(photos by Waldy Martens)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
”Aloha! It’s your girl, Kei. Oldest of three badass siblings raised by single Mom and Wonder Woman, Nani Belle Browne. I am my Grandmother’s Granddaughter. My ancestors are the Chiefs and matriarchs of the Lheidli T’enneh nation, <the People Where the Two Rivers Flow Together> (colonially known as Prince George, British Columbia). I’m a descendant of Polynesian navigators from the islands of Hawaii and Tahiti. I’m an actor and a DJ with a classical foundation and cultural background in dance. Leo for life. Sun Child through and through. Lover of storytelling in every form possible – movies, music, dance, art... healer, dreamer, change maker.”
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
”My first job in the entertainment industry was performing Hawaiian dance shows in my hometown with my family performance group The Hawaiian Sisters… think Jackson Five, but the all-girl, Hawaiian version… There are photos of me in a grass skirt, holding myself up by a chair and wiggling before I could even walk so there literally wasn’t anything before that… that was the true beginning of it all. Got it from my mama.”
3. Did you study acting before getting into the industry?
”Dancing was my true introduction to the industry. I left my hometown, made a bust for Vancouver, came home broke three times, then landed a Disney contract and things finally turned around. After that, I met with an agent who’s only condition to signing me was that I go take acting class… so I opened a door to a world I didn’t even know existed and fell completely in love with my new voice. Now, every corner I turn I’m discovering new ways to take ownership of the stories and narratives I want to tell, which has led me to writing and producing.”
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want,
who would that person be and why?
”I would love to collaborate with so many femme powerhouses… the list gives me tingles when I think about manifesting it. Ava DuVernay is absolutely one of them. I deeply admire and resonate with her work that strives to enlighten and illuminate issues surrounding systemic injustice.”
4. What does a normal day in your life look like?
”What I love most about my life is that the days always seem to be changing and flowing. Navigating a balance between conditioning (dance, writing, and music), developing new projects, spending time with my Ohana, being out in nature, and experiencing as many new places in the world that I can is what keeps me going… and then tucking and rolling when the curve balls hit. But even then, embracing the new adventures that offer themselves within that adaptation.”
5. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
”By the ocean, in the ocean, on the ocean…
I’m an island girl at heart and the waves are the most soothing thing in the world.”
6. If you could, what would be the one advice you
would want to give to your younger self?
”You are entirely capable and worthy. Everything you need to reach those goals and climb those heights is already within you. Lean inwards and trust the gifts and wisdom you were born with.”
7. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
”My mama reminds me never to put myself inside a box to make someone else comfortable. Shine unapologetically. Don’t sacrifice your spirit for anyone else’s comfort ever. Showing up fearlessly to share our light is our responsibility in this life on this planet. Make it count.”
8. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
”My survival and existence is the loudest and most honest thing I have ever done. I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams… and I am still here.”
9. If you could book any role in the next years to come,
what would that dream role be?
”As a woman of mixed indigenous Hawaiian and First Nations roots, I want to be part of rewriting, correcting, and reclaiming the narrative of Pocahontas and Princess Kaiulani. I think it’s imperative that we recognize these stories, these truths, deserve to be told by the voices and the people they come from.”
10. Is there anything you can disclose about Breathe?
”I’m so excited to work with Cody Kearsley for his directorial film debut on this project. I get to play as the lead, Grace and indulge all my dance fantasies because it will be an experimental piece incorporating a full ensemble movement finale. We will speak to the generational effects of colonization on Indigenous Peoples and explore the over-representation of this community when it comes to the battle with addiction and alcoholism. It’s important to me that we offer truth to these issues but also honor a tone of resilience. We will be taking the opportunity to incorporate a youth mentorship program with this production where we will invite Indigenous youth to shadow our crew members and get an introduction to the film industry. I always want my work to elevate and support marginalized communities. I hope this program will promote access and inspire the next generation of Native youth to share their stories with the world.”
11. What is the best part about life on set?
”Free food… long-lasting friendships… and of course the magic of story-telling.”
12. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
”Thank you, angels. Aloha nui loa”
Keilani Elizabeth Rose is an actress and producer, best known for her work on projects like: Flimsy, Within the Silence, All Joking Aside, The Color Rose, Woodland, Lucifer, Once Upon a Time, A Legacy of Whining, In the Deep etc.
Follow Keilani on instagram: