A Hawaiian actor who starred in the hit television series Hawaii Five-O was on Saipan to serve as one of the judges in an annual talent competition.
Roland Naauao was invited to be part of the panel that evaluated the contenders in the recently concluded Bridge Capital’s “CNMI Got Talent” held during the company’s Christmas party at the Pacific Islands Club last Dec. 14.
Naauao is the friend of Victoria Scott, mother of Shawn Scott who is the managing partner of the international investment banking and asset management company headquartered on island.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Naauao has been an actor for four decades, starting off in school drama clubs before he became a professional.
Although he has not acted on screen for a while, Naauao said he remains a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
In an interview last Friday, Naauao revealed how he started as an ambulance driver then later resigned after finding out that his friends working as police officers are receiving higher salaries. Thus began his career as a police officer, working his way up to become a member of the prestigious Metro Squad composed of police officers with martial arts experience and expertise, then later becoming the police commander.
“Because I was a police commander in Hawaii, I could not play any role as a crook or a bad guy. I always play the police officer,” said Naauao.
Naauao, who took on the role of Officer Olena in Hawaii Five-O, said that being part of the TV series was nothing out of the ordinary, explaining that he just acted out what was expected of him based on the script.
“When you’re in a big role, you can’t afford to screw up,” he told Saipan Tribune. “Otherwise, it’s going to cost the company. Next thing you know, you won’t find a job.”
Having been a part of the show’s cast, Naauao said he would get recognized in public and receive a lot of shaka sign, the hang loose gesture that has become as much a symbol of Hawaii as aloha.
Naauao, who has acted in several movies, disclosed that his favorite one was the 1966 film Hawaii directed by George Roy Hill and based on the novel by James A. Michener. The cast included Max von Sydow and Julie Andrews.
Nowadays, Naauao occasionally performs as a musician and emcee, but mostly spends his time following Victoria Scott in her travel adventures. “After I met Vicky, my life changed,” he added.
Naauao, who already served as a judge in last year’s CNMI Got Talent, said he doesn’t expect anything from the performers to give everyone an equal footing.
“You get out there, you sit back and listen to the quality of the music and if what they’re singing is making sense. If you sing a song, look at the lyrics because it tells you everything about the song. Keep practicing this and it’ll be easy for you to visualize the song. The people can almost feel this coming from you,” he said.