Auli’i Cravalho brings to life Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest heroine in “Moana.” The 16-year-old native Hawaiian is the voice of the determined and fearless lead character in the animated comedy adventure, directed by animation greats John Musker and Ron Clements (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess and the Frog”). At the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony, she received tremendous response for her stunning performance of “How Far I’ll Go,” her signature song from “Moana.”
Filmmakers auditioned hundreds of talented young women throughout the Pacific Islands before finding the gifted Cravalho , who did not initially pursue the coveted role. The film’s Hawai’i-based casting director recalled her singing performance from a video submission for a fundraiser/talent showcase and asked Cravalho to come in and try out. Three auditions later, including her first trip to Burbank, Calif., she earned the title role, thanks to raw talent.
A junior at the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama on the island of O’ahu, Cravalho grew up singing and dancing for family. She takes part in her school’s Concert Glee Club but is a newcomer to the entertainment industry. When she is not in school or performing, Cravalho likes to spend time with friends and family—studying for her Advanced Placement and honors classes, hitting the beach and dancing hula.
Moving from voiceover to on-camera acting, she recently completed filming her series regular role on the new Jason Katims’ pilot for NBC.
Born in Kohala on the island of Hawai’i, Cravalho now resides on the island of O’ahu with her mother, Puanani.