Page 5 - MidWeek Kauai - June 16, 2021
P. 5

It’s An ‘Electric’ Opportunity For Hilo Teen
for years now as a singer, dancer and actor in communi- ty theater productions. In ad- dition to singing for audiences on a tour through China, she’s starred as Princess Jasmine in Center Stage Dance Alli- ance’s production of Disney’s Aladdin, Jr. at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Performing Arts Center. She also played Dainty June in Palace The- atre’s production of Gypsy. Both productions were direct- ed by Larry Reitzer, a televi- sion writer for such shows as Ugly Betty and Melissa & Joey, and someone whom Meili views as a mentor.
JUNE 16, 2021
       hard, and you have to believe in yourself.”
A pivotal scene in the video shows Perry putting a leop- ard print jacket in Meili’s line of sight to ensure she’ ll pick it up. She goes on to perform at a talent show with her new coat, and os- tensibly, on to her destiny.
Apparently, the scene does have some truth to it. “She gave me a gift — that
leopard jacket I wore in the video. She gave it to me be- cause she hopes it gives me luck,” Meili explains.
“In her teenage years, Katy’s mom gave her a leop- ard jacket and it brought her luck.”
“I saw Meili perform in a talent show at the Palace Theatre and was immediate- ly impressed by her incredible
Not that Meili will need luck. She’s been performing
   Among Meili’s goals are to attend New York University, work on Broadway and maybe do some TV acting or launch a singing career. She’s already a veteran of community theater productions and has even toured China.
As for her future goals, Meili wants to continue
“Hone in on your craft
(Above) Meili says that she and Katy Perry have more than looks and a knack for performing arts in common. Both were nicknamed “turtle” by their mothers. (Left) The song and video commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pokémon. Pikachu, along with its younger counterpart, Pichu, make cameos in the video (inset). IMAGE COURTESY ASTANIA CAPUTO AND THE POKÉMON COMPANY INTERNATIONAL
voice and acting ability,” Re- itzer states.
performing. She’s taking college classes this summer with plans to graduate with her associate’s degree when she finishes high school.
and don’t chase stardom,” Astania says, relaying the advice she gives her daugh- ter. “Stardom will be there for you, if you hone in on your craft.”
“Meili is a terrific role mod- el for young women and her desire to work hard and push herself — and then, push her- self even further — impresses me every day.”
“IwanttogotoNYUto study performing arts and get my bachelor’s ... I really want to do Broadway, but af- terwards, I see myself doing movies or TV shows or possi- bly a singing career,” she says.
In the short-term howev- er, the Hilo girl plans to keep busy as a regular teenager (she loves going to the skate park and hanging out with friends at the beach), while indulging herself in other ac- tivities, including dance and martial arts classes.
Now that the video’s out there, Meili’s been pleasantly surprised by the reception.
“I got a lot of support from the fans, too — the KatyCats were great. I don’t know how they found out it was me, but they knew before it was out.”
There’s little doubt she’ll get there, given her focus and the support from her family, which also includes younger brother Cashton.
“I just started boxing,” says Meili. “I wanted to protect myself when I’m older.”

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