Dinah Jane Missed Out on a HUGE Role, But She Couldn’t Be Happier
Flashback to a few months ago when Disney announced the big news that the animated film, Moana, would revolve around the adventures of their first-ever Polynesian Princess (cue applause), and Fifth Harmony fans freaked the eff out. There were so many signs pointing to our girl, Dinah Jane Hansen, that we thought we had this one in the bag. Needless to say, Harmonizers’ hearts everywhere shattered when they heard that Dinah would not be taking on the monumental role; fear not, because the 18-year-old beauty could not be happier with Disney’s Polynesian pick and she told us exactly why.
It’s been a few months since we were able to chat with the California native, so we definitely thought a catch-up session was long overdue. We talked all things family, culture and, of course, Fifth Harmony, and you won’t want to miss out on any of the fun!
We love how important your Polynesian culture is to you. As one of seven siblings, there must have never been a dull moment growing up.
“Yeah, you’re definitely right. There’s never a dull moment and never privacy (laughs). I grew up in a home with over 20 people, which was my story on The X Factor. I loved it, and it’s very common in my culture to have family around. My grandparents came from an island to America with nothing, looking for a better life. I’m super blessed and thankful for all their hard work and sacrifice, and I’m so happy that I can give back to them for all the sacrifices that they’ve made. I grew up in a musical family; both my grandparents sing. Every night it was always a talent show at my house. I love it! To this day we still hold talent shows (laughs). I just love how special it is and how we just gather up every night. It’s literally like Christmas, that’s how I think of it. We didn’t have much, but we had music, and that’s what brought us together. My mom and her brothers sing, and when I was little, I remember trying to sing in their group. I guess I wasn’t good enough at the time (laughs). I would have to tryout to be in there group! I love how with my mom and her brothers, no matter the arguments or anything, they knew that music brought them together. I’ve seen that and I’m a witness of that. Music is something that can heal any argument. It brings unity. I love that so much. I’ve even noticed for Fifth Harmony that no matter the circumstances, we always have music to unite us.”
What are some Polynesian traditions for your family?
“Weddings and church…I would always be the one that volunteered. Actually, I wouldn’t volunteer, my own family would volunteer me (laughs). I was super shy at the time. I wouldn’t have even been able to talk to you right now! I grew up with a loud family, so it was very rare for there to be a quiet one. They basically prepped me for what was to come now. They cracked my shell along with the help of the other four girls that I built a relationship with. It was a push, definitely (laughs)!”
It sounds like you have such a supportive family. Was there any family member in particular who really pushed you to take the initial leap of faith?
“Definitely my mom and my grandma. I remember when I was younger my grandma played piano and one day at church I was supposed to walk out and say something, but instead I got scared because I wasn’t much of a speaker. I was four or five-years-old, and when I got up on stage I opened my mouth and just sang. I sang, “Love One Another,” which is still one of my favorite songs. My grandma ran up on stage and just started playing the piano with me. I grew up loving music at that age, and I wanted to be the perfect little singer.”
Is there one celebrity also of Polynesian descent, that you’ve always looked up to?
“Growing up I didn’t really identify myself with any Polynesian artist, because there weren’t many. Like, we love reggae and there are some reggae artists, but as a female, there weren’t many that I could relate to. We didn’t have a Beyoncé, Alicia Keys or Mariah Carey. I couldn’t identify myself as any of them. For me to be someone now to another Polynesian girl to know that she can identify herself as me, because we come from the same background and were built the same image-wise (laughs), is very humbling for me, especially for females that want to be in this business. I’m super thankful because when I grew up I didn’t have a Polynesian artist to look up to. Now, when I come across any Polynesian comments or meet any Polynesian fans at concerts, I recognize them and reach out to them. I remember being them. It’s special to me to have their support, as well.”
When Disney revealed details about the next princess, Moana, who also happens to be Polynesian, there were tons of rumors that you’d be filling the role. Even though, the casting has recently been announced, were you ever in talks for it?
“I auditioned for the role and I think my voice was a little too low (laughs). I just didn’t have much experience in the acting world. I mean, I kind of did because I went to a performing arts school, but it’s been a while since I’ve gotten back into it. I wasn’t expecting to get the role, but I was trying to experience this side that I haven’t touched base on. I am very, very happy for Auli’i Cravalho, the girl who got the role. I was very nervous and was hoping that they would make sure it was a Polynesian girl. We were all hoping just to see another Polynesian be able to make it. It’s refreshing. I’m excited for her because I know this is a big deal for her, as well. She has such a bright future.”
We’re all dying to hear the new music! Can you share any details about the next album?
“We definitely have a lot of things coming up, but we’re excited for the album at the moment. We’re working hard to release this body of work. This is definitely a different lane for us and a more mature album. We’re actually including our ethnicity into this album, as well. It’s an identity of us and all five of us kind of have island in us, as well. It’s been a year since we released new music, so there’s been a lot of experiences that we’ve been through; a lot of breakups, love, relationships. As of now we are going to incorporate our stories into this album, just so it’s real. I feel like the first album was so jumpy, but this album we’re going to be a little more vulnerable in singing.”
In a recent interview, you said you think Nicki Minaj would be a good fit on one of the tracks. Are there any updates on that?
“That was actually just a dream collaboration! We were throwing out ideas and were like, ‘It’d be so good if Nicki Minaj could jump on this track!’ We share the same messages of feminism and girl power, as well. I went to one of her concerts and we definitely all want her on this. It’s a dream, so we’ll give a quick shout-out (laughs)!”
Do you have any idea when it will be released?
“At the moment, we’re still working on it. We don’t want to rush anything, but hopefully the beginning of next year. I remember last year, we kept holding off the dates of this album. We were just making sure that it was up to par and at its best. We’re trying to do the same thing for this one and not rush it so much, and really get everything on it.”
Speaking of new music, Camila and Shawn Mendes just announced their collab together. Have you heard it yet?
“Yes, I actually just heard it. You cannot deny good music! It’s such a great song and I am so excited for it.”
One Direction fans have been preparing for the guys break ever since they announced it a couple of months ago. Then, there were talks that 5H would be doing something similar. Should fans be worried?
“No, not at all. I feel like we’re different from them because they’ve been together for a long time, longer than us. We just started and are just stepping our feet into this. We’re working our foundation before there are any talks of breaks. So, no panic mode necessary! We’re very, very excited for this new album to come out and are staying focused on it.”