Remember the Pete’s Dragon Event trip I took a few months ago? I know, I know, I haven’t talked about that trip in a while. Now I’m back because on that trip I had the honor of interviewing two of the nicest people on the planet. Today, I’m bringing you my exclusive interview with the star of Moana, Auli‘i Cravalho. Since Auli’i is only 16 her mother, Puanai was there as well so we welcomed her to the interview table.
Disclosure: I was invited on a press trip for Disney Entertainment. My travel and accommodations were provided by Disney. All opinions are my own unless noted otherwise. No further compensation was received.
From the video we see that Auli’i instantly called her mom (I mean, what 14-year-old wouldn’t?) but who was the next person she told? NO ONE!
That (receiving the roll) was happening during summer school, so I had taken a break like a two-hour break I [told my friends I] was going to like a dentist appointment. We went back to school and I remember I had a strawberry smoothie before that and so they went, “Didn’t” you go to a dentist appointment?”, and I was like, “did I say dentist I meant doctor.” We were sworn to secrecy…a little over three months.” – Auli‘i Cravalho on holding the secret of being a Disney princess.
Auli’i’s mom, Puanai added more details into how hard it was to keep such an amazing secret in, “she’d come home at night and we’d be hugging and she’s like, “Mommy, I’m Moana.” I’m like, “yeah, you sure are sweetie, you know, just be kind, there no one else to tell.”
If you can believe it, Auli’i never actually worked with her costar in the recording booth and in fact, she only just met him for the first time the day before the Pete’s Dragon World Premiere Red Carpet. She recalls how interesting it was to finally put a face to the voices she had heard over the past couple of years of recording.
For instance, the person who plays Gramma Tala, Rachel House, that isn’t her actual voice. And she totally commits to the character but otherwise she's just a really sweet kind woman who doesn’t sound like Gramma Tala but is just still embodies the character. – Auli‘i Cravalho on meeting her costars for the first time
Moana is Disney’s first Polynesian princess, who is determined to prove she’s a master Wayfinder. She teams up with demi-god, Maui (voiced by Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson). Auli‘i is also Polynesian so I was curious how she felt about having her culture embodied into a Disney Princess.
To have such a beautiful young teen who shows that it’s okay to go on a journey to find yourself, it’s wonderful, because that message is universal to everyone. And also because way finding isn’t just something they made up for animation purposes. It was truly almost lost in the Polynesian culture, which is something that not a lot of people know. It’s being shined in such a positive light and the fact that there is now a resurgence of navigation and wayfinding in real day-to-day life, it’s so important. Auli‘i Cravalho on Moana being Polynesian.
Or put simply – “I love her because she’s totally a bad butt”. I mean, seriously, how cute is Auli’i?!
While this is Auli‘i Cravalho first film, I definitely don’t want it to be her last. The world needs to know Auli’i. This young woman has been raised right. She’s so humble and loving and cares about people. You can see it in the way she acts and speaks. I’m so lucky I got the opportunity to meet this bright star.
ABOUT: Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
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