Nicole Scherzinger has got it going on. She is pretty, sweet and extremely talented. Singing (you may recognize her from the group Pussycat Dolls), dancing and now acting are just some of the things you’ll find on her resume. Her latest project being a voice actress as Moana’s mom in Disney’s Moana.
The night of the world premiere, she looked stunning and looked the same as she made her way into the room for iur interview. Chatting with her gave me a better understanding of just how nice she is, how much she loves her family and just hiw driven she is to pursue her dreams and help others in the process.
Here’s some of what she had to say….
On doing this project
“Well I didn’t want to be a part of the project. I felt I had to be a part of the project, and that’s because I’m from Hawaiian descent, so I knew that the movie was gonna be about the Polynesian people. And I don’t think Disney ever really did a film like that. I know they touched upon it in Lilo and Stitch, but I know people from my family were like, no, that’s like the fake kind. And I didn’t wanna go back home and hear from family, “How come you’re not in Moana? … I wanted to be involved because of that, and because it’s the story of our people, where we come from, and I’m just so proud that Disney did right by us, by the Polynesian people, and stayed true to our culture, where we come from, our mana, our power, our people, our lifeline and just told a beautiful story about a young girl.”
“It wasn’t a love story, it was a heroine story about a young girl’s journey, which we can all relate to about discovering who we really are and what we’re meant for, what our purpose and our destiny is. That’s a beautiful story, and then I have the honor of playing Moana’s mother, Sina.”
“They were trying to give me the backstory. And I was like, please, I lived this, I lived with my mother and my tutu, which means grandmother in Hawaiian. In our culture, the men are the head of the household but the women are the backbone. They are everything. They are the strength. They keep it together. And in my family, my tutu, her mother had twenty-one births…and then eighteen children that survived, and that’s just from my tutu. And then my mother, she had ten kids and then so on and so on. My tutu already has like seventy-five grandchildren and great grandchildren combined. So we have a really, really big family at home. So I just felt like I have to be a part of this.”
About the movie
“it’s great for for girls and boys to look up to someone like Moana, you know. How strong-willed she is, and it’s such a positive story, it’s so beautiful. Yeah, so it’s awesome. You get to see a little bit of where, you know, if anybody’s from the Polynesian Islands, where we come from.”
“My mother had me at a very young age. She was pregnant with me when she was seventeen and had me when she was eighteen, and she raised me on her own. And then my tutu and papa -that’s from grandmother and grandfather, they helped raise me as well. And then my mother met my father, which is why I got the last name Scherzinger, it’s my adopted last name. She had to move to the states for my tutu and papa, my papa was in the Marines to help raise me. And then when I said as soon as I grew up and was able to afford it, I would move my mom back home. So, as soon as I was making some dollars, I moved my mom back home and so my mom and dad are in Hawaii again next to my tutu and papa ‘cause they have to have their kids around them.”
On her career
“I was born singing. I wanted to be Whitney Houston. It’s The Greatest Love of All that made me realize that I wanted to sing. And so from a little girl I always performed live, and I was fortunate enough to go to a performing arts school and did a lot of theater, a lot of musical theater. So, the stage is my favorite place to be, really musical theater is. I just finished doing Cats a year ago in the West and I was supposed to be doing it on Broadway, and I wanna go back to the theater when the time is right. But,I do love being in the recording studio as well I love touring. Doing this movie was such a new experience for me because I’ve never been an animated character.”
“…so you have to just imagine everything. To be so creative in your head. And they show you these like sketched out drawings of your character in the scene. And everything looks like penciled in, right? And you just have to kinda close your eyes and put yourself there and kind of be extra animated. And I thought it was hilarious because they had cameras all throughout the whole recording studio because it makes sense, you know…Because they see all the different expressions of your face and try to incorporate it into the character to bring it to life as you, so you have that going on. And I probably looked crazy when I was doing it. And they make you do all kinds of sounds. They’re like, now you’re sad. And make a sad sound. You’re like…mm. [And then you think] “Is that enough?” And then they’re like you’re running, running, running and now you’re kind of running, and then you build up to a run. One time I was recording and I closed my eyes and they’re like you’ve just seen Moana for the first time. She’s back. And I was running, and I was feeling it, and the breath had to be right to emote the right energy. And the hug was like, okay, a soft hug and then a hard hug. I opened my eyes and I felt like wow, we really did something. And I was literally on the opposite end of the room from them. They’re like, “Sorry, we didn’t wanna disturb you. You were in it. We didn’t get any of that. You were committed and you were in it.” It was such a cool experience.
On not taking anything for granted
“I don’t take anything for granted, especially where I come from, with what I do, anything I see. I’ve been all over the world. I’ve seen the most beautiful things. I’ve done such amazing things. Within this past month I’ve performed with Andrea Bocelli several times.” I’ve performed with my dear friend, Prince and with his band for his memorial concert in Minneapolis, so the most amazing funk musicians and singers ever. And then working on a new project with these people that is something I never thought I would do. And it’s just such a blessing. No matter what you do in life, you cannot ever take any of it for granted. You know, even coming back to X Factor and dealing with Simon Cowell, just have to be thankful. It just helps you really appreciate it.”
On always being her mom’s baby
…I’m like seventy years old, and my mom still treats me like I’m little Nicolelsky. She calls me Nicolelsky – what was that in the interview? What are you posting on Instagram? Are you twerking? What are you- what is this twerking? I was like Mom, it’s an art. I actually had to learn that, Mom. Great dancers taught me that. I worked on that, Mom.
So that’s what moms do. They they create that structure and they teach you. My mother always told me growing up, Nicole, I just never want you to compromise yourself. But then at the end, you know, they have to just have faith and trust that they raised you the right way. I come from a very spiritual background. My grandfather, my papa, is a Bishop. And so I grew up, uh, in the church and everything, so, we just have a strong belief system. So, just to have trust and have faith that you gotta let ‘em go and have wings and do their thing.”
Want know what the other Moana cast members had to say? Check out my interview with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and read about that time I made The Rock sweat & blush. We also chatted with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho.
Moana is officially in theaters
Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
Stay Connected to Moana:
- Like Moana on Facebook
- Follow Moana on Twitter
- Follow Disney Animation on Instagram
- Visit Disney Animation on Tumblr
- Visit the official Moana website
*I was invited by Disney to attend a press junket covering Moana. All opinions are my own.