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9 Things We Learned When We Talked to Auli’i Cravalho About the Oscars, Moana, and More

Here at Oh My Disney, we are completely obsessed with Moana. We sing the songs to each other on a daily basis, and we all agree on one thing: Auli’i Cravalho, voice of Moana, is a gem of a human being. We’ve had the opportunity to chat with Auli’i throughout the course of her Moana journey, from the very first time she found out she would be Moana, to the premiere last year, and finally to the Academy Awards this week, and we could not be more impressed by her! We got to talk to Auli’i post-Oscars and ask her about her amazing performance with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the road leading up to the Oscars, and what’s next for her. It’s safe to say we totally want to be BFF with Auli’i. Here’s all of the things we learned:

  1. What rehearsals for the Oscars were like.

    We could tell that Auli’i had an amazing Oscars experience from the moment we asked her about it. She told us: “for the weeks leading up to the Oscars I was digesting butterflies like non-stop!” Even through her nerves, she still managed to take it all in. Auli’i said that “it was kind of stressful, but at the same time it was just so exciting. I saw Justin Timberlake in the wings, and I passed John Legend in the hallway. I mean, just these amazing people were around me the entire week of rehearsals and I was so blessed just to be able to even see them like that and to be performing with Lin-Manuel as well. I mean, it was just so incredible.” We literally can’t imagine how we would hold it together if we were in the same room as Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Lin-Manuel, and Auli’i. We’d be crying tears of joy, obvi.

  2. The music that helps Auli’i get focused.

    We always like to know what music our favorite performers use to get ready for a live performance, and Auli’i’s answer was so cool! She told us: “I actually listen to a lot of classical music. I’m one of those that like gets pumped up on listening to piano.” We can totally see Auli’i rocking out to classical music and we’ll be doing the same from now on.

  3. What it was like singing in front of Meryl Streep.

    Auli’i said that she really wanted to meet Meryl Streep. She didn’t end up meeting her, but Meryl was right there in the front row during her performance.  She told us: “While I was singing ‘How Far I’ll Go’… I looked down, and I saw Meryl Streep right in front of me and my heart almost leapt out of my chest and into her lap. It didn’t happen, but I was so, just happy to see her and she was smiling at me! And she was clapping for me! It was just like, {sings this as a note} ‘Ahhhh!’ My dreams were made.” Our dreams were made just hearing that story about Meryl and Auli’i!

  4. All the emotions Auli’i felt during her Oscars performance.

    We once graphed the emotions we felt while watching Moana, so naturally we asked Auli’i to take us through her emotions as she sang “How Far I’ll Go” on the biggest night of the year for movies. When we asked her what emotions she felt, she told us: “A lot of emotions. There was a lot of adrenaline and a lot of excitement … it kind of felt like I was just walking in a dream … the dress was fitting perfectly it seemed, suddenly the air seemed clearer and the lights seemed brighter, and everything just seemed to work into place. And then I got hit in the head with a sail and I realized wow this really is real life. It was a great kind of wake up call.”

    Yes, it’s true, at one point in the performance a dancer behind Auli’i accidentally hit her with a sail (the blue fabric you see in the photo above), but Auli’i kept going and sang every note perfectly. We asked her if she knew in the moment that it happened and she replied cheerfully, “Yes. No, there was no getting around that, I was really very sure that I had gotten hit in the head. And funny story, it had actually happened the day before in our dress rehearsal.” Auli’i recapped the incident for us in a humorous way, and added, “Like I said, it was kind of just a little bop on the head to remind me that, yes, this is real, and I kind of like it. I’m fondly rubbing the back of my head, like, every few minutes and I let anyone, like, rub the bump on the back of my head because I’m quite proud of it. It reminds me that it’s real.” We love this about Auli’i! She’s such a pro, and like Moana, she takes everything in stride, with optimism and gratitude.

  5. The first thing Lin said to Auli’i after her Oscars performance.

    We wanted to know what Lin said to Auli’i the minute she walked off stage, after completely owning her amazing performance of “How Far I’ll Go.” Auli’i’s response: “Uh, it was more of a scream, like a low pitched, ‘Ahhhhh! You did it!’ It was like that! I don’t even remember what really went on, I just remember that … I hugged him like there was no tomorrow and that I was so, so happy, and then I remember that there were a lot of camera flashes, but all I remember was just giving Lin the biggest possible hug and being so appreciative of the moment.” You could tell from the way Auli’i told this story that it was an incredible moment, and we have tears in our eyes just thinking about it! These photos say it all:

  6. Auli’i’s favorite dress.

    Our friends at Disney Style recently chronicled all of Auli’i’s Oscar looks, and they were stunning! We asked Auli’i which was her favorite and she said, “It would have to be actually the last dress that I wore. It was a beautiful blue gown by Rubin Singer and I wore it to the Vanity Fair Oscars Afterparty, and it was by far the more comfortable of the dresses that I had worn that week and it was kind of old Hollywood, kind of classy … I really enjoyed that dress.”

  7. Auli’i’s thoughts on Dwayne Johnson’s Oscars outfit.

    We asked Auli’i if she got to see Dwayne after her performance, and she didn’t, but she did say, “He wore this awesome, like, blue velvet tuxedo and I wanted to say, first of all, good to see you and second of all, great fashion taste. Like, you nailed it. But, no I actually didn’t see him so if he reads this, he will know that I really enjoyed his outfit at the Oscars.” We completely agree, and we too hope Dwayne is reading this.

  8. The coolest person Auli’i talked to at the Oscars.

    We’re sure Auli’i met and spoke to a lot of really amazing talented people at the Oscars! The coolest? Auli’i told us, “Besides Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tommy Kail! He was just … the nicest guy. He was the choreographer for Hamilton as well as the choreographer for In the Heights, and … I almost felt like he was in my corner, rooting for me every second which I really appreciated because I was, like I said, so incredibly nervous. I had no idea if it was going to go well, I felt prepared and yet at the same time, can anyone really fully prepare for the Oscars?” According to Auli’i, when she was in the rehearsal process and going through fittings for her dress, Tommy Kail told her, “Even like right now, we’re in dress rehearsal, you’re wearing jeans and a top, and you don’t have on much makeup and you’re killin’ it and that’s what really counts, you know, it’s the performance and it’s the message in the song.” That is good solid advice, and confirmation that Tommy Kail is indeed the coolest!

  9. What’s next for Auli’i.

    We know the way for Moana, but what is the way for Auli’i? She told us that “after Moana, I was able to really broaden my horizons and realize I love it so much. I love meeting new people, I love singing and acting and telling stories about beautiful individuals that might not have been told, and I’m so thrilled that I will be continuing in this acting career and singing career. And I’m also going to be finishing school, so, just because I’m going to be continuing this doesn’t mean that I’m stopping that either.” Seriously, Auli’i is such a wonderful role model for teenagers and adults alike.

We can’t wait to see what Auli’i does next and we are absolutely certain she has a bright future in front of her, just like Moana. We couldn’t be more proud to have Auli’i in the Disney family. So many emotions! We’re not crying, you’re crying.

If you need to listen to the soundtrack of Moana on repeat right now (like we’re currently doing), you can purchase it here. Moana is also now available on Digital HD and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on March 7.

Posted 3 weeks Ago
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