May 5, 2017


Future Asian & Pacific History Month: Auli'i Cravalho's Onscreen & Offscreen Empowerment

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Fuse is celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Asian and Pacific History before our eyes. Voicing a Disney princess is a big honor, but also comes with a lot of baggage. While the likes of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White have recently gotten a bad rap for needing a prince to ultimately secure their happiness, the latest, Moana, brings a whole new, empowering perspective to the gang being voiced by an actress with an inspiring outlook.

Auli'i Cravalho is the 16-year-old Kohala, Hawaii native who was the last hopeful that Disney casting agents saw when auditioning potential talent to voice Moana's titular character. While Moana will likely be branded and promoted alongside the likes of Cinderella, Jasmine and Tiana, the rising star is quick to point out that "Moana is definitely a Disney heroine." She told Seventeen magazine, "She's wonderful, empowered and empowering."

A proud Polynesian herself, the island actress-singer has been very adamant and open about her background and the importance of Disney representing her culture in the movie. "I'm Hawaiian, and I can honestly say I'm proud of this film," she added. "I think the entire Polynesian culture is so well seen in this movie. Disney has been researching this film for five years. So it's done really well, and I'm proud of it."

Moana is certainly more of a heroine than princess and acts an important example for the millions of kids watching the flick. That significance is not lost on Auli'i, who's also shared that her favorite Disney princess growing up was Mulan, another strong, boundary-breaking badass. "I thought that even at a young age she totally broke that gender norm and she did it headstrong," she explained. "She also really respected, loved and carried her family wherever she went, which is something that I want to do. No matter where I go, I want to carry my family."

With the next steps of Cravalho's career already in motion—she was recently cast as the lead in the pilot for NBC's Drama High being produced by those behind Friday Night Lights and Hamilton—it's clear that not only does this teen have the talent to solidify herself in the future of Asian/Pacific American history, but she'll be doing it while proudly representing her family and culture.

We're celebrating Future Asian & Pacific History with videos, music, a new documentary and more, premiering all month long on Fuse! Tune in and come back to every day to see a new spotlight. Don't miss our Future Asian & Pacific History music block on Saturday morning, May 6, at 9/8c. Find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder.