Who Is Catherine Laga'aia? 4 Things to Know About Moana Actress - Wiki Bio Details

By Gillian Blum Posted:
Catherine Laga'aia, Moana

On June 12, Disney announced that Catherine Laga'aia will play the titular role in the upcoming live-action Moana movie.

As far back as February 16 of this year, Laga'aia had presumably been cast, given reports that Disney had chosen the Moana actress by that date.

Her dad's Instagram features a post from early May that had many wondering if he was referring to Moana as the unnamed "adventure" she is going on.

Though Laga'aia is a newcomer to the professional acting scene, with only one previous credit under her belt, the Sydney-born 17-year-old is no stranger to show business.

[ Moana Live-Action Movie Release, Cast & Everything We Know ]

Catherine Laga'aia Biography Details & Fun Facts

Moana Is The First Movie Laga'aia Is In

Before Moana, Laga'aia had only played one other professional role, having appeared in three episodes of Australia's The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart in 2023.

Catherine Laga'aia standing between two older women outside.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

She brought to life a young version of Frankie Adams' character Candy Blue, and can be seen in Episode 3 ("Lantern Bush"), Episode 5 ("Dessert Oak"), and Episode 7 ("Sturt's Desert Pea") of the series.

With her character in The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart being her first (and only) professional role before Moana, Laga'aia will make her cinematic debut in the upcoming Disney movie.

Her Dad Was in Star Wars

While Catherine Laga'aia is relatively new to the world of show business, her dad, Jay Laga'aia, has been an actor for decades.

Notably, Jay Laga'aia played Captain Typho in Star Wars Episode II (Attack of the Clones) and Episode III (Revenge of the Sith). He also hosted a show for preschoolers called Jay's Jungle from 2015 through 2018.

Other credits of his include Senior Constable Tommy Tavita in Water Rats and Nick Pickering in Bed of Roses.

She Is One Of Eight Siblings

As a March article in The Daily Telegraph pointed out, the entire Laga'aia family, including two parents of eight children, is talented. At 17 years old, Catherine Laga'aia is the second-youngest.

Outside of her professional role, Catherine Laga'aia herself has participated in school spectaculars and performances — events that her dad has posted on his Instagram account.

Catherine Laga'aia's older sister plays netball for the Queensland Firebirds, and two of her brothers have seen success on the stage, with one having toured with Hamilton, and the other having played Benny in a production of Rent.

Laga'aia Has A Personal Connection To Moana

As shared in Disney's press release announcing Laga'aia's casting as Moana, the young actor is passionate about her connections to Moana's story.

She shared that she is "excited to embrace this character," as Moana is "one of [her] favorites." Beyond that, though, she is proud "to represent young girls who look like [her]."

Moana, the character, is of Polynesian descent, and Laga'aia's family comes from places like "Fa'aala, Palauli, in Savai‘i" and "Leulumoega Tuai on the main island of 'Upolu in Samoa:"

"I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites ... My grandfather comes from Fa‘aala, Palauli, in Savai'i. And my grandmother is from Leulumoega Tuai on the main island of 'Upolu in Samoa. I’m honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me."

Catherine Laga'aia's live-action Moana will hit theaters on June 27, 2025.

- In This Article: Moana
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- About The Author: Gillian Blum

Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.