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Call of the Wild

Island actor Keahu Kahuanui is ready to thrill on MTV’s Teen Wolf.  

Keahu Kahuanui chills out at the posh Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif.

Keahu Kahuanui may now live in Hollywood, but he’s left his heart in Hawai‘i. The O‘ahu-born talent moved to San Francisco as a child, but has roots everywhere in the islands. “My family is all over the place—on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and the Big Island,” he explains. When he comes to visit, he spends most of his time with his father’s extended family, but occasionally opts for solo hiking trips to regroup between gigs. “Even though I left at an early age, it is definitely my native place that I like to call home. When I get back from being in Hawai‘i, I’m ready [to work] again.” Kahuanui has good reason to take a break. The actor’s career took off after he landed the role of lacrosse-playing teen Danny Mahealani on Teen Wolf. “It’s changed my life,” he says. (Just see all his fan sites.) Catch Kahuanui on the cult series when it returns to MTV in June.  

How often do you get back to Hawai‘i nowadays? About once a year. I’d like to get back more, but it’s tough to leave town. I love Kaua‘i and the Big Island. It’s a different lifestyle there.

What’s the biggest difference between life in Hawai‘i versus L.A.? L.A. is a great city, but it can be overwhelming. It’s hard to escape the urban setting sometimes. In Hawai‘i, you can be in the middle of Waikīkī, but the drive to the North Shore isn’t far.

So what’s on your plate when you first get back home? Honestly, sometimes my first stop is at Foodland to get poke. [Laughs] I love Zippy’s. Or I’ll go to one of my aunties’ houses. They cook great Hawaiian food. I crave laulau or homemade kālua pig—not to mention, fresh poi. I can’t get my hands on poi in L.A. It’s hard to import!

What does your family think of your life in Hollywood? I’ve always been the black sheep of my family—but in a good way. I’m the oddball out. They admire my adventurous nature and the fact that I’m taking a risk.