A Maui girl has made a notable first impression on Disney casting agents.
In early December, 19-year-old Makamae Kailani Auwae submitted a video audition for the role of “Moana” in Disney’s upcoming CG-animated feature.
The story focuses on the adventures of a 14-year-old Polynesian girl who teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage.
On Tuesday, Jan. 6, Makamae got a call back.
“I’m excited, but I’m nervous, because it’s my first experience with an audition like this and it’s big,” said Auwae. “It’s Disney, you know? I mean, I’m excited, really excited. Even if I don’t get the part, at least I know I tried and it was a good experience for me personally and I can learn from it.”
Since graduating from Baldwin High School in 2013, Makamae moved to Los Angeles and has been traveling the world as a musical missionary with her band, “Christafari.” While in Haiti spreading the gospel, her cousin posted the audition information on Instagram and encouraged her to try out.
“I thought, I should just try out even if I don’t think I’ll get it,” said Auwae. “I posted the video at night. When I woke up the next morning, my phone was blowing up. People were going crazy about how many people watched my audition. I didn’t expect that at all.”
To date, her YouTube audition video (below) has garnered nearly 120,000 views in less than a month (even though it is unlisted).
“My friends and family are so supportive,” said Auwae. “People in Hawai‘i are so supportive. I posted it on Facebook, and it just got shared and reposted. I really wasn’t expecting that.”
Makamae says she is very excited but nervous about the next step–a live audition in front of casting agents. As she awaits her official audition date (probably in a couple of weeks), the professional singer is taking acting lessons to prepare.
When asked what it means to her as a Native Hawaiian to have a shot at becoming Disney’s next Polynesian princess, she answered with a giggle, “I think it would be awesome… Who doesn’t want to represent where they’re from… but I just hope that I do it well you know and I don’t disappoint them.”
Makamae has been surprised and humbled by the response she is getting from those that have viewed her video online.
“They were telling me how I inspire them, but that’s inspiring for me, you know, that they would be inspired by me,” Auwae said. “I really didn’t know how to take it because it wasn’t something that I expected. It was just like, ok, let’s try to do this.”
“I’m just humbled and honored that they would even consider me for this role.”
The singer-songwriter hopes to one day become an international gospel recording artist.
**Click here for our story > Disney to Release “Moana” Earlier Than Expected **