’s been some. You know I’m not the person who also enjoys being on huge outings. I get stressed out in those situations, and when Riverdale started, it became more difficult to be in such an environment as I value my privacy,’ candidly opens the New Zealand-born and bred actor. 

It may come as a surprise for a very few, but KJ’s also proudly embracing his Samoan heritage, which also made a huge impact on his creative pursuits. ‘I have a lot of cousins, and for all of us, performing in any capacity was always encouraged. It was a way for us kids to practice what we were passionate about and then have this opportunity to showcase it in front of our families,’ he says.

Now practice does make perfect as KJ has embraced his inner artiste with acting, music, and arts. Having landed his first acting role aged 16 on a prime-time soap opera called Shortland Street in New Zealand, he’s beloved amongst his doting fans for his performances not only in the CW’s cult teen drama Riverdale but also for his acting-chops-to-admire in the adventure movie A Dog’s Purpose, the romantic comedy The Last Summer, drama I Still Believe and dystopian science fiction thriller Songbird.

During our conversation, KJ admits that his next project (no spoilers here — you’ll have to read the below, my dear readers) made him the happiest and most honest than he ever was. There’s a sensitivity and passion for his craft in his voice that makes you admire and genuinely route for him as he’s moving to a new chapter with creative control at the core of his ambition. ‘I feel that I won’t settle for anything less in the future as it’s the way I prefer to work,’ KJ voices with confidence. Confidence that’ll create performances to remember.

Read the full interview, only on The Laterals Magazine Issue 07.

Pre-order The Laterals Magazine Issue 07 featuring KJ Apa below!

Photographer Lenne Chai
Editor-at-Large Juliet Vo
Interview Migle Kriauciunaite
Co-styling Dennis Kim
Grooming Kelsey Petersen
Lighting Ara Bevacqua
Production Jillian Canter
Production assistant Lauren Kale

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