Omar Rudberg poses in front of purple flowers shirtless in a black blazer on the red carpet.
Image Credit: Getty Images

Omar Rudberg may not have been a prince on Netflix‘s Young Royals, but the 25-year-old multi-hyphenate is certainly paving a road towards Hollywood royalty.

In the Swedish LGBTQ+ coming-of-age series, Rudberg portrayed Simon, a scholarship student at Hillerska boarding school who falls for Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) against all odds.

While the streaming hit –– which became the third “most-streamed non-English language series on Netflix worldwide” –– introduced the world at-large to Rudberg, the Venezuelan-born actor, singer, and beauty mogul was destined to become a star.

And he’s been working towards this moment for a long time!

But despite his success, Rudberg remains focused on one thing: being the kind of stereotype-defying celebrity he wanted to see as a child.

“I know that people like me need to be seen,” he told Zoo Magazine in 2023. “How I dress and how I use makeup even though I’m a guy. There’s definitely a place for someone like me to spread the word. I would never take that for granted.”

Get to know the budding star with these 20 fascinating facts.

1. He was born in Venezuela, but moved at a young age.

Omar Rudberg was born in Anaco, a small town of less than 200,000 people in Venezuela. However, at just 6-years-old, he and his mother uprooted their lives and moved to Sweden “for love” after his mom fell in love with and married a Swedish man named Thomas.

Nevertheless, he remains close to his roots, especially through Spanish-language tunes. As he told Zoo Magazine, “I’m from Latin America. I would like to represent Latin America.” (Fittingly, his debut fragrance featured hints of Brazilian pink peppercorn, but more on that later!)

2. As a kid, Rudberg found an escape through singing.

As Latin American immigrants in an exceedingly white country, Rudberg and his mother initially struggled in Sweden. Their move to a tiny village called Åsa –– which had a whopping 3,369 citizens in 2010 –– didn’t help. “At my school, I was the only one from another country,” he told High Snobiety. “The kids didn’t really understand me.”

That being said, being different strengthened Rudberg’s bond with his mom, who even showed up to his class to tell off the bullies. Eventually, they moved to a bigger city with a “more balanced” population, and Rudberg discovered his love for music. At just 11-years-old, he auditioned for Swedish talent show Talang with a spirited (and choreographed) performance of “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” But that was just the start.

3. By 14 years old, he was boyband famous. In Sweden.

Just three years after his talent show audition, Rudberg was recruited for a new boy band in 2013. The Fooo –– a play on Omar and bandmates Oscar, Felix, and Olly’s first names –– weathered a few changes over the years. In 2014, they changed their named to The Fooo Conspiracy, before going by FO&O after Olly left in 2016.

It was a formative experience, albeit one that somewhat stripped away individuality. As Rudberg told Zoo Magazine in 2023, “I did not experiment a lot because I was scared. I was 14. It all blew up from one day to another. I was in a band and we had an image and we had to dress kind of the same.”

4. As a teen, he opened up for Justin Bieber and One Direction.

FO&O boyband members Oscar Enestad, Omar Rudberg, and Felix Sandman hold up Olly Molander in front of a step and repeat at a fan event.
Image Credit: Getty Images

Rudberg and his bandmates’ first official live gig was epic, to say the least. After a viral clip of the relatively unknown crew dancing in Stockholm reached Justin Bieber’s management, they were recruited to open for the Biebs –– in front of 48,000 people –– in April 2013.

In the next four years, they opened for One Direction, scored Innovator of the Year at the Sweden’s Grammis, and racked up over 80 million streams. “We were the band of the bands here in Scandinavia,” Rudberg told Zoo Magazine. But by 2017, the crew was ready to call it quits and focus on solo pursuits.

5. Young Royals was his first-ever acting role.

Young Royals, which premiered its first season on Netflix in 2021, captivated the world. Without the confines of a boy band, Rudberg was able to release solo music and try his hand at acting, which he always felt he “had [in him] in some way.”

As Simon Erikkson, a regular student at a boarding school who sparks a romance with the Prince of Sweden, Rudberg was catapulted to superstardom. Although it marked his first-ever acting role, he saw the show’s potential from the start. “When I read it for the first time … I was like, ‘This is gonna be something, and I have to be a part of it,'” he told V Magazine. “And that’s kind of why I went, ‘If I don’t get this part, like, I’m gonna die.'”

7. His initial dynamic with co-star Edvin Ryding was a lot like the show.

Omar Rudberg, as Simon, sadly rests his head on Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding)'s shoulders as they sit on a bed in a scene from "Young Royals."
Image Credit: Netflix

Young Royals would be nothing without “Wilmon” –– fans’ affection nickname for the adorable, rocky, and dramatic relationship between Rudberg’s Simon and co-star Edvin Ryding’s Prince Wilhelm. Unsurprisingly, the two actors’ chemistry was as palpable onscreen as it was from their first audition. (Where Rudberg reportedly showed up five minutes late. LOL.)

“I was so scared,” he told High Snobiety. “I sat next to him and we just started. We met for the first time in character, basically, and it was just there. It was natural. It was perfect.” The TV newbie even held his own against Ryding, who’d been acting since he was a child. “I remember thinking, ‘Damn, [Edvin] is so good,'” Rudberg explained. “I started touching his hair and all of that. He laid on my lap. It was a moment, for sure.” Aww!

8. The hit Netflix series forced Rudberg to become more comfortable in his skin.

Omar Rudberg, as Simon, stands in a tux and looks off sadly at a violet-lit kingdom party in a scene from "Young Royals."
Image Credit: Netflix

The transition from glammed-up and super-stylized pop star to boy-next-door schoolboy on Young Royals was jarring for Rudberg, who credits the show for growing his confidence. Without “fancy clothes,” “styled hair,” and “no makeup,” he told Zoo Magazine he “felt so naked.”

As he breathed life into Simon, relying on his voice, facial expressions, and undeniable charisma, he learned “to accept [himself] for how [he] looked.” Even through the Hillerska choir pro’s more drab moments! “When I saw the first season, I was sometimes like, ‘Oh my God … why didn’t they put more makeup on me? Why didn’t they fix my hair,'” he recalled. “But that helped me so much. That fear has disappeared a lot.”

9. Omar did not like this pivotal Young Royals song at first.

As an established global singer, Rudberg is understandably “a perfectionist when it comes to singing,” as he told TV Guide. So, when he got the demo for Young Royals season 3’s “Willie’s Song” the night before filming, he “kind of hated” the track. “I was like Simon wouldn’t write this, Simon is 16-years-old, not 10-years-old,” he joked.

That being said, the heartfelt tune –– where Simon asks to be Willie’s “revolution” amidst homophobia towards their relationship –– eventually grew on Rudberg. “I kind of realized … [Simon’s] intentions are not to make a great mastermind hit song that no one’s ever heard before,” he explained. “It’s just raw. it’s not great and it wasn’t supposed to be great.”

10. He almost went to Eurovision with this solo bop.

In 2022, Rudberg competed to represent Sweden in Eurovision with bouncy and sparkling dance track “Moving Like That.” Unfortunately, he was eliminated during the first heat and placed fifth out of seven songs. The Swedes ended up going with Cornelia Jakobs’ “Hold Me Closer,” and came in fourth place.

Nevertheless, Omar’s Spanish and English bop cemented a place in fans’ hearts (and playlists).

11. Rudberg kind of wanted a fourth season of Young Royals.

Young Royals came to an epic (and tearjerking) conclusion when its third season premiered in March 2024. But for Rudberg, whose “entire existence” was changed by the series, the end was especially bittersweet. “Speaking for myself, maybe I was hyping [a potential] season four the most, because I hate letting go of stuff,” he told Zoo Magazine. “Some of the other actors had done other series and movies and they were used to moving on to the next thing.”

Although he admitted to being “a little like, ‘Wait, shouldn’t we just do season four?,'” Rudberg came to terms with closing the book on Willie and Simon’s heart-fluttering romance. “It’s a good ending,” he explained. “We wanted to keep it real and good and have a storyline with meaning and representation, something that is valid and will leave a mark for people.”

12. For Omar, visibility is more important than his sexuality.

Omar Rudberg, with slicked back dark hair and dark eyeliner, looks over his shoulder in a fashionable black turtleneck on the red carpet.
Image Credit: Getty Images

With his passion for fashion, stunning makeup lewks, and experimentation across music and TV, Rudberg feels “so lucky to be that one little person in this world who hopefully makes people feel like they’re represented and seen.”

Fittingly, his refusal to subscribe to style norms extends to his sexuality, which he purposefully tries not to label… despite speculation. “People live in their own fantasy,” he explained to High Snobiety. “[They] think that they know what I am and what my sexuality is. I’ve never said that I’m queer in my life, but people keep on saying that I’m queer. They see me in an outfit and they say, ‘He’s gay.’ They see me in makeup [and say,] ‘Yeah, he’s queer.'”

Rudberg looks up to artists like Rihanna and Frank Ocean who have largely navigated romantic lives outside of the public eye. And as a young man dealing with the scrutiny, it’s important to note he reserves the right to wake up and “feel completely different, change styles completely, and date somebody that you’d never think I would date.’

13. That being said, he is proud of the impact Young Royals made on the LGBTQ+ community.

Omar Rudberg, as Simon, smiles and cuddles against Edvin Ryding, as Prince Wilhelm, under a blanket in the sun in a scene from "Young Royals."
Image Credit: Netflix

Simon may want to be Willie’s revolution, but the queer representation inYoung Royals was revolutionary in and of itself. And it’s something the “Red Light” singer doesn’t take for granted. “I feel like the series has helped people, and I feel like we’ve helped make a change, even if it’s small, and the world is huge, I feel like it’s at least something,” he told V Magazine.

He expounded on what the show meant to him personally on Instagram, writing, “When I was a little kid I knew that something was different about me. I had feelings I always tried to push away from a very young age … [To] tell this beautiful story that little Omar only would dream of, is a blessing and I’ll remember this time of my life forever and ever.”

14. One of his biggest passions is his OMR Beauty brand.

In 2023, Rudberg launched his passion project: OMR Beauty, which “aims to challenge the beauty industry, break norms, and inspire people to embrace their true selves everyday.” The brand launched with his very first perfume, Intro, featuring top notes of grapefruit, spicy ginger, and Brazilian pink peppercorn. “You can’t represent everything in one bottle but that is what OMR Beauty is going to about, hopefully … I wanted it to be as open and neutral as it possibly could be,” he told Zoo Magazine.

15. His sense of stereotype-defying style started at an early age.

Rudberg’s love for dressing up goes all the way back to his mom’s closet as a kid, where he’d try on clothes, makeup and admire her purses. Still, finding the confidence to share that with the world took time.

“I’ve always been so curious and wanted to experiment, but I really couldn’t because I was scared of what people would say or of being judged,” he admitted to Zoo Magazine. “What my mum might say if she saw me with her lipstick on when she got home. … I always knew that she wouldn’t really care. It was more in myself and the world we grew up in.”

16. In fact, he took inspiration from these legendary pop stars.

In his journey to self-discovery, Rudberg turned to entertainers whose careers and styles he wanted to emulate. It was in musicians like Michael Jackson, who refused to fit in any single box, that he saw himself. “He didn’t really wear typically male clothes … He wore eye shadow and had glitter on and suits –– he looked like a star,” he told Zoo Magazine.

On top of that, he grew up impacted by “powerful women with great style,” like Lady Gaga. (“Oh my God, I could just die because I thought she was so cool,” he gushed.) That being said, his most recent inspiration seems to be Madonna, who changed his life with her Celebration Tour. As he explained to V Magazine, “I just think she’s so f*cking cool, and brave. I want to be like she was, and is, like not giving a damn about what people say or think.”

17. Rudberg struggled to hide his artistic side as Simon.

Omar had years of experience as a singer before Young Royals… which proved to be a challenge as he tried to portray an inexperienced choir boy. “That’s something me and [director Rojda Sekersöz] in the first season battled over,” he admitted to Daily Beast. “When I was supposed to sing, I went hard, did runs and wanted to show off. I love to show off! When I sing as Simon, I have to come down a lot of levels to sound like a 16-year-old kid playing the keyboard in his bedroom.”

18. He couldn’t stay away from his Young Royals co-star after the show wrapped.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long for a Young Royals reunion. Months after the finale, Rudberg and Ryding joined forces for OMR Beauty’s second-ever fragrance Duo. According to the site, the collaborative scent “delivers a sensory experience that fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment, with top notes of lemon, bergamot and juniper berry.”

Needless to say, fans went feral for the limited-edition perfume, which was only available for 48 hours.

19. Omar had a good reason for waiting to perform his first solo show.

In February 2024, Rudberg performed his first solo concert to a sold-out crowd in Stockholm. Although he started releasing music by himself in 2018, it was important for the “She Fell in Love in the Summer” singer to “trust the process” and wait until timing was right for a show. But on a more practical note, as he told Zoo Magazine, at this point in his career he finally has “enough music to actually do a show.”

20. And Rudberg already has big ideas for expanding his empire.

Omar Rudberg stands in a pink cutoff long sleeve shirt singing into a microphone at a 2024 concert.
Image Credit: Getty Images

What’s next for Omar? Just about everything! With the launch of OMR Beauty, he hopes to expand his unique style into other avenues of fashion. “I follow many artists and I have idols that have done perfume, their own shoe design or shades or clothing with other brands,” he told Zoo Magazine. “That’s another dream that I would like to do one day: doing my own collection for a brand.”

His music is also about to reach new audiences through a deal with US-based label Elektra Entertainment, which will publish his songs outside of the Nordics.

If his latest single “Red Light” is an indication, Rudberg is only getting started sharing his talents with the world.

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