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Islanders Away

Meet the six homegrown talents who’ve made it on the mainland, but whose hearts are home in Hawai‘i.

Kristina Anapau

Jason Tam

Darin Brooks

Kristina Anapau
There’s no doubt about it. Kristina Anapau must be a shape-shifter. This natural wonder has played it all, from fairies (the luminous Maurella on HBO’s True Blood) to swans (the balletic variety in Black Swan). About her morphing talent, Anapau just laughs: “Maybe I’m just a supernatural, mysterious kind of person!” On her ability to make the ethereal incarnate she credits her childhood. “It probably all comes from growing up in Hawai‘i, which is a place that is very grounded and easy to access the mystical,” she explains. A red-carpet regular, Anapau amazingly began her journey back at Hilo High, where she graduated at just 15. Eventually, she found her place on camera. “Everything I’ve ever wanted to do, I’ve done in a lot of ways. Now, I can create my reality.” At 33, Anapau is on the verge of a breakthrough. Case in point: her latest films Sighting and the action-packed BlackJacks. (In a twist, she packs a gun.) As for returning to True Blood, she can’t say. However, she confesses that she’d love to be a fairy vampire. Now that would be fantastic.

Jason Tam
As the song from A Chorus Line goes, actor Jason Tam is that one singular sensation. It’s no wonder, then, that this local boy earned his spot in the 2006 revival of the seminal Broadway musical. (Catch his audition for the role of Paul in the docu-flick Every Little Step.) Looking back, it seems that the Punahou grad was meant for the stage. A love for the theater would lead him from the islands to NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. From there, the Great White Way would not be far off. After a run in Lysistrata Jones—a melodic spin on the ancient Greek comedy–this phenom recently earned critical nods for Marry Me a Little, a scrumptious confection of Sondheim songs—all performed without a mic. Of course, Tam has starred on the small screen as well. To this day, he still gets rave reviews for his role as Markko on One Life to Live, a role he played for three years. When asked about whether he’d choose stage or screen, Tam takes the middle way: “What is the most appealing would be to do a little bit of both for the rest of my life.”

Darin Brooks
In just four years, actor Darin Brooks dated two of his adoptive nieces, was taken in by a nice Irish family, financed a smuggling operation and turned into a murder suspect. Rest assured, this local boy hasn’t hit bottom and wound up on E! True Hollywood Story. Instead, it was all for NBC’s Days of Our Lives, on which he played runaway Max Brady. (His performance earned him an Emmy in 2009.) “To be honest, I have never watched daytime television in my whole life,” admits the 28-year-old Kaiser grad, laughing. “People always give soaps a bad rep, but, in my experience, [Days of Our Lives] was the best thing to happen to me. It was like getting paid to go to acting class.” And it was a launching pad for his career. The four-year stint landed Brooks leading roles on Spike TV’s Blue Mountain State and the Hallmark Channel’s The Seven Year Itch, the latter of which debuted this past October. But he’s hoping for CBS to call. He’d love a chance to come home and star in Hawaii Five-0. “Man, that would be so much fun,” he says. “I could be the new hotshot cop!”

Click here to read the full article in the digital edition of Hawai‘i!