Teuira Napa is a big believer in trying new things and making the most of every opportunity she is given, even if it means completely stepping out of her comfort zone.
But when you talk to her, the first thing you realise is her Cook Islands roots play a huge role in keeping this beautiful and humble woman’s feet firmly planted on the ground.
The 26-year-old, who held the Miss Cook Islands title for three years and Miss South Pacific in 2014-2015, is studying towards a Political Science degree at Brigham Young University in Hawaii.
While there, she thought it would be fun to audition as an extra on the Hawaiian movie, The Islands.
After she read through some lines, the director took one look at her and asked if she wanted to play the lead as High Chiefess Kapiolani.
More than 800 young women had auditioned for the role, but Napa says it was her look and her slightly “British” accent that landed her the role.
“When the director called to say he wanted me to play the lead I was humbled, excited and nervous all at the same time,” she says.
The Islands is based on a true story and follows the journey of High Chiefess Kapiolani, who was an important member of Hawaiian nobility in the early 1800s and the first to accept and welcome Christianity in the country.
Other cast members included Oscar winners Mira Sorvino and John Savage, who took to the red carpet at the US premiere this week.
Shy and humble, Napa admits she’s nervous about the screening of the movie in her homeland.
“It’ll be great to see people come along and support this local girl,” she laughs.
If there’s one thing she does want to share with the young people at home it is to encourage them to be ambitious and dream big.
“Rarotonga is and always will be home for me and I never imagined that I would get the opportunities I’ve been given both here and abroad. I don’t know what the future holds but it’s exciting – could be more acting or working in Government,” she says.
“There is so much talent here, my words to all our youth is you can do anything, I’m proof of that.”
· The Islands premieres at the Empire Cinema on Thursday December 12 at 6pm, with all proceeds going towards the Miss Cook Islands Pageant Association. Tickets to the gala opening, with drinks and canapes, are $65.