Though her role as the unlikely girlfriend of the eponymous dunderheaded character in Wayne's World (1992) would propel actress/model/singer Tia Carrere into what was seemingly an overnight success, the multi-talented entertainer had been appearing onscreen and making a name for herself as a vocalist since the mid-'80s. A native of Oahu (born Althea Rae Duhinio Janairo) who received her primary education at the Sacred Hearts Academy, Carrere first gained recognition at the well-known local talent contest Brown Bags to Stardom. Despite her reputation as having as much intelligence as beauty, it was her stunning looks that first caught the attention of a film producer's parents while shopping at a Waikiki grocery store -- a chance encounter that ultimately led to her casting in the 1988 feature Aloha Summer.
Subsequently moving to Los Angeles, it wasn't long before Carrere landed frequent model work, and though an opportunity to take a leading role in Baywatch proved unbearably tempting, the aspiring actress ultimately held out in favor of an impressionable role in the 1992 runaway hit Wayne's World. In addition to her memorable comic performance, Carrere's ability to provide all of her own vocal work assured that the film would also be a vehicle for her vocal talents. The remainder of Carrere's work in the '90s leaned more toward the comic, though her roles in True Lies (1994) and Kull the Conqueror (1997) soon led to more action-oriented roles and increasing voice work in such efforts as Hercules (1998). In 1999, Carrere took the lead for her own television adventure series Relic Hunter (inspired by the success of the Tomb Raider video games), and during the series' three-year run she would also appear in the television miniseries Merlin (1999) and provide voice work for the Disney feature Lilo & Stitch, as well as its sequel and television spin-off. Her album Hawaiiana (2007) was a tribute to her homeland and was nominated for the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album. A year later, her album with Daniel Ho, Ikena, went on to win the same award. Ho and Carrere returned in 2009 with He Nani, another Grammy Nominee. ~ Jason Buchanan