No, she’s not. You’re supposed to name Samoan for a Samoan in a film, but not Moana. She’s a Polynesian, but Moana is Polynesian. She has a Samoan mother, she has been raised by Samoan people for the past three years, and not once has her Samoan mother had anything to do with her career choices. It’s all been decided for her by Disney.
But is she a Samoan?
Yes. And for that reason, you would expect her to be Polynesian. Moana is Polynesian in its essence. She wears traditional Samoan outfits, she sings Samoan songs, she is Samoan in her way of thinking, in her love for Samoan things. I wanted her to be Polynesian-ish.
And when you talk about the characters, are there any that you feel are more Polynesian?
The most Polynesian character is Rapunzel, who is definitely Polynesian-ish in her way of thinking, she plays the game of life, she works to make it better. But Rapunzel is not Polynesian in her identity or in her journey. She’s not a Samoan. She is not a Polynesian. But she’s certainly Polynesian to me. It’s like a great metaphor for Polynesian-ish girls today. They’re making a great deal of money, but they’re not happy with who they are. They don’t want anything to do with the things that they did for a living because that’s not what they grew up thinking that they were going to be. So they come up with these big idea that they’re going to be something else that they don’t even understand.
But the Moana characters are kind of Polynesian, the ones who grow up to become real, successful, well-rounded people like Moana. That is something that I always felt Moana was more Polynesian in her journey and in her life than Ariel is.
That’s the thing about Ariel. She has her whole journey mapped out. She’s a princess and she’s a princess who is married to a king, and I thought that was very Polynesian. That’s why the Moana people seem less Polynesian than Ariel is.
What’s your thought on the movie for women filmmakers? What is your take on it?
I think the thing with women is that
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