Joji Yoshida
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Friday - July 08, 2005
| Del.icio.us

Kuuipo Pharr is star material

Kuuipo Pharr has accomplished so much in her teenage years it boggles my mind. She’ll begin her senior year at Kamehameha Schools this fall where she’s an honor student. She’s the reigning 2005 Miss Oahu Teen America and Miss Central Oahu Teen Hawaii and participates in community charity events and appearances. This beautiful lady is a blend of American Indian, Caucasian, Chinese, Hawaiian, Korean and Tahitian. Her wonderful headshot was lensed by photographer Karl T. Tobias. I don’t know how she does it, but she manages her time extremely well. Recently signed with Tami Smith of Nova Scout Talent Agency, and Ain’t it Good Productions headed by Sandra Hardin Clemons. Kuuipo will be the first representative from Hawaii on Team USA. Her favorite actors are Jessica Simpson, and Tom Welling of TV show Smallville. Her main goal is to become a singer. Knowing her desire and dedication to succeed,Kuuipo will definitely become a shining star …

When I saw his acting chops, my first impression was that this young guy can act. Actor Chris Gritti was born in Anoka, Minn., but for most of his life lived in the islands. His breakout role was as Dante in R.E.M. by filmmaker Kamuela Kaneshiro starring Jennifer Sheridan and Laine Yoshioka. Chris is a former member of the All-State Jersey Choir and an accomplished singer. He spent several years in New Jersey where he says he got hooked on submarine sandwiches. Whether his hunger is for sustenance or tasty acting parts, he won’t be satisfied until he lands the big one. His credits are Blue Crush, My Wife & Kids, North Shore and a Bank of Hawaii commercial. Next for Chris? Hopefully a role on Lost

Growing up in Hawaii, she knew at a young age she wanted to be a filmmaker. Fast forward … Imelda Betiong graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in film and television from San Diego State. Started working in the film industry in Hollywood upon graduation. Currently she’s working as an editor on the hit ABC series Alias starring Jennifer Garner. Her film To Kill A Mole premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. The movie starred Kailey Kaneshiro and was produced entirely in Hawaii. Kailey landed the leading role of Lacey over numerous other talented young actors. Imelda is currently in the isles directing Grandma’s Recipe featuring Mane and Charlotte Dias as Grandma …

Musician Kai Laigo is the founder and lead guitarist of Magnum Carnage, a redesigned heavy metal band. We met on the TV series North Shore and hit it off immediately because we both have a martial arts background. Kai’s a mixed martial arts competitor and studies jujitsu and pankration, which originated in ancient Greece. Kai added first female member, keyboardist Cassandra Metterich, to explore a more mainstream sound to their music. The band is comprised of guitarist Daniel Fernandez with Alex Nagata on drums. The band performs at various clubs in town. Show biz talent runs in the family with brother Maui Laigo,who starred in the award-winning film Kamea. Malia Verdadero plays the love interest, by the way. Kai idolizes actor Shinichi ‘Sonny’ Chiba, who co-starred in Kill Bill with Uma Thurman

Producer Dennis James Lee slated to visit the islands soon to promote D-War. The movie was directed by Korean comedian turned filmmaker Hyung-rae Shim. Actors Robert Forster, Jason Behr, Elizabeth Pena and newcomer Amanda Brooks star. The movie is based on a Korean legend about creatures returning to Earth to wreak devastation. Dennis is a McKinley graduate but also attended Hawaii Baptist Academy. Dennis will be pitching his next film Hula Girl to local investors. Tinseltown producers are also inquiring about the script. The wish list of actors includes Hilary Duff, Kristen Kreuk and Lindsay Lohan

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