20 Of Our Favorite Celebrities From Hawaii

Nicole Kidman

Hawaii is known for its beautiful atmosphere, lush foliage, amazing scenery and tropical weather. Located 2,000 from the United States mainland, it is the only state made up entirely of islands. It’s a tropical paradise and the perfect place to visit and the perfect place to live. Many celebrities are from Hawaii.

1. Barack Obama

The 44th President of the United States of America is one of our favorite celebrities from Hawaii. Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu. His father was an exchange student from Kenya, and his mother was from Kansas and studying anthropology. When his parents separated, Obama’s maternal grandparents raised him in Chicago and Hawaii. Obama graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He worked in a Chicago law firm before being elected as a US Senator in 2005. He was elected US President in 2009 and served two terms. Obama and his wife Michelle have two daughters and spend their time between Chicago and his native Hawaii.

2. Jason Momoa

Actor Jason Momoa was born August 1, 1979 in Honolulu. When his parents divorced, he moved with his mother to Iowa. He returned to Hawaii often and was living there working as a model and part time in a surf shop when he was discovered by a casting director for Baywatch Hawaii. He played Jason Ione on the series from 1999 through 2001. He went on to star in television and film including the series Stargate: Atlantas, Conan the Barbarian and as Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones. He co-wrote and directed Road to Paloma in 2014. Momoa stared in Aquaman and Dune.

3. Bruno Mars

Singer Bruno Mars (Peter Gene Hernandez) was born in Honolulu October, 1985. He performed with his family’s band and notably did an Elvis Impression. Mars would remain a showman and learned to play the guitar. He moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and got a contract with Mowtown Records. When that didn’t work out, Mars signed with Westside Independent. He wrote and produced music for other artists and for himself. Mars became famous for his own music with songs including Just the Way You Are, Grenade, The Lazy Song, Locked Out of Heaven, When I Was Your Man and 24K Gold. He won the Grammy Award in 2014 for his album Unorthodox Juke Box.

4. Nicole Kidman

Australian actress Nicole Kidman was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii June 20, 1967 while her parents were on a Visa while her father was in graduate school. While the actress and producer grew up in Sydney, Australia, Kidman studied theater in Australia and got roles in Australian television. She moved to Los Angeles and starred in films including Days of Thunder, Far and Away, Batman Forever and Eyes Wide Shut. She continued to become a movie star and producer with films including Moulin Rouge, The Hours, The Others, Cold Mountain, Bombshell, Being the Ricardos and the upcoming Aquaman and the Last Kingdom. Kidman also appears in television including the hit Big Little Lies.

5. Kelly Preston

Sadly Kelly Preston passed away July 12, 2020 from cancer. The model and actress was born in Honolulu October 13, 1962. She moved to Los Angeles and studied theater at the University of Southern California and signed a modeling contract. Preston auditioned for Blue Lagoon but the role went to Brooke Shields. She did get roles in the 1988 teen film Mischief, Space Camp and Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. Preston’s biggest hit was alongside Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire. She was a spokeswoman for Neutrogena and was in a Maroon 5 video. Preston was married to actor John Travolta and they had three children together.

6. Don Ho

One of Hawaii’s most famous natives is singer Don Ho. He was born in Honolulu August 13, 1930, grew up on the island of Oahu, and passed away April 14, 2007. Ho had a football scholarship to the University of Hawaii and after college joined the US Air Force. He signed with Reprise Records and recorded his first album which was a success. At the time, he performed often in the many Hawaiian tiki bars that sprung up with an increase in tourism in the 1960’s. Ho often performed in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and New York City. His most popular song Tiny Bubbles recorded in 1966, Ho guest starred on several television shows including I Dream of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, Sanford and Sons, Fantasy Island and Charlie’s Angels.

7. Bette Midler

The Divine Miss M“, Bette Midler was born December 1, 1945 in Honolulu. The singer, songwriter, comedian and author has had a successful career. She is a member of EGOT, celebrities who have won the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. She began her acting career in off Broadway plays in the 1960’s. She performed her songs throughout the 1970’s and continues to perform today. Midler has recorded 14 studio albums. Her most popular songs include The Rose, Wind Beneath My Wings and From a Distance. She has starred in films including 1979’s The Rose, 1986’s Ruthless People, 1988’s Beaches, 1991’s For the Boys, 1993’s Hocus Pocus, 1996’s The First Wive’s Club and 2019’s The Adams Family.

8. Israel Kamakawiowo’ole

Musician, singer, songwriter and activist Israel Kamakawiwo’oli was called the “Voice of Hawaii”. He was born May 20, 1959 in Honolulu and passed away June 26, 1997. Israel started playing music when he was 11 years old with his brother and cousin. While attending the University of Hawaii in Hilo, he formed the band Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau. The band played a blend of contemporary and traditional Hawaiian music. In 1990 Israel recorded his first solo album and would go on to record three more albums as well as four compilation albums. Israel became internationally popular with his 1999 version of a blend of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and It’s a Wonderful World. He plays the song on a ukulele in a country jazz and reggae style.

9. Nicole Scherzinger

Singer, actress and television personality Nicole Scherzinger was born in Honolulu June 29, 1978. She studied musical theater at Wright State University. Scherzinger began her singing career touring with the rock band Days of New before joining the girl band Eden’s Crush. She had some small acting roles before joining the successful band Pussycat Dolls. After a brief solo career, Scherzinger won the 2010 season of Dancing With the Stars. She has been a celebrity judge on The Sing Off, The X Factor, The X Factor UK and Australia’s Got Talent. In 2014 Scherzinger appeared on stage in the West End revival of Cats. She was a voice actor in Disney’s Moana in 2016, appeared in he television film Dirty Dancing in 2017 and in Annie Live! in 2021. Scherzinger has appeared on The Masked Singer and will be touring with the Pussycat Dolls this year.

10. Timothy Olphant

Actor Timothy Olphant was born on May 20, 1968 in Honolulu. He graduated from the University of Southern California and followed his dream of becoming an actor. In 1995 and 1996 Olphant appeared in off Broadway plays. The following year he appeared in the movie Scream 2. Olphant continued to act in film regularly in movies including Gone In 60 Seconds, The Girl Next Door, Hitman, Live Free or Die Hard, Crazies and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. From 2004 through 2006 Olphant played the role Justified from 2005 through 2010. He’s appeared in epiisodes of The Office, The Mindy Project and Season 10 of Larry David’s HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. Olphant won the Critics Choice Award for his role in The Grinder.

11. Carrie Ann Inaba

Carrie Ann Inaba was born in Honolulu January 5, 1968. She began her singing and dancing career in Japan when she was 18 years old. She became a Fly Girl on Fox’s In Living Color frothe from 1990 to 1992 and later toured with David Bowie, Prince and Madonna. Inaba appeared in Monster Mash, Auston Powers and Jack and Jill. A renowned choreographer, Inaba choreographed American Idol and Miss America Pagent routines. Inaba produced the Broadway show Burn the Floor. Most recently, Carrie Ann Inaba is a judge on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and was a co-host on CBS’ The Talk.

12. Tia Carrere

Model, singer and actress Tia Carrere was born January 2, 1967 in Honolulu. She began her acting career appearing on the ABC soap opera General Hospital, Tour of Duty, The A Team, the Wayne’s World movies and True Lies. Carrere was a voice actress in the animated show Lilo and Stich. She appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Richard Lewis’ girlfriend Cha Cha. She’s competed on Dancing With the Stars and The Celebrity Apprentice. Carrere has recorded five albums and won two Grammy Awards including in 2011 for Best Hawaiian Album.

13. Erin Gray

Model and actress Erin Gray was born in Honolulu January 7, 1950. She graduated with a mathematics degree from UCLA but pursued a modeling career in New York City after graduating. She briefly pursued dancing in 1967 in Los Angeles but returned to modeling in New York City. She began acting in 1978 when she got a contract from Universal Studios. Her most popular role in television was in the SciFi series Buck Rogers In the 25th Century starring Gil Rogers. The role of Colonial Wima Deering which was a strong female character. Gray later a played Kate Summers-Stratton in the sitcom Silver Spoons which brought Ricky Schroder. Today, Gray is a casting agent.

14. Tahj Mowery

Actor Tahj Mowery was born May 17, 1986 in Honolulu. His siblings are also actors and television personalities. His sister Tamera is a host on The Real. Their mother was their agent. Tahj played Michelle Tanner’s friend Teddy on Full House. He voiced the character of Wade Load on the animated series Kim Possible. He appeared i The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Friends, Desperate Housewives and Star Trek: Voyager. Tahj’s most famous roles are TJ Henderson The UB’s Smart Guy and Tucker Dobbs on ABC Family’s Baby Daddy.

15. Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham was born in Honolulu March 16, 1967. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from New York University and her Master’s Degree from Southern Methodist University. Her most famous roles as an actress are as Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls from 2000 through 2007 and as Sara Braverman in Parenthood which aired from 2010 through 2015. Graham has appeared in film including Sweet November, Bad Santa, The Pacifier, Because I Said So and Evan Almighty. Graham is a successful author publishing three books.

16. Jared Murillo

Jared Murillo is a successful dancer, choreographer, singer and guitarist born in Honolulu August 6, 1988. He started singing in his church when he was 5 years old. He began performing soon after appearing in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Donnie Osmond when he was just 8 years old. Murillo was in High School Musical and its sequel and made a cameo appearance in High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Murillo was in the boy band V Factory. He appeared on an episode of Big Time Rush, sang at the 2002 winter Olympics, appeared on the BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing, and performed in Glee: The Tour.

17. Bethany Hamilton

Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton was born in Lihue February 8, 1990 and lives on the island of Kauai today. She learned to surf at the age of 5. Tragically in 2003, Bethany suffered a shark attack while surfing. She survived but lost her left arm. She didn’t give up her favorite activity, surfing. She continues to perform as a professional surfer. In 2004 Bethany published her book Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on Board which was adapted into a movie in 2011. There is also a 2013 documentary, Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable. Bethany continues her professional surfing and has published 8 books.

18. Janel Parrish

Actress, singer and songwriter Janel Parrish was born on the island of Oahu October 30, 1988. She won a statewide singing competition when she was just 8 years old. She later became the lead singer of the girl band Impulse. She went on to have a solo album released by Geffen Records in 2007. She performed on Dancing With the Stars in 2014. Parrish has also had a successful acting career. In 1996 she appeared as young Cosette in the Broadway production of Les Misêrable. She was the voice of Jade in the Bratz movie. She played Mona Vanderwaal on Pretty Little Liars which ran from 2017 through 2019. Parrish most recenltly appeared in the To All the Boys film series.

19. Ethan Wacker

Actor and Tik Tok star Ethan Wacker was born May 8, 2002 and grew up in Hawaii. Wacker appeared in KC Undercover and Hawaii Five-O. He played Bernie Schotz in the Disney series Bizaardvark. A big sports fan, Wacker is working with ESPN/Disney 365 to create NBA shorts. He’s worked with the Golden States Warriors, the Boston Celtics and the Lakers. Wacker spends his time between his native Hawaii and Los Angeles.

20. Lia Marie Johnson

Internet personality Lia Marie Johnson was born in Wahiawa November 23, 1996. She was named one of the “Ten Biggest Stars On YouTube” by Adweek in 2014. She performs popular skits and song covers on YouTube. She had a web series called Kids React that ran from 2010 to 2011. She starred in a sketch comedy series Terry the Tomboy that ran from 2013 to 2014. This was turned into a movie on Nickelodeon TV in 2014. Johnson recorded Moment Like You released by Capitol Records which was on YouTube Premium in the film The Thinning,

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