Almost a year ago, a childhood dream came true for aspiring hula dancer Kayli Ka‘iulani Carr at the Merrie Monarch Festival–the world-renowned hula competition. That evening, Carr took the stage twice, representing Kumu Hula Robert Ke‘ano Ka‘upu IV and Lono Padilla’s Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua. First came her powerful kahiko (traditional) solo performance—replete with a lengthy, rapid-fire oli (chant)—followed later on by her beautiful ‘auana (contemporary) piece. When Carr was later declared Miss Aloha Hula, it wasn’t just a momentous moment for the Mākaha native—but a surprise as well. “I didn’t think I was going to win,” she confesses.
In a twist, the audience and TV spectators were not the only ones who witnessed Carr’s win. By chance, studio Great Big Story had been documenting Carr’s journey and, after her win, published a short film online that soon went viral. With the title has come a multitude of appearances, at Hawaiian-immersion Pūnana Leo schools to major stages in Japan. And when her reign ends in April, she will keep dancing. “Hula always brings me joy,” she explains. As for her next dream? It’s to finish her journalism degree and enter broadcast media. So, stay tuned: Hawai‘i’s next on-air personality may just be waiting in the wings!
Lei po‘o (head lei), spicy ‘ahi poke bowls, Journey, humility, poi, snowboarding
Being late, no sense of humor, Instagram, ice cream, traffic
styling by crystal pancipanci; hair and makeup by mariah melanie using Tom Ford Cosmetics; On Carr: Rose multicolor F. Rosa dress, $2,995,and yellow raffia mules, $995, both at Dolce & Gabbana, Ala Moana Center; Crossover Drop Earrings with Diamonds in 18K Gold, $2,500, and Mustique Large Flower Ring with Pink Opal, Pink Tourmaline and Diamonds in 18K Gold, $4,500, both at David Yurman, Ala Moana Center.
Originally published in the March issue of Modern Luxury Hawai'i
Photography Courtesy Of: