Maui native to attend live audition for Disney’s ‘Moana’

Courtesy of Makamae Kailani Auwae


A singer from Maui is getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

Last December, 19-year-old Makamae Kailani Auwae of Lahaina made an audition video for the upcoming Disney animated film “Moana,” which will feature a Polynesian princess.

Last Tuesday, the singer got a callback via e-mail from Disney producers, saying they want her to attend a live audition in Los Angeles for the lead role.

“Yeah, so I mean it was exciting ’cause I’ve been waiting for the callback for so long. For over a month, I think. It was really cool that they considered me for the role,” said Auwae.

In L.A., she will perform two scenes from the film’s script in front of the producers.

Courtesy of Makamae Kailani Auwae
Courtesy of Makamae Kailani Auwae

“They found out I’m actually staying in California for the next couple of months, so they wanted me to do a live audition instead, which made me more nervous,” said Auwae.

She said that singing is her talent, so acting will be a challenge. She plans to hire a voice-acting coach before the audition so she can feel more comfortable in the animated role.

To prepare, the singer said she brought out the old Disney films she grew up with for inspiration.

“I have been watching a lot of Disney princess movies like ‘Mulan’ and ‘Pocahontas’ lately, just to get a feel what they are looking for really,” said the Maui native.

But before this opportunity came, Auwae has been collecting more musical experience around the world as part of a Maui missionary band Christafari. She has been with the worship group since graduating from Baldwin High School in 2013.

The singer said she had recently left that band to pursue a solo music career. She now resides in Los Angeles.

Auwae credits her musical abilities to her family, especially her mother, who was in a band as well.

“I actually grew up singing in church and my mom was in a local band called Slydog. She was one of the backup singers, so I kind of grew up just being around that — you know, going to rehearsal, concerts and stuff.”

Disney’s “Moana” will be based on the adventures of a 14-year-old Polynesian girl who pairs up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to cross the open sea on an action-packed adventure.

“For me, it’s cool, because they do a lot of other ethnicities with Disney princesses, and it’s really cool they finally have a Polynesian princess,” said Auwae. “I think that it would be really cool to represent where I’m from.”

Watch Auwae’s audition video below:

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