I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Auli’i Cravalho the voice behind Moana and her mom Puanani Cravalho. Auli’i got the job of Moana at the ripe old age of 14. She wasn’t even planning on trying out for the role. A Disney casting director saw another video she sent in for an event fundraiser (and she wasn’t selected to be in on that one) and asked her if she was planning on auditioning. Auli’l says, ” I still can’t believe I got it.” She was so excited to get the call telling her she was Moana! She’s now 16 and anxiously awaiting the release of this movie! She loves that it is sharing some of her culture with the world. She’s from Hawaii and goes to high school school, one that you have to be born in Hawaii to go to, but she’s like a normal teen. She loves her mom and smoothies! She was sworn to secrecy when she found out she got the role and only shared that information with her mother. That was a hard thing for her to do for sure! To keep that secret for months on end…can you imagine?
She worked alone in a booth for the role. She didn’t get to meet the other voice actors until August of this year as the promotions for Moana started ramping up! She was so excited to meet the Rock (almost as excited as her mom!).
Auli’i said: Moana is definitely a Disney character which is something that I totally love, because she’s totally bad butt! But at the same time it’s so lovely to have a teenager trying to find herself and her way. Which is what Moana is about.
We asked about how her friends reacted when she was able to tell them.
Auli’i said: They were like “You’re a princess in a dress.” Then they were like you’re still going to carry your own tray at lunch, girl! Then my Mom was like, ” you’re still doing chores!”
Did you plan on being an actress when you grew up?
Aui’i: I think I was always putting on fashion shows and being in the spotlight since I was very little. I credit my mom with letting me cry it out for my great lungs. (We all laughed at this). I also want to study science (cellular molecular biology) or a law career. So I’m prepared either way.
What were your thoughts on the script?
Auli’i: When I first read it I was surprised at some of the words they used. I was like that’s a Samoan word not a Hawaiaan one. But as I kept reading I understood that they did their research. Hawaii is one of the newer islands and they pulled from a language that is older than Hawaii. I was surprised at how much research they did.
Is she and her mom not the cutest? They were so lovely to interview too. Just good people!
What was your mom’s thoughts on you getting this job?
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Mom answers: Well Auli’i is very focused on her academics. We were both kind of like if she can fit it into her schedule then fine.
Paunini said: We kind of looked at it as she can take a break off of the honors and the A-P classes. This is what she did for her that fed her soul. We were in the hands of Disney. They’ve taken such good care of us. I’m doing my mommy part and I’m staying close with her, because I need to be on this journey with her but she’s happy. She’s thriving. We’re in good hands.
Who’s your favorite Disney Princess?
Auli’i: I loved Mulan. For a lot of the same reasons, she was just a kick butt girl who loved her family, her culture and yet broke gender roles and went to war!
I so enjoyed meeting and interviewing both Auli’i and her mom Puanani Cravalho. She’s got a great relationship with her mom and they’re story is the sweetest. I hope we see big things from them both. Thank you two for an amazing interview. Puanani…let’s go rock climbing!