Auli’i Cravalho has given her official approval for all “Moana” Halloween costumes regardless of skin color.
“I think Moana is a character for anyone who wants to be the hero or heroine of their own story. If you resonate with the character, you dress up as that character. For me, that’s what that is,” the actress told Variety at Monday’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” premiere at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. “I didn’t get to dress up as Moana because I couldn’t find an outfit my size, so everybody better dress up as Moana for me.”
Cravalho’s comments come on the heels of a long standing debate about whether or not the film’s Pacific Islander costumes constitute cultural appropriation. The issue first emerged in 2016 when the Walt Disney Company came under fire after releasing a Maui costume, which consisted of a tattooed brown body suit and a grass skirt. Opponents of the costume accused Disney of appropriating Polynesian culture, ultimately leading to the company pulling the costume in response to the widespread criticism.
A year later, the debate was reignited when parents took to Twitter to find out if their children should dress up as Moana, the film’s titular princess character. The response was mixed, even spawning a Cosmopolitan article arguing against children donning the princess’ outfit unless they were of Polynesian descent themselves, ultimately concluding that the costume should instead be used as an opportunity to teach young children about racial sensitivity.