Been meaning to share this the last couple weeks but kept putting it off. I guess I've just been too shy. I've never really shared anything too personal on the blog before. Never know how much to share, in fear of boring people, or in fear of my blog turning into something I hadn't intended. But, I have a lil story to share and I think/hope this post will be appropriate. So here goes.
Well, from a quasi-beginning....my mother moved my sister and I to hawaii before I started high school, she and all of her side of the family being from there.
I am 5th generation of my family hawaii-grown. My grandma's grandparents were on the first ship of immigrants to Hawaii from Puerto Rico.
[This is mi abuela hermosa, as Miss Puerto Rico-Hawaii. I just love these pictures.]
My sisters and I were raised on the west side of Oahu in Waianae.
I attended high school there.
[This is the view from the football field bleachers. Yes, the school's right on the beach. Lucky yeah?).
And I attended the University of Hawaii college system, for art/animation.
One year, I passed by a bulletin board at school and saw a flyer for a design contest put on by Disney. I was extreeemely excited about it and entered as an individual. It was the Walt Disney Imagineering Competition, and U.H. happened to be one of the schools that participated in it nationally. So I wrote my own movie idea and built a theme park concept based upon it, with pitch boards, a storybook, a model, and other props.
After weeks of waiting on-edge, a very large envelope was delivered to me at work with a Disney return address. (Receiving an envelope like this, addressed to me personally, was the greatest feeling).
I opened it in front of all my coworkers and customers.
I had been chosen as a national finalist and would be flown to LA for 5 days to pitch my ideas, receive portfolio feedback, network, get behind-the-scenes tours of Imagineering, go to the parks, etc etc. I cried like a baby in front of everyone. :) So, I went, and I tied for 2nd place Nationally, in the individual category.
[me with the 2 big bosses]
And to top it all, I was honored they sat me next to Disney legend, Mr. John Hench, at the reception dinner.
He was such a lovely man and told me stories of he and Walt and his experiences at Disney all through dinner (and cheesecake dessert). I couldn't help but take his table nametag after it was over....
Too bad i was chicken to ask him to sign it for me.
The entire contest and trip were one of the greatest experiences of my life and one of my proudest achievements. It reconfirmed what I always wanted to do 'when i grow up,' and made me want to work even harder.
The next year the movie Lilo & Stitch came out, and I took my lil sisters to see it in the theater. I didn't know what it would be about, other than it was set in Hawaii and I loved how beautiful the watercolor backgrounds were. It turned out that the premise really hit home to me, as my family had been having similar turmoils, and being that I watched it with my sisters, it meant even more.
It was at that point, well within that year, that I made my mind up to try my luck on the mainland. I wanted to move where it seemed would be more opportunities and I could gain experience in the field I wanted so much to be in. Not just for myself, but with my family, especially my sisters, in mind.
So, I moved to L.A. a couple years ago.
Moving was exhilarating...
-It took me about 6 months to build up the courage to drive on any freeway (on Oahu, there are about 3. In L.A, thousands!) AND not to mention the homesickess...family, friends, the beach,......food.
But I have been lucky enough to meet some of the most amazing people and talented artists, and have built some incredible relationships. That in itself is priceless to me. Along the way, I've been lucky to work on some of the coolest projects I could've only dreamed about years ago.
Which leads me to this introduction and the point of this now novel-length post! In some odd/crazy/amazing twist of fate, I was introduced to the creator/director/writer of Lilo & Stitch, Chris Sanders. I'm excited to announce his new website, and very proud to be a part of it.
When I got the opportunity to help on this project, I was in denial. Then I did a cartwheel. And then I was in denial. And did another cartwheel.
I am just remembering the little girl in Waianae who dreamed of such an opportunity.
And thought it would be nice to share (and freak out my sisters at the same time). I'm just sentimental and thankful...
Thanks for reading if you made it this far.