Meili and Katy Perry on set for the "Electric" music video.  Photo courtesy of Astania Caputo

Hilo Teen Alongside One of the Best in the Business

Have you guys seen the new Katy Perry “Electric” music video? 

In case you haven’t, check it out here:  Besides Katy Perry and Pichu, recognize anyone familiar?  Like say, the girl in the video who portrays the young Katy Perry?  She has starred as “Jasmine” in the 2019 Center Stage production of Aladdin at the UH Performing Arts Center, “Dainty June” in the 18th Annual Palace Theater Fall Musical, Gypsy and sang at multiple events across the island (and even in China!).  If you have not guessed yet, her name is Meili Aspen!  The beautiful and talented Waiakea Sophomore has an already impressive resume to start and just added another- starring in a music video alongside one of world’s biggest pop music icons! 

The burning question… what was Katy Perry like? 

Meili said that she was really nice, talked story with her and found that they both had several things in common- including nicknames.  Meili mentioned that Katy gives the best hugs because they had a motherly feel to them.  On set, both Meili and Mom/Manager, Astania Caputo, said that Perry’s team were very accommodating and treated them very well.  “It was my first time working on a video set, it was really cool, actually.  I know I want to do this for my future now that I got to experience it.”  Astania also added that Katy was kindly inquisitive, asked her many questions and genuinely wanted to get to know her and Meili.  How awesome is that?! Totally, if you ask me!?

When asked what her thoughts about discipline and success was, Meili said, “I think that you just have to be really hard working and you have to put the negativity that comes at you aside.  You can’t let it bring you down at all, otherwise, then you will be set back and the people who want you set to be back, you know, they got that accomplished, so you just have to keep pushing forward.”  Mom agreed, highlighting the fact that hard work is a major component that contributes to discipline and success.  

In the video, Meili portrays young Katy Perry on her journey towards success and ironically, she is on that very same path.  Astania, being first and foremost Meili’s mother, then manager, supports the decisions that she makes independently and helps her build on them.  “All of the things that she’s done is basically because she desired it, it was never forced upon her to do.  I would introduce many kinds of things to her.  It is good that they have their own voice.  Familial support is important, but make sure that it is about the child.  You have to go with your gut, realize whether or not your child has what it takes.     

Sacrifice and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Don’t have stars in your eyes. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.  It takes hard work, discipline, understanding your abilities and really growing and building upon those abilities.”  Also, working with knowledgeable and talented people in the business is attributing factor, as well. 

Astania credits Larry Reitzer, Broadway and Hollywood Veteran and Marlise Ahuna, Hawai’i Opera singer, to name a few, who attribute to Meili’s professional and skill development.  “Lots of talent here on the Big Island.  Get involved in the right things, being meticulous in what you do, know what you want to do, don’t just take anything that comes your way.” says Caputo.

Meili Aspen has been a natural since the age of 3, picking up the mic to sing and dance and has grown into a multi-talented young woman.  Her interests include acting, dancing (Ballet, Point, Jazz, Contemporary and Tap), martial arts, modeling, singing and now learning how to play the piano.  Through all the activities she participates in, she stated that she, “Definitely feel that I’ve grown as a performer- my acting has improved a lot and so has my singing.  I feel like the more I practice, the more I get better, and the more opportunities come.”

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