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It’s finally November and that means that Moan will be hitting theaters in just 22 days. The anticipation of waiting for this movie to come out has been killing me. It is I have been excited about all year from the cast to the music. It has been since August when I was in LA and got to interview the sweet voice of Moana Auli’i Cravalho and her mother, Puanani and now I finally get to share that interview. These 2 were just the cutest and one of the best interviews yet. We laughed and cried during the interview. Puanani is one proud momma of her daughter Auli’i and it showed. Being a mom myself brought tears to my eyes as we all love to be proud of our kids. The interview ended up in hugs and smiles!

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The Long Waited 3 Months to Secrecy

Auli’i and her mom had to sworn to secrecy for over 3 months not to tell anyone that she got the part of Moana. Can you imagine how hard that was to do. She wanted to tell her friends but could not do. Auli’i got the call that she had been chosen to play the voice of Moana over the previous summer during summer school. She took a 2 hour break and as an excuse to her friends, she told them she was going to a dentist’s appointment. Afterwards, she almost blew her cover when she returned drinking a strawberry smoothie, prompting her friends to ask, “Didn’t you just go to a dentist appointment?” Auli’i quickly recovered with, “Did I say dentist? I meant doctor.”

Audition and Experience

Auli’i didn’t initially audition for the part.  My friends and I actually put together an audition to be the entertainment for a nonprofit event on the island. And we put together like a bunch of a capella songs, and we had my friend beat boxed and was just supposed to be a really fun experience and we sent it out and we like tried out best, and we didn’t get in and it was like devastating for a second. But what happened was the casting director for Disney saw that audition because she was going through those auditions as well.

So through like an intricate web, it just kind of arose and when she emailed mom and I to ask if I wanted to audition, it was fantastic. Yes please, and the rest is kind of history.

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On Meeting her Other Cast Member Dwayne Johnson

When we asked her what it was like meeting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, her mom chimed in right away and slightly embarrassed Auli’i a bit.

“I did some Rock climbing for all of us. I’m just saying you know, I took one for the team, sweat and everything”

Auli’i mentioned that he was very nice and very professional. It was interesting, because I mean this whole process of recording without meeting someone was something, that I was not prepared to do.

I assumed that we would be in the same booth. So, he is very focused, which is interesting because he has so many different jobs just throughout the day that while we were on the content shoot, he was of course like talking to other people, and like trying to work out flights and all that stuff. So what kind of just brought to- brought to mind I suppose was just how dedicated he can be to one thing and then convert his attention to another. And he loves the character Maui so much. Because he’s Polynesian just like I am. So to see that he’s so committed to the character just made it almost overwhelming just the amount of like emotion that I know I put into—I know that he puts the same amount.

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Polynesian Culture

Auli’i Cravalho is proud of her Polynesian Culture and it shows when she talked about it during the interview. That is why she is so perfect for this part.

Auli’i: Moana is definitely a Disney character, which is something that I totally love, because she’s totally bad butt she’s really awesome. So she really, I think, embodies it because I, as someone who has grown up, been born and raised on the island of Hawaii so the Big Island, I love my culture. I go to an all Hawaiian school where you have to be Hawaiian to be admitted. And I speak the language as well.

And 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 wayfinding 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. So the fact that 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, it’s so important.

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Support from Friends and Family

Since accepting the role her family and friends have been really support and great to her. She mentioned that she got banana bread the first like week or so when everyone found out. Aside from that, it’s been pretty normal. My friends are normal, they’re like you were in a princess dress. I mean they’re still fan girl, they’re still fan girl over you like on the internet, but like no, you still can take your own tray, thank you very much. and it’s fine.

And her mom says it’s all about keeping it real, you know, like I think it’s about raising a well-balanced person.

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Be sure to see Moana in theaters everywhere on November 23!

About the Movie

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 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 once-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. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”) and produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.

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