8 Celebrities From Hawaiʻi Who Made It Big (and What High School They Went To)

For a small state, Hawaiʻi produces some of the biggest names in sports, music and movies.

With a population of a little under 1.5 million people, Hawaiʻi puts out its fair share of musicians, athletes, actresses and actors. Here are a few locals from Hawaiʻi who have attained the status of stardom and, to answer everyone’s next question, what high school they went to.

1. Bruno Mars

Undoubtedly one of the biggest names to come out of Oʻahu, Mars has topped the Billboard’s lists time and time again after mastering the craft of producing catchy pop–singles such as “The Lazy Song” and “Grenade.” Mixing aspects of reggae, soul and R&B, Mars has taken a number of awards, most recently sweeping the field at the 2018 Grammy’s by winning Best Album of the Year, Best Record of the Year and Best Song of the Year.

Where he wen’ grad: Roosevelt High School

Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

2. Jacob Batalon

A newcomer to the field of acting, the Honolulu-born actor originally attended Kapiʻolani Community College with the goal of studying music. However, after dropping out and completing a two-year acting program at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, he was cast as Ned, Peter Parker’s plucky high school friend in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

Where he wen’ grad: Damien Memorial School

Photo: ABC/Eddy Chen

3. Auliʻi Cravalho

Being cast for the role of Moana at the age of 14, Cravalho was thrust into stardom at an early age. Initially not planning to try out for the role, an Oʻahu talent agency found her singing at a charity competition and urged her to audition. Now a full-time actress, Cravalho is set to star in the upcoming TV series “Rise,” as well as returning to “Moana” for the Hawaiian-language dubbing.

Where she wen’ grad: Kamehameha Schools

Photo: Flickr/Keith Allison

4. Michelle Wie

Beginning to play golf at age 4, this Punahou School graduate became the youngest player ever to qualify for a United States Golf Association amateur championship at age 10, only to be superseded by fellow Hawaiian and Punahou School graduate Allison Corpuz eight years later. Now a full-fledged professional golfer, Wie competes in the Ladies Professional Golf Association and won the U.S Women’s Open back in 2014.

Where she wen’ grad: Punahou School

5. Max Holloway

Fighting out of Waiʻanae, Oahu, 26-year-old Holloway stands as the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship Featherweight Champion. It was during his sophomore year at Waiʻanae High School where Holloway picked up kickboxing, eventually leading him down the path to mixed martial arts and ultimately the UFC.

Where he wen’ grad: Waiʻanae High School


Photo: ABC Family/Image Group LA

6. Janel Parrish

Parrish landed her first big TV role at age 11, on NBC’s “Baywatch,” where she played Hina, a young girl who is saved from drowning by David Hasselhoff. Following her passion of acting on stage, Parrish portrayed Young Cosette in the Broadway production of “Les Misérables,” while also appearing on “Zoey 101,” “The O.C.,” and “Heroes,” but she’s best known for her work as Mona Vanderwaal in the teen drama “Pretty Little Liars.”

Where she wen’ grad: Homeschooled, but was at Moanalua High School for her freshman year


7. John John Florence

Starting from humble beginnings on Oʻahu’s North Shore, Florence holds the current title of two-time World Surf League Men’s Champion. The surfing community knew Florence had potential when at the age of 13 he became the youngest surfer ever to compete in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Florence also happens to be the first surfer from Hawaiʻi to win a world title since the late, and great, Andy Irons, back in 2004.

Where he wen’ grad: Kahuku High and Intermediate School


Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

8. Jason Momoa

Sure, he didn’t go to high school here, but one of the most attractive men on the planet was born in Hawaiʻi. Returning to the Islands after finishing high school in Iowa, Momoa won Hawaiʻi’s Model of the Year 1999 award but still found himself struggling, working part-time at a surf shop. However, he soon found himself playing Jason Ioane on “Baywatch: Hawaiʻi,” and gained a cult following after playing Ronon Dex in “Stargate: Atlantis.”

Where he wen’ grad: Norwalk High School in Iowa

Categories: Arts + Culture