Nicole Scherzinger Fought for ‘Moana’ Role to Honor Her Hawaiian Family

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Nicole Scherzinger begged Disney bosses to give her a role in new movie Moana, telling them she wouldn’t be able to go home to Hawaii if she wasn’t part of the film.

The actress and singer, who was born in Honolulu, plays the title character’s mom Sina in the new animated movie, and insists she was destined to land the role.

“I told Disney, ‘You’re not gonna make this movie without me,’ because… my family will kill me if I’m not in this movie,” she says to Access Hollywood.

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Scherzinger used Skype for her first audition from North Carolina, where she was filming the TV Dirty Dancing remake, and admits all her dreams came true when he was offered the part.

“I’m so honored to be a part of it, I really am,” she adds. “If you look back at other Disney movies, the mother is usually killed off… In my culture, the women are the backbone of the family and Sina is just like the women in our family.”

Scherzinger is heading home for Christmas and she’s planning to rent out a theater in Hawaii and invite her extended island family to see the film.

“I think everyone’s gonna cry,” she says. “I’m so proud of it. It’s so beautiful… and the music and the story and the message… This is a story of our people, where we come from. This is set in the Polynesian islands 2,000 years ago… Disney truly did their research and were respectful to our culture… It’s awesome.”

The former Pussycat Dolls star also got the chance to work with People‘s newly-crowned Sexiest Man Alive, Dwayne Johnson, on the movie.

“It’s hard for me [to accept him as the Sexiest Man Alive] because Dwayne just looks like my family,” she giggles. “He looks like one of my cousins. I think he’s beautiful and he’s handsome but, for me, why I think he’s so sexy is what he stands for, what he represents.”

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