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