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INTERVIEW – Auli’i Cravalho on Saving the World in ‘Hailey’s on It’, Why She’s Not Playing Moana Again and More

Aulii Cravalho min

It’s a rare treat to get to chat with a Disney princess. In the case of Auli’i Cravalho, she also happens to be the first pacific islander Disney princess and absolute royalty in the POC Culture household.

Since debuting as Moana seven years ago, Cravalho has been busy pursuing a wide variety of projects, including live-action roles like in Rise and Crush, more animated roles like in Elena of Avalor, playing a second Disney princess as Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live, and this summer will star in Evita in Concert in London.

Auli’i also stars as the voice of Hailey in her latest project, Hailey’s On It, which premieres on the Disney Channel and streams on Disney+ the next day. The new animated series has a fun and unique premise, as Hailey learns that humanity’s future rests on her ability to complete her personal book of things to do in life.

Auli'i Cravalho as Hailey Banks and Manny Jacinto as Scott in Hailey's On It
Auli’i Cravalho as Hailey Banks and Manny Jacinto as Scott in Hailey’s On It

I had the opportunity to speak with Cravalho about her new series, as well as her thoughts on fellow Disney actress Halle Bailey as the new Ariel in the live-action The Little Mermaid, and why she recently announced that she would not be reprising the starring role in the upcoming live-action Moana.

Cravalho described her character Hailey as one who is “really intelligent, so goofy, so funny, she has a lot of heart, she loves friends and family…[she] kicks some serious butt [and] sings songs at the same time.” She credited the writers on the show for creating a clever show that is likely to appeal to both younger and older audiences.

“It’s just a really heartwarming series that honestly reminds me of some of our classic Disney shows…I can’t stop gushing about it because it really does make me happy. I think people are going to really enjoy it,” Cravalho said.

The series also stars Manny Jacinto as Hailey’s best friend Scott, and features a diverse voice cast, writers and directors. “I think it makes all the difference,” Cravalho said about having diversity behind the camera. “I’m constantly laughing whenever I’m in the booth and it’s great to hear their input. Eden Riegel usually directs me in the booth as well and I trust her completely in knowing my character and also pushing me….”

Hailey's On It Key Art
Hailey’s On It Key Art

Given that Cravalho played Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live, I asked her for her thoughts on Halle Bailey in the new film and she enthusiastically praised Bailey’s talents. “She sounds absolutely magnificent and I think she’s putting a really beautiful, fresh, new take on this character. Not only in the vocals, which are absolutely slaying, but also in this new era. I can’t wait to see this film,” Cravalho said.

Finally, I asked Cravalho about the upcoming live-action adaptation of Moana and why she made the decision not to reprise the title role (she will be serving as executive producer on the film). “Moana means so much to me. So much to me as, not only the actor who plays her, but also as someone…I went to an all Hawaiian school, I grew up in Hawaii, I know how important it is to see yourself on screen and what that did for even my younger cousins who go to Hawaiian immersion school. She’s their superhero,” Cravalho said. “I look forward to seeing her in the live-action screen. I mean it when I want to put my money where my mouth is, of seeing representative casting, and I think it’s going to be beautiful.”

Check out our full conversation below and watch Auli’i Cravalho in Hailey’s On It on the Disney Channel and streaming on Disney+! Interview with Auli’i Cravalho for Hailey’s On It

Auli’i Cravalho (“Moana;” “The Power;” highly-anticipated “Mean Girls” musical movie) stars as the title character in the upcoming animated comedy-adventure “Hailey’s On It” (premiering June 8 on Disney Channel and next day on Disney+). The action-packed series follows Hailey, a risk-averse but resourceful teenager on a mission to complete every item on her long list of challenging – and sometimes impractical – tasks in order to save the world.


Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture.  He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.

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