BY Bronwyn Barnes and Nuy Cho | April 29, 2019 | People
The Masked Singer judge’s family tree—and her sartorial roots—trace back to O‘ahu’s south shore.
How do you maintain your connection to Hawai‘i?
I was born in Honolulu, but only lived there for the first few years of my life. I was really young when we moved away, but I associate those early memories with family. My tutu had 17 brothers and sisters—I always laugh when I think back to how we used to gather together for a family photo and how challenging it was to fit all of us into the frame! All of my family is still in Hawai‘i, so I go home as often as possible. Being born there and knowing that I am part Hawaiian, makes me feel connected to the ‘aina’ and the spirit of Hawai‘i.
How have your Hawaiian roots influenced your signature style?
As a kid, I always wore pareos and surf shorts, so when I go home now, I fit in with the local style. Even now, I wear shell jewelry that my family from Ni‘ihau made me, and I even incorporated some Hawaiian and Tahitian fashion—and dance moves—into the video for my song ‘Right There.’
What’s your earliest fashion memory?
My mother had an amazing sense of style. It was the ’80s, so I remember a lot of shoulder pads and tunics, likely a nod to our Hawaiian heritage. When I was old enough, I would dig through her closet and play dress-up. Some of those early memories have definitely carried over because just the other night, I wore a dress where the shoulder pads ruled.
What’s the best way to describe your approach to fashion?
I believe that fashion always reflects how you’re feeling in a moment and what makes you feel the most confident. During the day, I am mostly casual and will rock some cool athleticwear. I also tend to gravitate toward streetwear because who doesn’t love comfort?! I’m definitely a girly girl, and I love dresses—so for red-carpet events, I veer toward old-school Hollywood glamour.
How do you incorporate that philosophy into your work wardrobe?
I’m really looking forward to the forthcoming season of The Masked Singer because I have some new ideas that I really want to try out! It’s such a fun show and so unlike anything else I’ve done, which encourages me to take some chances with my fashion choices.
What are your style secret weapons?
I have an extensive shoe collection. I’m not as tall as I wish I were, so I look for height. A great pair of heels makes me feel sexier and more confident. A great structured jacket is my go-to for every outfit—even over my workout clothes. Ultimately, it’s all about the fit. When it fits perfectly, you just feel like a boss.
I never leave my house without… my clothes on—my mom taught me that one when I was a kid!— a bottle of Waiakea water and a great pair of sunglasses.
What is your approach to accessorizing an outfit?
I am a less-is-more kind of girl. My favorite accessories are hats; I love all different styles. Currently, I am obsessed with Gladys Tamez—her designs are insane! I could literally buy one of each style and find a reason to wear one every day.
What are your beauty must-haves?
Coconut oil and essentialoils. Coconut oil has so many uses, and essential oils really help
soothe me. My favorite Hawaiian fashion and beauty products are He>i and Kopari.
Who is your ultimate style icon?
Coco Chanel is the ultimate classic fashion icon! Growing up I also remember really admiring Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez for the way their fashion was always complimentary to their music.
Photography Courtesy Of: Hudson Taylor | shot on location at The Beverly Hilton | Styled by Kyle Kagamida | hair by Sami Knight using Redken at Starworks Artists | makeup by Gregory Arlt at Forward Artists for MAC | neon Gown, $7,395 and neon sandal, $995, both at versace.com.