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Mixed Plate: Jason Momoa reflects on journey from Hawaii to Hollywood

HONOLULU (KHON2) - After an around-the-world publicity tour, Jason Momoa is officially premiering "Aquaman" before a Hawaii audience Friday night.

Before the premiere, Momoa performed the haka at Ward Theatres with his children, friends and some cast members.

It was a bittersweet night for the Hawaii born star, the culmination of a 20 year quest. 

Momoa is at the top of the Hollywood A-list.

But it comes with some sadness because the people who guided him into the spotlight are not with him on his big night.

Two decades ago, designers Takeo and Eric Chandler discovered Momoa, then the 19 year old boyfriend of one of their pageant contestants. 

He was working in a surf shop, folding shirts for $5 an hour.  

To give him a sense of style, they took him to Europe. 

To teach him humility and, they took him to Asia. 

"Yeah, my managers Eric Chandler and Takeo Kobayashi wanted to show me all these beautiful places. Through their eyes I saw a lot of beautiful things and places," Momoa said.

Chandler was recently in a Hilo hospital with respiratory and heart issues.

He and Takeo, also disabled after a stroke, are Momoa's hanai dads.  

"Everything Aquaman is about, he is about and that's what ties him indelibly to Hawaii," Chandler said.

"Eric and Takeo I love you.  I love you very much.  Thanks for getting me here," Momoa said during his premiere.

So while Momoa is enjoying the spotlight, he's not forgetting the people who taught him to reach for the stars.

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