While we were all bored and formulating an obsession of TikTok during the journey that was 2020, Auli’i Cravalho posted a video on the social media platform that nonchalantly informed us all she is bisexual. Nearly two years later, the 21-year-old Moana actress is starring in the latest queer rom-com and coming of age film, Crush, where two high school track team players form a sweet bond. And in a big win for representation, many of the cast and filmmakers involved in the Hulu film have personal experiences growing up and coming into their own in the LGBTQ+ community.
In Crush, Auli’i Cravalho stars as AJ, the co-captain of Miller High School’s track team, who is assigned to train the team newcomer Paige, played by Rowan Blanchard, who also identifies as queer. Cravalho shared her thoughts on starring in Crush:
So many LGBTQ+ movies and television shows have leaned heavily on the coming out storyline, but Crush not only doesn’t repeat those clichés, it also features a character established in her bi identity. The actress thinks it definitely helped that the movie’s writers Kirsten King and Casey Rackham and first-time director Sammi Cohen are queer as well. As Cravalho continued to IndieWire:
Recently, we’re beginning to see more representation like this in movies, such as with 2020’s Happiest Season, which had writer/director Clea DuVall drawing from her own experiences to tell the holiday comedy, which starred a predominantly queer cast including Kristen Stewart, Dan Levy, Aubrey Plaza and Victor Garber. Deadpool’s Karan Soni is developing a gay rom-com with his real-life partner as well and Billy Eichner is making history with a completely LGBTQ+ cast in his upcoming film.
When reflecting on her 2020 viral coming out to EW, Auli’i Cravalho thought the “funniest part” was that she had girlfriends in high school and didn’t think she was necessarily coming out. The TikTok was a spontaneous 3 a.m. post, but it’s very possible it paved the way for her role in Crush.
Prior to Crush, Auli’i Cravalho skyrocketed to stardom when she auditioned for Disney’s Moana and nabbed the voice role out of hundreds of actresses. She has since played Ariel in ABC’s 2019 live production of The Little Mermaid, making her Disney princess count to two. In 2020, she also starred in the music-themed coming-of-age film All Together Now for Netflix and Cravalho is expected to star in a movie version of Spring Awakening.
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