Ac­tress- singer Auli’i Cravalho finds her foot­ing in the biz.

Variety - - Contents -

AULI’I CRAVALHO’S first two pro­fes­sional cred­its — the Dis­ney an­i­mated fea­ture “Moana” and NBC’S high school the­ater drama “Rise” — have al­lowed her to show­case her love of per­form­ing as a singer, as well as as an ac­tor. But while “Moana” al­lowed her to tap into emo­tions solely in her voice, “Rise” re­quired her to use her body, too, for a fuller per­for­mance. “I ex­pe­ri­enced a lot of firsts on the show,” she says. “The first time see­ing my face on screen, the first time play­ing a char­ac­ter com­ing into her own, the first time hav­ing a love in­ter­est and creating a vul­ner­a­bil­ity within my­self to be able to fall in love with an in­di­vid­ual. It was very new and scary.” Soon she'll reprise her role as Moana in Dis­ney’s first film dubbed in Hawai­ian.

When did you first say to your­self and your fam­ily that you wanted to pur­sue a ca­reer in en­ter­tain­ment?

I don’t be­lieve I ever said that, even at a young age. I al­ways loved singing and danc­ing and act­ing, and I think I was al­ways a flam­boy­ant and vo­cal per­son. But I also re­al­ized my own cir­cum­stance of grow­ing up on a small is­land, in a small town and know­ing that as much as I would love to do this, the chances are so slim. I never had the ex­pe­ri­ence of say­ing this is what I want to do for the rest of my life be­cause I, hon­est to God, didn’t think it was a pos­si­bil­ity.

What was the turn­ing point that made you go for it?

I was a fresh­man in high school when my friend and I put to­gether an au­di­tion for a school project, and a cast­ing di­rec­tor for Dis­ney ac­tu­ally saw that and asked if I wanted to au­di­tion for “Moana.”

What has been the big­gest ad­just­ment now that you’re a pro­fes­sional work­ing ac­tor?

I think it’s been in­ter­est­ing be­ing in that in-be­tween of feel­ing like you’re kind of an adult, maybe not be­ing able to vote, but still hav­ing very pas­sion­ate thoughts about how you want to change the world, and hav­ing a ca­reer that praises you and kind of puts you on a pedestal. My mom is keep­ing me nor­mal and keep­ing me grounded, and I ap­pre­ci­ate that. It’s find­ing that fine line and that bal­ance be­tween who­ever Auli’i is and who­ever Auli’i wants to be.

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