What Is ‘The Little Mermaid Live!’ Star Auli’i Cravalho Known For?

Auli’i Cravalho made a name for herself when she voiced the Disney princess, Moana. Now, the actress just starred in ABC’s The Little Mermaid Live!, which debuted Tuesday night on ABC.

Aulii Cravalho
Aulii Cravalho | Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images

Who is Auli’i Cravalho?

The 18-year-old actress is half Native Hawaiian and is also of Puerto Rican, Portuguese, Chinese, and Irish ancestry.

In 2016, she starred in the title role for the Disney animated film, Moana. Aside from Moana, she starred in the short-lived NBC drama series, Rise. She’s also been tapped to star in the upcoming Netflix film, Sorta Like a Rockstar.

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Why Auli’i Cravalho’s ‘Moana’ role was so important

Cravalho’s role in Moana was historic because she stepped into the role of one of the few Disney princesses of who are women of color. Moana is based on Hawaiian myths “I’m Hawaiian, so the fact that we made a film that’s inspired by the Polynesian culture is incredibly important to me. Wayfinding is actually something that my ancestors did. It’s not something that they just made up.” Cravalho told The New York Daily News.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose music was featured in Moana, also told the paper, “We looked all over the world for the perfect Moana. We saw countless, countless auditions and then Auli’i came along and my gosh, she’s like a real-life Moana — for real, except she’s not animated. And then the other really exciting thing that happened is when she got to the studio, she can really sing.”

Auli’i Cravalho as Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid Live’

A few months back, Cravalho was announced to headline ABC’s live musical hybrid event, The Little Mermaid Live! as Ariel.

She starred in the production with Queen Latifah as Ursula, Shaggy as Sebastian, John Stamos as Chef Louis, Amber Riley as the Daughters of Triton Emcee, and Graham Phillips as Prince Eric.

A The Little Mermaid live-action feature film at Disney is also in pre-production that will star Halle Bailey as Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Daveed Diggs as Sebastian. Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina are signed on for other roles.