KJ Apa has grown up while playing Archie Andrews on The CW’s Riverdale — and that has come with some major personal challenges.
Apa, 26, admitted he wasn’t always thrilled about how his character has been sexualized on screen, telling Vulture on Tuesday, August 15, “I’ve been through a lot of s—t with that. It can mess with your head a little bit.”
The actor recalled his evolving approach to filming shirtless scenes, adding, “At first, as a young child, which is what I was, I thought it was cool — you almost want the opportunity to be shirtless. I was like, ‘Yeah, let me take my shirt off. Boom!’ And then you gotta consistently stay in incredible shape. It takes a toll.”
Apa went on to say that he didn’t always know how to vocalize his concerns. “Even saying that I didn’t feel comfortable I had a hard time with,” he continued. “I thought people would be like, ‘Why not? Just f—king do it, bro.’”
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Riverdale, which is based on the iconic Archie Comics, premiered in 2017 and skyrocketed stars Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Vanessa Morgan and Charles Melton to fame.
During the same interview with the cast, Reinhart, 26, addressed how stripping down for various Riverdale scenes affected her own relationship with her body.
“It’s been trippy to grow up on this show and constantly see images of myself from when I was 19, 20, 21. My body does not look like that anymore. And suddenly this season we’re 17 again,” she said, referring to fictional characters traveling back in time in the final season. “I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and laughed at myself a couple of times. I don’t look like I’m 17, and I’m OK with that!”
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Reinhart continued: “But it’s this weird feeling, like you have to fit yourself back into this box that you presented to the world when we first stepped into these characters. Just being an actor in general, you feel like you’re holding yourself to a consistent standard of I must not age, and I must continue to look like I did.”
Petsch, 28, for her part, said she has dealt with ongoing negative thoughts after appearing in front of the camera. “The other day, I had to do a lingerie shoot and I felt so s—tty about my body I cried,” she shared. “I tried on six different outfits and eventually found something that made me feel remotely OK.”
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Meanwhile, Mendes, 29, clarified that creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa created a safe environment for the cast on set. “We need to say Roberto is always very understanding of us, and there’s nobody forcing us to do anything. It’s just the nature of being on a teen show,” she noted.
Riverdale airs on The CW Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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