Hawaii McLaughlin Talks Career, Martial Arts & More


( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Actress Hawaii McLaughlin Started Out as a Professional Cheerleader Who Soon Fell in Love With Martial Arts

ENSPIRE Contributor: Alexandra Rivera

McLaughlin was a professional cheerleader from a young age and branched out into modeling, growing her social media accounts, landing paid partnerships with Lucky Dog Entertainment, IMAX, and more. 

McLaughlin was born in Florida and is living in Colorado. She is currently taking a break from competitive cheerleading which, she did for nine years, to practice martial arts. She started her modeling career and social media when she was only nine years old and now she’s even venturing into acting. 

Photo of Hawaii McLaughlin

What made you want to get into martial arts?

I am half Korean and when I am doing martial arts I feel like I am connecting with my heritage. Obviously, not all martial artists are Korean, but it’s nice feeling a connection to Asian culture. 

What is it like training under Lewis Tan?

Lewis is such an amazing martial artist. Training with him is insane. Watching his kicks and everything he does is so intense. He is very encouraging and supportive whenever we’re training. I’m very appreciative to everyone who has helped me, especially when it comes to my training. I would like to say thank you to the Tan family. 

How has your experience as a professional cheerleader and modeling helped you advance in your career?

Cheerleading definitely helped with my balance, strength, and flexibility. It made the transfer to martial arts smoother rather than if I had no athletic background at all. Modeling gave me my introduction to the industry and let me find what I liked and what I didn’t like. It showed me different paths that lead me to where I am today. 

What advice would you give someone who is trying to become an actress? 

If acting is what you love, just focus on your craft and your time will come. Be ready and be patient. 

What was it like working with Lucky Dog Entertainment and IMAX?

I love Marci and working with a corporation as iconic as IMAX is so fun and such an amazing opportunity. 

What is the next step in our career?

Taking things to the big screen. 

Photo via McLaughlin’s Instagram

McLaughlin has so much of her life ahead of her and with all her experience in the industry, she will go far. McLaughlin was even invited to the movie premiere of Bullet Train, which features performances by Brad Pitt, Bad Bunny, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, and Brian Tyree Henry. In the future, she will continue to pursue acting and her goal is to end up on the big screen. 

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