Moana Interview with Auli’i Cravalho # MOANA

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I attended the #PetesDragonEvent courtesy of Disney and all of my expenses were covered. However, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own! 

Moana Interview with Auli’i Cravalho # MOANA

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

Back in August, I attened the Pete’s Dragon Event in Los Angeles. I had such an incredible time and had the opportunity to engage with an amazing group of bloggers while interviewing some equally amazing movie stars. One of my favorite interviews was the group interview with Auli’i Cravalho and her mother Puanani Cravalho.

Auli’i Cravalho is the voice of Disney’s newest princess, Moana. Moana is coming to theaters, everywhere, on November 23rd.  Moana is Auli’i Cravalho’s first time voicing a Disney character and is a new comer to the Hollywood scene. The Pete’s Dragon “Green” Carpet premiere was her first time attending a Red Carpet movie premiere and gave her a taste of what it will be like during the premiere of Moana. She shared with us how exciting it was to see how everything worked. She was surprised that so many people knew who she was and were calling out her name as she walked the red carpet. She is a very humble young lady and you could feel a genuine sense of astonishment that people knew who she was.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 08:  Actress Auli’i Cravalho arrives at the world premiere of Disney's "PETE'S DRAGON" at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood on August 8, 2016. The new film, which stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley and Karl Urban and is written and directed by David Lowery, has been drawing rave reviews from both audiences and critics. PETE'S DRAGON opens nationwide August 12, 2016.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney ) *** Local Caption *** Auli’i Cravalho

HOLLYWOOD, CA – AUGUST 08: Actress Auli’i Cravalho arrives at the world premiere of Disney’s “PETE’S DRAGON” at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood on August 8, 2016.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney )

One of the things that I noticed right away during the interview was the strong mother/daughter bond between Auli’i and Puanani Cravalho. For the first 3 months after she was cast as the voice of Moana, Auli’i and Puanani could not tell anyone. During that time, Auli’i would come home every evening and tell her mom that she couldn’t believe she was Moana. It was a hard secret to keep for both of them and I can’t blame them. Being cast as a Disney princess is an amazing accomplishment and I can only imagine how much Puanani wanted to share how proud she was of her daughter. When Auli’i finally was able to tell her friends, they were excited for her but haven’t changed the way they treat her in person.

Auli’i Cravalho  – “I mean they still fan girl over me on the internet but they they are like ‘you still can take your own tray, thank you very much.'”

Not much has changed at home either and she is still required to do chores and keep up her schoolwork. She may be a princess on screen but that doesn’t mean she gets to get away with anything.

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

It was interesting to learn that most of the recording work was done solo and it wasn’t until late July/early August that she even met the other voices behind the characters in MOANA. She said it was really cool to finally meet Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (voice of Maui), Rachel House (voice of Gramma Tala), and Temeura Morrison (voice of Tui – Moana’s father.) Since she had done most of her recording while only hearing the other voices it was interesting to see the faces and meet the people behind them. Matching a person’s face and personality to their voice provides for a unique experience.

For instance, the actress who plays Gramma Tala, Rachel House.  This isn’t her actual voice. (When referring to Gramma Tala’s voice.)  She totally like commits to the character but otherwise she’s just a really sweet kind woman who doesn’t sound like Gramma Tala.She still embodies the character which was interesting.  Temuera Morrison has an amazing accent.  It was interesting to meet him because he’s an actual father.  I got to meet his daughter as well and it was really nice to see just him as a dad.  And I got to envision him more so as a dad.”

We couldn’t resist the opportunity to find out what she thought about “The Rock.” Puanani had her own thoughts to share and I know that we all would have gladly switched places with her in order to meet “The Rock.” Auli’i had only good things to say about him and his dedication to his part as Maui.

“So he was very nice and very professional. It was really interesting because 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.  He is very focused, which is interesting because he has so many different jobs. Throughout the day that  we were on the content shoot, he was of course  talking to other people, and  trying to work out flights and all that stuff.  So that kind of just brought to mind  just how dedicated he can be to one thing and then convert his attention to another. Also he loves the character Maui so much. He is Polynesian just like I am.  So to see that he’s so committed to the character just made it almost overwhelming. The amount of like emotion that I know I put into- I know that he puts the same amount. “

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

Moana is based around the history and mythology of the Polynesian islands. They even created the “Oceanic Story Trust” to help insure respect was shown for the culture in the film. The “Oceanic Story Trust” is made up of anthropologists, archeologists, fishermen, liguists, tatto masters, dancers and elders from the Pacific Islands.    Discover more about some of the Behind the Scenes secrets of Moana and the new Disney Short, Inner Workings. 

Auli’i shared with us how she loves that Moana is a “kick-butt” princess but also that her story is holds a personal aspect for her. Auli’i was born and raised on the island of Hawaii and goes to an all Hawaiin school. Family is an important part of the Polynesian culture and means so much to Auli’i and Puanani. The fact that they have incorporated this into MOANA makes it even more special for her. The feeling of community closeness and having a bond with friends and family alike is so strong in the Polynesian culture that those visiting can feel it. She admitted that it felt strange being in LA and not having that same feeling.

“I love my family and the fact that Moana kind of shares that- because she loves her people.”

“Here (in LA/the Mainland) Everyone is for themselves here, which is great, you know.  If you succeed, good for you.  For everyone that I’ve ever met in Hawaii-, It’s like you made it and you made it for us.  I just feel so proud of that. “

She also shared her thoughts on the film’s theme and how it reflects values that are very personal to her.

“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.  Also because 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 so important.”

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

Photo Credit: Jana Seitzer /

Auli’i Cravalho is such an amazing young lady and is someone that I would be honored to have my daughter look up to. Throughout the entire interview you could feel the genuine love she has for her role as Moana. You could also feel the respect and love she shares with Puanani. These two women are amazing and it was such an honor to be able to spend time with them. Being a mother and a daughter who has been blessed with great relationships with her mother and daughter, I love when I meet women who share the same. Before she left the interview, Auli’i took time to take photographs with us and they spent some time “off the record” talking with us.

Group Photo from Moana Interview

Moana Interview Group Photo

Make sure that you make plans to see MOANA with your friends and family on November 23rd.

Check out these FREE Printable MOANA Coloring & Activity Sheets.


To keep up with all the latest news surrounding MOANA make sure to follow along on Social Media.

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  1. says

    This is such a great interview! The movie looks so awesome. Me and my kids cannot wait to go and see it. It’s been a while since I’ve truly looked forward to an animated film. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. says

    How amazingly awesome is this?!? Moana has been on our Must See List since the very first time I heard about it. We lived in Hawaii for nearly 3 years and my youngest Kiddies were born there so any time we see a movie that reminds us of our Aloha home we are excited!

  3. says

    I always wonder how bloggers get the opportunity to go to these events…lucky you! When went to see this movie and my kids loved it! I think we would all love this one too!

  4. says

    She sounds lovely. We are very excited for this new release. My daughter already loves Moana as a new princess!

  5. Tami Qualls says

    I enjoyed hearing her opinion of the Rock. I know most celebrities are often found out to be jerks. He sounds professional and delightful to be around. So does this young new star.

  6. says

    What a fantastic event and opportunity. I know that Moana is on our MUST WATCH list when it comes out. They did an excellent job casting and she looks like a great actress!

  7. says

    What a great opportunity to get to sit down and interview a Disney Princess! I love that she values her family. I’m anxious to watch Pete’s Dragon with my family over our Thanksgiving Break!

  8. says

    I am so excited about this movie. I love the concept. It is so much fun to hear the behind stories of the movies. It’s crazy that most of the filming is done solo. You would never know watching the movie.