From big dreams to the big screen: Check out this Hawaii tween’s talents in a theater near you

She left Hawaii for the bright lights of New York City.
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 4:57 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 10:31 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - She left Hawaii for the bright lights of New York City.

Three years later, 12-year-old Kylie Kuioka is on the big screen — her voice that is.

“I played the role of Emiko and she’s an impossibly adorable cat,” Kuioka said.

“Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” is Kuioka’s first big animated movie. It’s playing in theaters now.

“At the premiere I got to meet for the first time, Kathy Shen and George Takei and it was so exciting.”

The young former Iolani student was a natural star on stage.

“When I was 5, I entered an Iolani contest, talent contest, and I sang a song from ‘Shrek the Musical,’ and I won the competition,” Kuioka said. “After that, my music teacher recommended that I should audition for ‘The King and I’ Broadway tour.”

Kylie auditioned in San Francisco, got the part and performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. Her family then decided to make the big move from Kaimuki to the Big Apple.

“This city never sleeps, basically and I love all the shops and Broadway shows, and there’s so much to do here.”

In March, Kylie debuted in Disney’s “Better Nate Than Never.” Just like her animated character, Kylie is determined to prosper in her career.

“Ultimately, I want to be a versatile actor who can perform comedy, drama and can convey messages through singing, dancing and playing instruments,” said Kuioka.

She has this advice to aspiring keiki: “Just follow what you love and believe in your goals, and most importantly, have fun. Because people can tell if you’re not having a great time.”

You can listen to the rest of our conversation with Kylie Kuioka on our ‘Muthaship’ podcast right now on our website or search for ‘Muthaship’ wherever you download podcasts.

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