Image Source: Getty / Jason LaVeris
When Disney announced Moana back in 2014, Nicole Scherzinger knew she had to be involved. It's kind of a no-brainer: she's got native Hawaiian roots, plus the vocal prowess a Disney movie might call for. Now, after plenty of trailers, an inspiring soundtrack, and the sweet sounds of Dwanye "The Rock" Johnson, Disney's latest princess has arrived. She's so much more than a princess, though. She's a warrior. She doesn't need a love interest to fulfill her life's purpose. And she's representing a whole new kind of royalty. In preparation for the film's Thanksgiving release, we hopped on the phone with Nicole Scherzinger (who plays Moana's mother) to talk about the film and explain exactly what makes the new princess so damn special.
POPSUGAR: What drew you into this movie?
Nicole Scherzinger: I am of Hawaiian descent, so when I found out they were making a Polynesian-inspired Disney movie, I was like, "I have to be a part of this!" I knocked down Disney's doors to let me audition and make sure I could be a part of this. It was awesome, and it worked out, and now I am Moana's mother in the film. And my name is Sina.
PS: What do you think sets Moana apart from other Disney princesses?
NS: I feel like Moana is a Hawaiian princess warrior. Warrior Hawaiian princess, is what I should be saying. I think a lot of other Disney characters, like in Brave and stuff, they are still really strong girls, little princesses. Moana comes from a very rooted background. It's not a love story. It's a heroine story. It's about a little girl finding out who she is. And it's a message for all of us: discovering who we are and getting back to our roots . . . and who we know as ourselves . . . A lot of [Disney movies] are love stories. This is a love story about a girl who discovers who she is, and a love story between her and her people and her island.
PS: I love that it's not a love story! How powerful.
NS: Yeah, it's an inspiring story and she's such a role model for little boys and girls out there.
PS: What is Moana's relationship with her mother like?
NS: Moana has a very close relationship with her mother, her family, and her grandmother. Her mother is very strong-willed. Normally the men are the head of the house in our culture, but the women are the backbone and the spine of the family. Moana is like her mom, and she is very strong-willed as well. Sina is strong-willed, and very protective of Moana. She obviously respects her husband's views of making sure Moana abides by her father's rules . . . in the end, she really trusts Moana and allows her to make her own decisions.
PS: That's nice, to see parents who will let their daughter leave.
NS: Yeah, it's a special moment . . . her mother sees her and has a feeling. She sees her packing, and instead of stopping her, helps her pack and sends her on her way.
Image Source: Disney
PS: Did you have a favorite Disney princess growing up?
NS: I loved Princess Jasmine, because she was the closest thing to my skin color. Now, it's wonderful that there is a little Moana to be a role model for the Polynesian kids, or kids of different ethnicities and ethnic backgrounds. Because, if I had Moana growing up, she would be the Disney character I would want to be: a Disney warrior.
PS: That representation is so important.
NS: Absolutely. There are so many films for other cultures and other people . . . What's wonderful is Disney chose to do a story of the Polynesian people. Their story and their culture, respectfully and in the right way . . . It's beautiful. It brings me to tears.
PS: What are you hoping that little boys and girls will take away from this movie?
NS: To hopefully be inspired and be strong-willed. To go out and and search what their destiny is, who they really are inside . . . To be inspired and to fight for it. Fight for it and to not give up. And to follow that inner voice.
PS: What was your experience working with Dwayne Johnson on this film?
NS: I didn't! I've met Dwayne a couple of times in the past . . . but when I recorded, I recorded on my own in the Disney studios. So it was lovely to see him and reconnect on the red carpet.
PS: He was just announced as People's Sexiest Man Alive, too!
NS: Good for him! . . . I think he's the sexiest man alive, from the inside out.
PS: It's the inside components that make him ever sexier, right?
PS: Is there any chance of a Pussycat Dolls reunion in the future?
NS: I don't see why not! I love my girls. I miss my girls. And if the time is right and it's meant to be, I would love to be able to do more music with them and tour for our fans out there. I would love that. We'll show them how it's done.