Omar Rudberg

As fans across the world tuned into the final season of Netflix‘s Young Royals –– holding their breath to see if the series’ star-crossed gay lovers made it work –– Omar Rudberg took a rare moment to reflect.

When he made his acting debut in the Swedish teen drama’s 2021 premiere, the 25-year-old never expected that portraying Simon Eriksson would make him an international name. But as the adorable schoolboy who falls in love with Willie, a classmate who happens to be the Prince of Sweden, he made an impact on queer representation in the world. And the role also impacted him.

In an Instagram post back in March, days after Young Royals‘ dramatic conclusion, Rudberg recalled his own coming out: “When I was a little kid I knew that something was different about me … I had feelings for a boy I always ignored because I was afraid. I felt like I was the only one in the whole world that felt this way.”

Hence, wrapping up the hit series –– a “beautiful story that little Omar only would dream of” –– felt especially momentous. “Together, we created history,” he wrote. “Let’s keep fighting for our rights to love. Our rights to exist. And let’s keep being f*cking loud about it.”

While the royal romance might be over, he is only getting started.

To be fair, Rudberg’s journey to stardom began more than a decade ago. At 6 years old, the Venezuela native and his family immigrated to Sweden, where he fell in love with performers like Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga.

By the time he turned 14, he was opening up for acts like Justin Bieber and One Direction as a member of Swedish boy band FO&O. Nevertheless, the quartet called it quits after two albums in 2017. “It all blew up from one day to another,” Rudberg told Zoo Magazine. “We had an image and we had to dress kind of the same. It was this pop, boyband style. It was never me. It was Omar and the band.”

While a handful of solo releases allowed him to start finding his voice, everything changed when he nabbed the Young Royals part. “I just had a feeling in my heart when I read the script for the first time,” he told V Magazine. “I was like, ‘This is gonna be something, and I have to be a part of it … If I don’t get this part, like, I’m gonna die.'”

Obviously, Rudberg’s instincts were right. But its global success –– which made it the third “most-streamed non-English language series on Netflix worldwide” –– was beyond his wildest dreams. The 2021 premiere was followed up by a second season in 2022, before its finale this past spring.

Furthermore, the show allowed him to capitalize on his musical talents. In the second season, his character Simon –– a star pupil in the school’s choir, of course –– writes an inspiring love song for Willie, simply titled “Simon’s Song.”

After the “perfect ending” to Young Royals, Rudberg is hopeful about the future. “It is very bittersweet,” he told Zoo Magazine. “That series changed my entire existence, not only from within but also around me … [It’s] really going to be a huge part of my life.’

Nevertheless, the show’s impact on the LGBTQ+ community seems to have awakened an activist spirit.

“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,” he told V Magazine. “We sing in the series that ‘We were a revolution,’ but [at] the end of the day, being gay, or wanting to love someone shouldn’t be a revolution.”

Moving forward, Rudberg plans to dive into music “for real,” signing with “a big American label” and continuing with his Swedish team. The silky voiced singer’s most recent single –– 2023’s “She Fell in Love in the Summer” –– is a moody, goosebumps-worthy preview of what’s to come.

On top of that, he launched his first perfume “Intro” through his new beauty brand OMR Beauty, a gender-neutral fragrance with hints of Brazilian pink peppercorn. It’s all at once as encompassing and label-less as Rudberg, and the population he stands for.

“Feeling represented means so much to people,” he told Zoo Magazine. “I know what it feels like wanting to be somebody, or wanting to be seen or heard. I’m just so lucky to be that one little person in this world who hopefully makes people feel like they’re represented and seen.”

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated