Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Moana's Auli'i Cravalho Says She And Her Character Are One And The Same

Even among Disney's extensive canon of animated classics, few movies are as inspirational as "Moana." A movie about a headstrong young woman who does what she thinks is right in spite of her father's strict disapproval, the 2016 film also scores points for not having a love story and for allowing the heroine to fail before she succeeds, and that's saying nothing of the incredible soundtrack.

If you think that "Moana" only vibes with fans, however, you'd be wrong. If anything, Auliʻi Cravalho, who voices the adventurous protagonist, identifies with the iconic Disney heroine even more than your average viewer, and she says that this is because of all of the similarities between them. "I was basically her, and she was basically me," she told The Cut.

The actor and singer went on to explain how much she loved being a part of the film. "There will be very few projects that mean that much," she said. All the same, the performer, who got her start at 14 with "Moana," says that she didn't expect to become an actor because of where she lived. "I did not expect to get into film because I didn't think that anyone would come searching in Hawaii," Cravalho explained.

Cravalho says that the project means a lot to her

Still, that didn't stop the "Moana" star from becoming an overnight sensation. "How Far I'll Go," one of her songs from the film, was a smash hit that cracked the Billboard Top 100, and she has gone on to star in several other film and TV projects following her Disney debut.

However, it isn't her success that ties Auli'i Cravalho to her "Moana" character so much as their shared heritage. "I knew the stories of Maui, and I was raised with Hawaiian and Polynesian values," the actor said. "I understood the importance that she would have, not only culturally but also generationally."

The singer also went on to explain how much it means to her that "Moana" is a distinctly Hawaiian story. "All of my family's there," Cravalho said. "My mom is, like, the seventh child of the seventh child, and basically, everyone stayed. I saw my legacy staying in the Hawaiian Islands, which is beautiful, but I couldn't have expected that I would be here," the performer concluded.

While it hasn't been announced who will be taking on her role in the upcoming live-action "Moana" remake, they will definitely be massive shoes to fill for whoever takes on the job. Either way, fans looking for more of the performer can likely look forward to Cravalho reprising her role in an upcoming sequel series on Disney+.