Kaui, left, and Taquita are best friends whose attempts to make it in Las Vegas are tracked by MTV. Kaui was born in Hawaii and spent much of her childhood here.
A Hawaii-born singer joins her best friend on a reality-TV quest to "make it" in Las Vegas
MTV's newest star, Kaui, hopes that her fair hair doesn't make people think she's just "some blond girl named Kaui." Quite the contrary. Hawaiian blood runs through Kaui's veins, and with it, more than a little musical talent. Her father is songwriter Matthew Beamer, a Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner who can sing and strum a guitar and ukulele with the best of them.
"Taquita and Kaui"
Premieres at 10:30 tonight on MTV
Kaui, 23, and her best friend, Taquita, a 20-year-old from Detroit, share personal successes and struggles in their new eponymous reality series on MTV. The lighthearted, family-friendly comedy premieres tonight.
Both starred in "Making the Band," a competitive reality series on MTV, although neither was selected. But along the way they forged a lasting friendship.
Taquita stayed in touch with one of the producers and shared her plans to move to Las Vegas with Kaui to pursue an entertainment career. MTV asked to follow along. "We were like, what?" Taquita exclaimed from Detroit, where she was visiting family after completing the eight-episode series.
"We moved to Vegas thinking we were going to get the best jobs," Kaui said from her mother's house in Colorado. "But we also had to pay our bills, so we were kind of open to doing whatever it took." They start out as magician's assistants, a not-so-glamorous undertaking.
Why Vegas? "I just fell in love with it. It's all about entertainment; it was something fun and new," said Kaui.
"Plus, if we're not good enough (at one job), we can walk right across the street!" Taquita said of the abundant opportunities.
Kaui, who was born in Hawaii and spent some of her childhood here, hopes to visit her many relatives soon. Her father attended the Kamehameha Schools, and her mother, Charron Ackerman, also born and raised in Hawaii, captained the Punahou dance team.
"It's a big part of me," she said. "I love it out there; it's laid back, and that's how my personality is -- laid back but also hard-working."
The girls remain focused about their plans. "I would just hope for future success in the business. Hopefully this show is going to be a good steppingstone for us," said Kaui.
The first episode shows the girls reuniting in Vegas following a long separation after "Making the Band." They set up in a low-budget motel, wondering aloud at one point if they can pocket food from the all-you-can-eat buffet nearby. "The reunion," they said of the tearful, heartwarming encounter, "was absolutely real."
The two camera crews following them sometimes caused a stir, but the girls enjoyed every minute. "It's just our personalities and us being friends," said Kaui.
Even if immediate stardom doesn't come their way, Taquita and Kaui solidified a valuable bond. "It was a good awakening for me; we'd never lived together and we're very different," Kaui said. "I think our friendship has gotten a lot stronger. I really appreciate her being in my life. Now the world gets to see it, too."