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    35 Pacific Islander Celebrities Who Are Killing It In Hollywood

    By Morgan Sloss,

    26 days ago

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    1. Auli'i Cravalho

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    Brian Van Der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

    Born in Hawai'i, Auli'i is of Native Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, Portuguese, Chinese, and Irish heritage. After making her acting debut as the voice of Moana , she's reprising her role in the upcoming sequel — which I can't wait to see! — and will serve as an executive producer on the live-action remake. She also portrayed Janis in the Mean Girls musical film earlier this year.

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    JoJo Whilden / Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    2. Drew Afualo

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    Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images for TikTok

    If you don't know Drew, you're missing out! The Samoan TikTok star first gained fame by calling out misogynists on social media, all with her iconic laugh and great sense of humor. She's the host of The Comment Section with Drew Afualo podcast and has hosted red-carpet events like the Oscars and the Black Adam premiere. Her first book, Loud , comes out this summer, and I've already preordered it!

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    Michael Kovac / The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

    3. Kamalei Kawa'a

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    Nbc / Danny Ventrella / NBC via Getty Images

    This year, the Native Hawaiian singer made it to the playoff rounds of The Voice, where he wowed the judges and audience by bringing his culture to every performance. During the audition , judge Chance the Rapper commended Kamalei for representing Pacific Islanders, calling it "really important to have on the show."

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    4. Cliff Curtis

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    Stephane Cardinale - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

    The Māori actor is known for powerful New Zealand films like Once Were Warriors and The Dark Horse, as well as his long Hollywood career . He's been in tons of hits, including Live Free or Die Hard , Fear the Walking Dead , and Hobbs & Shaw. Cliff played Tonowari, the chief of the Metkayina clan, in Avatar: The Way of Water and will appear in Avatar 3.

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    Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    5. Eliana Su'a

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    Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images for CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment)

    Eliana is of Samoan, Mexican, and Argentine heritage. She currently stars in the Disney Channel show Pretty Freekin Scary, and she's appeared in other projects like 9-1-1 and Hobbs & Shaw .

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    Mitch Haaseth / Disney via Getty Images

    6. Keanu Reeves

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    Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

    Of Native Hawaiian, Chinese, English, Irish, and Portuguese descent, the actor is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. He's starred in huge franchises like The Matrix and John Wick as well popular films like Speed and The Lake House . Keanu is also beloved by the internet; I don't know a single person who dislikes this man!

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    7. Simone Kessell

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    Born in New Zealand, the actor is of Māori and European descent. She's been in a bunch of shows including Terra Nova, Of Kings and Prophets, and The Crossing, and she's absolutely killing it right now as Adult Lottie in Yellowjackets.

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    Showtime Networks Inc./Courtesy Everett Collection

    8. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

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    Dwayne is Samoan on his mother's side and Black on his father's. After gaining fame as a WWE wrestler, he became the Hollywood star we know and love today. He's been in everything from the Fast and Furious franchise to the Jumanji movies to Moana (he'll be reprising his role as Maui in the live-action remake!). And last year, he became the first Samoan to play a superhero with Black Adam.

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    9. Iam Tongi

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    Variety / Variety via Getty Images

    Of Tongan, Samoan, and Irish descent, the singer was born and raised in Hawai'i. Last year, he became the first Pacific Islander to win American Idol after capturing the hearts of viewers across the country with his touching story and incredible voice.

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    10. Jason Momoa

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    Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

    Born in Hawai'i, Jason is Native Hawaiian on his father's side and German, Irish, and Pawnee on his mother's. After the world fell in love with him in Game of Thrones , he went on to star in Frontier , See , and the Aquaman movies. He was a fan favorite in the most recent Fast and Furious film, and I'm stoked for his upcoming show, Chief of War .

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    Peter Mountain /© Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    11. Frankie Adams

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    Stephane Cardinale - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

    The Samoan actress got her start on the popular New Zealand soap opera, Shortland Street . Since then, she's appeared in projects like The Expanse, The Panthers , and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

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    12. Kaimana

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    Amy Sussman / Getty Images

    The actor is of Māori, Samoan, Native Hawaiian, Tongan, Tahitian, Japanese, Irish, Scottish, and English descent, but she usually just refers to herself as Polynesian. Last year, Kaimana made her acting debut in Taika Waititi's Next Goal Wins , where she absolutely stole the show! I can't wait to see what she'll do next.

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    13. Courtney Eaton

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    Born in Australia, the actor is of Māori, Cook Islander, Chinese, and English heritage. You can find her in Mad Max: Fury Road and Gods of Egypt, but her portrayal of Teen Lottie in Yellowjackets is definitely my favorite performance so far.

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    14. Parris Goebel

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    Born in New Zealand, the dance powerhouse and model is Samoan on her mother's side and white on her father's. She's worked with artists like Jennifer Lopez, SZA, and Shakira, as well as choreographed music videos for Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, and Ciara. She won an Emmy for her work on "Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3" and choreographed Rihanna's iconic Super Bowl performance last year!

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    15. Dinah Jane

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    Leon Bennett / Getty Images

    The singer is mainly Tongan, with some Samoan, Fijian, and Danish heritage. While competing on The X Factor in 2012, she joined four other contestants to form a girl group that would go on to become the wildly popular Fifth Harmony. When the group partnered with Barbie and a doll was made of each member, Dinah inspired the first modern Polynesian Barbie . Now focused on her solo career, she drops new music on Friday inspired by her Polynesian heritage, and I will absolutely be streaming at midnight.

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    16. KJ Apa

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    Leon Bennett / Getty Images

    The New Zealand-born actor is of Samoan and European heritage, and he received his matai (chief) title a few years ago. He became a household name by playing Archie Andrews on Riverdale , but you can also find him in The Hate U Give and I Still Believe . And did you know that KJ is a talented musician? In 2021, he released an indie folk-rock album called Clocks.

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    17. Alex Tarrant

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    The New Zealand-born actor is of Māori, Samoan, and Niuean heritage. Alex enjoyed leading roles in When We Go to War , Shortland Street , and Night Raiders before starring in NCIS: Hawaiʻi. Currently, he plays Valandil in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The trailer for the second season just dropped, and it looks awesome!

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    18. Sasha Colby

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    Born and raised in Hawai'i, Sasha is Native Hawaiian and Irish. In 2012, she won the Miss Continental competition, and last year, she won Season 15 of RuPaul's Drag Race — the first Pacific Islander to take the crown!

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    19. Jemaine Clement

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    Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for SXSW

    The New Zealand-born actor is of Māori and European descent. He was sooo funny in Flight of the Conchords ! Jemaine joined Taika Waititi as an actor, writer, and director in What We Do in the Shadows . Jemaine has done tons of voice work for animated movies, including Despicable Me , Rio , Moana , and The Lego Batman Movie . He's also been in hits like Men in Black 3 and Avatar: The Way of Water .

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    20. Rose Matafeo

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    Born in New Zealand, Rose is Samoan on her father's side and Croatian and Scottish on her mother's. This woman can do it all — she's an actor, writer, comedian, director, and podcast host. You can find her stand-up special, Horndog , and comedy series, Starstruck , on Max.

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    Max / Via youtube.com

    21. Keisha Castle-Hughes

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    Born in Australia and raised in New Zealand, the actor is Māori on her mother's side and white on her father's. I absolutely LOVED her in Whale Rider (one of my all-time favorite movies). Since then, she's been in The Nativity Story , Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, and Game of Thrones . Currently, she's playing Hana in FBI: Most Wanted.

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    Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

    22. Oscar Kightley

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    Born in Samoa and raised in New Zealand, the actor played Albert in the iconic Sione's Wedding (my favorite Pacific Islander comedy of all time!). Last year, he portrayed the head of American Samoa soccer in Next Goal Wins .

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    23. Nicole Scherzinger

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    Born in Hawai'i, Nicole is of Native Hawaiian, Filipino, and Ukrainian descent. You probably know her from the Pussycat Dolls/her solo music career, but she's also been on Dancing with the Stars and served as a judge/panelist on The X Factor, Australia's Got Talent, and The Masked Singer. Last year, she starred as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard on the West End, and she'll make her Broadway debut in October.

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    24. Alex Aiono

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    Alex is Samoan and Māori on his father's side and white on his mother's. After gaining a massive following on YouTube for his music, he landed a starring role in Finding Ohana . He played Walter in Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. and currently portrays Shawn in Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.

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    25. Uli Latukefu

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    CJ Rivera/Everett Collection

    The Tongan actor was born and raised in Australia. Perhaps best known for portraying Dwayne Johnson in Young Rock , he also appeared in Marco Polo, Doctor Doctor , and Black Adam . Most recently, he played Nicky Salapu in Next Goal Wins, and you can see him in MaXXXine later this year.

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    26. Kaliko Kauahi

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    Born in Hawaiʻi, the actor is of Native Hawaiian and Japanese heritage. You probably know her as Sandra in Superstore , but she's also appeared in Parks and Recreation , The Big Bang Theory , and Raven's Home .

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    27. Temuera Morrison

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    Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney

    Born in New Zealand, the actor is of Māori, Scottish, and Irish heritage. He's been in tons of stuff, like Star Wars films, Once Were Warriors , and the Aquaman movies. He famously returned to the Star Wars franchise as the iconic Boba Fett (the son of his character Jango Fett from the prequels) in The Mandalorian and even got his own spin-off, The Book of Boba Fett .

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    28. Rachel House

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    Gregg Deguire / WireImage / Getty Images

    The New Zealand-born actor is of Māori and European descent. She's a frequent collaborator of Taika Waititi and has been in plenty of NZ films like Whale Rider and Boy , as well as Hollywood films like Thor: Ragnarok. Rachel has voiced multiple animated characters including Terry in Disney/Pixar's Soul and Gramma Tala in Moana . And her directorial debut, The Mountain , premieres later this year!

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    29. Kelly Hu

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    Mark Von Holden / Variety via Getty Images

    Born in Hawai'i, the actor is of Native Hawaiian, Chinese, and English heritage. After winning Miss Teen USA 1985 and Miss Hawaii USA 1993, she landed roles in The Scorpion King and the X-Men movie X2 . Kelly appeared in teen shows like The Vampire Diaries and The 100 , voiced Stacy in Phineas and Ferb, and is perhaps best known for playing Admiral Ozawa in The Orville. According to IMDb , she'll be reprising her role as Lady Deathstrike in the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine.

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    30. Mainei Kinimaka

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    Amy Sussman / The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

    Born in Hawai'i, the Native Hawaiian actor was a famous surfer before turning to acting. Mainei has appeared in See , The Last Manhunt , and Kapō . Currently, she's working on Jason Momoa's upcoming show, Chief of War.

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    31. Cooper Andrews

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    On his father's side, the actor is Samoan, and on his mother's, he's Hungarian-Jewish. Best known for playing Jerry on The Walking Dead , Cooper was also in Halt and Catch Fire and the Shazam! movies.

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    32. Manu Bennett

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    Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, the actor is of Māori, Irish, and Scottish descent. I loved his portrayal of Crixus in Spartacus, but he was also great in Arrow and the Hobbit movies.

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    33. Stacey Leilua

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    Nbc / Danny Ventrella / NBC via Getty Images

    Born in New Zealand, the actor is of Samoan, Māori, and European descent. She started out in theater and produced a Pacific Islander musical before doing shows in New York City. From 2021 to 2023, she played Ata Johnson (Dwayne Johnson's mom) in Young Rock .

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    34. John Tui

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    Variety / Penske Media via Getty Images

    The Tongan actor was born in New Zealand. After a role in Sione's Wedding , he appeared in the final Hobbit movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story , and Hobbs & Shaw . He also played Afa Anoa'i in Young Rock .

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    35. And finally, Taika Waititi

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    Born in New Zealand, Taika is Māori on his father's side and Russian Jewish on his mother's. Is there anything this man can't do? He wrote, directed, and starred in What We Do in the Shadows and Jojo Rabbit , the latter making him the first Māori filmmaker to win an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. He directed several of Marvel's Thor movies, an episode of The Mandalorian , and Next Goal Wins , the heartwarming film based on the true story of the American Samoan soccer team. Currently, he's directing a dystopian sci-fi film, Klara and the Sun, that I'm super excited about. Plus, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a masterpiece! Do yourself a favor and watch it if you're ever in need of a laugh.

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    Searchlight Pictures / Via youtube.com

    Check out more API-centered content by exploring how BuzzFeed is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month ! Of course, the content doesn't end after May. Follow BuzzFeed’s A*Pop on Instagram , TikTok , and YouTube to keep up with our latest API content year-round.

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