I cannot begin to tell you the love that was felt by all in the room when fellow bloggers and I had the opportunity to interview the star of Moana – Auli’i Cravalho and her mother, Puanani Cravalho while out in LA for the Pete’s Dragon Event. Right away, we all felt the connection between mother and daughter as well as laughter and love from all of us.
On Keeping a Secret
It was bittersweet to hear Auli’i share the story of how she found out she was going to be Moana. Once she shared with her mother, she was sworn to secrecy for 3 months. What a tremendous secret to keep!
Her mom, Puanani Cravalho, shared “So she’d come home at night and- and we’d be, you know, hugging and she’s like mommy, I’m Moana. I’m like yeah you sure are sweetie, you know, just be kind, there’s no one else to tell, she says oh I’m going to cry.”
What a special bond between mother and daughter to share and keep secret.
On Meeting The Rock – Dwayne Johnson
In Moana, the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) guides Moana in her quest to become a master wayfinder.
Auli’i shared her experience with him:
“.. I assumed that we would be in the same booth. “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. 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.”
On Being a Disney Princess
Moana is a Disney princess from the Polynesian culture. Much research was done to preserve the past and include historical fact into the story.
Auli’i and her mother are very proud of their heritage and share how this Disney princess represents their culture.
“Moana is definitely a Disney character which is something that I totally love, because she’s totally a bad butt she’s really awesome. So she, 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.”
“…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. 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 way finding in real day-to-day life, it’s, it’s so important.”
“As a Polynesian, we believe that, that everything is connected. So from Malta to Makai, from the ocean to the sea, we respect that. Because, uh, that’s- we use everything. Everything. So if we take care of the land or we take care of the ocean, then it’ll take care of us. And the script really- really held that in there and I remember all I could think of is whoever gets this is going to do it such great justice. They have no choice because it’s an awesome script.”
On Being Auli’i’s Mom
Auli’i Cravalho (and her mom Puanani Cravalho) photos (Photo credit: Jana Seitzer / MerlotMommy.com)
At this point in the interview, Auli’i’s mom shared how she keeps life normal for her.
“Keeping it real, you know, like I think it’s about raising a, a well balanced person.” I think this is exactly what every mom wants. We all want our children to be happy and there are times where we, ourselves, are unsure of what to do.
“This opportunity was just so amazing and it truly is. But I, I just I don’t- I, now I, I, we are outside of, of what my knowledge and understanding is. Uh, so I’m, I’m thrilled and I’m honored and I think what, and- and- and I’m happy for her and what, what makes me happy is that I, I’m watching her and like I know my child, I know every movement, the hair, the twist, the brow and everything and- and- and what it says to me is that she truly is enjoying this. And that makes it okay. To be in the hands of, of Disney, it’s just- we’re in good hands. And so I’m doing my mommy part and I’m staying close with her, because I need to be on this journey with her But and she’s happy and she’s thriving, and we’re in good hands. So this canoe is sailing and we’re sailing well.”
Auli’i’s Favorite Disney Movie
As one who is also playing a strong character, it was interesting to see that Mulan was her favorite Disney movie.
“Mulan is my favorite. ….. she’s awesome and I think what really resonated was like she always wants to honor her family and she totally broke the gender norm of like going to war and doing what, what she felt was necessary. So that totally resonated with me.”
At the end of our interview, we all took pictures together. Auli’i was so welcoming and it was a pleasure to mee both she and her mom. Our final words were just so bittersweet. I think many of us did not her a dry eye.
One of the bloggers said, “You’re amazing.”
Auli’i responded, “I have an amazing mom. Right?”
I’m sure we would all agree that they were both amazing!
Follow along with the latest Moana information:
Like MOANA on Facebook
Follow MOANA on Twitter
Visit the official MOANA website here
MOANA arrives in theatres everywhere on November 23rd!
Will you be going to see it?
I was invited by Disney on an all expense paid trip to LA to be a part of the #PetesDragonEvent. All thoughts and opinions are my own.