Beyond The Press Release – Poi Planet Style Award


EXPRESS YOURSELF – Music And Style Collide At The 39th Annual Nā Hōkū Awards 

Here at Poi Planet, we’re known for our PR work but also for our event and production savvy. This year, we’ve created a new contest and award, “The Style Award.” It is a pre-award show segment that’s been created specifically for the annual Na Hoku Awards and something that everyone, not just the final ballot nominees, can participate in.

What is style?

To many, style equals fashion. Style is self-expression through clothing, accessories, a great haircut, and, most important of all, attitude. Really great style doesn’t only reflect what someone is feeling inside, it can also transform these feelings to reveal our more empowered and confident selves. And in Hawai‘i, style is a combination of influences within our own cultural mash up. From classic Hawaiian, free-spirited bohemian chic, pared-down minimalism, or all-out glitz and glamor, anything goes for the island’s style mavens and mavericks.

During the arrival hour (4:00 to 5:00 p.m.) interested attendees get a chance to show off their outfit while a panel of experts judge them from head to toe on their overall style. The judges include Georja Skinner from DBED/Creative Arts Industries, designer, Allison Izu-Song, and Carol D’Angelo & Dexter Doi of Ecolicious.

Prizes include a weekend staycation from the Ala Moana Hotel, outfits by designer Manaola and Allison Izu, accessories by Reyn Spooner and Ecolicious, and haircuts by Dayna Okuma-Mau of DADA Salon. The winners plaques will be designed by KoAloha Ukulele. The wahine and kane winner will be announced during the dinner portion of the evening.

Bring your A-game. Good luck!


The Write Time

The writing flowed on this day.

The writing flowed on this day.

I was lucky to attend the recent Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) Creative Lab event with Meg LeFauve, known for her script and one of my favorite films, Inside Out. I’m one who is always interested in learning more and especially learning from others that I admire in the business. Oh man, this was a real treat for me. When she explained her creative process, I found many things that she said to be in alignment with how I approach my work (and think). I was so inspired by her words that after being prodded by my business partner, Guy Hess, and friends/colleagues, Robert Lambeth and Georja Skinner, I decided that I would work on writing my own material.

In my business as a publicist or a PR professional, it is a large part of my job to create strong story angles and write for others, for clients, and help tell their story. Now I have the chance to get over my fear and write for ME. Wow, what a concept. I’ve kept journals my entire life. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I remember writing a crazy story about a family of cockroaches that my 5th grade teacher was impressed with. But I never thought of writing for me, for myself, for my own pleasure… until now. Why now? Well, I think it has a large part to do with aging, maturing, and wanting to leave something behind. Also I’ve had quite an interesting life and so many funny things have happened along the way, that I feel like I should share them.

This past weekend, I invested time in myself and attended the third annual Ko’olau Writer’s Workshop at Hawaii Pacific University (the former Hawaii Loa College) and to my surprise, I had a BLAST. I attended the first one that my pal, Tyler McMahon, coordinated a few years ago, but I mean this time- I took in every word, soaked up everything the guest speakers had to say, listened and leaned way into the guest poetry speaker’s well crafted words. I was like a kid in a candy shop. While I was trying to look professional and pulled together on the outside, I was screaming with joy on the inside. Some of my writing colleagues might say I’m late to the game and a bunch of my friends in LA where I lived for a long time, will say “finally Tracy!” Its all good. I’m where I’m supposed to be right now. Or make that write now;)

So long 2013… it’s been a wild ride.


I have to say that 2013 was a very busy year.  It also was a year that came and went much too quickly.  While the Poi Planet plate was quite full to say the least, I think the nicest thing about the year was being able to meet and work with a lot of new folks.  When you work in the industry I’m in, projects (and people) seem to come and go, so it is pretty cool when you bump into like-minded others, get to work on fun projects together, and really do some good in the community.  Some of those projects included the annual Keiki Day with the staff of Parents And Children Together (PACT), the launch of Doraku Sushi in the revitalized Kaka’ako area, being able to work with the beautiful ladies of Hello Makana and their unique care packages, and also the talented artists involved in Mele Mei and the annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Sometimes I pinch myself and think, “is this really happening?”  I don’t want to sound too geeky, but even I get excited by the mere fact that I have the chance to tell other people’s stories and get them out into the world.  So to all of you that I’ve met, or have gotten re-aquainted with, or got to play in the same sand box with…  I wish to say a very hearty “mahalo nui loa” and hereby give you a big, fat, virtual hug.  Thank you for making my wishes come true and allowing me to be a part of your year.

Here’s to a happy, prosperous, abundant, positive, and super creative 2014!

“The Haumana”


About two years ago, I got involved with a dear friend’s (Keo Woolford) film project.  The working title back then was “Under The Hula,” and chronicled the life of a cheesy Waikiki entertainer named “Jonny Kealoha,” and his journey back to his hula roots.  This indie film was a labor of love and qualified as a (super) micro budget project by movie standards.  Since I have past experience in casting, location scouting, and running lines with actors, I thought this would be something fun to work on so I helped wherever I could.  I was there at the beginning of the casting process and got to see about 90% of the local actors that would end up being in the film.  I watched young men read lines for the coveted lead roles, watched women read for the part of “Timo’s Mom,” and watched Kumu Hula, Robert Cazimero, put the actors through initial paces to access dance skill level.  Later, I assisted with a host of other odds and ends that needed attention.

Soon, filming began with shooting at various locations all over O’ahu-  beaches, in a hula studio, in a make-shift “nightclub,” in a high school auditorium, and in a gorgeous high-end home.  Then once that part was completed, it was time for a full year of editing.  Scoring the film came next, as well as the development of original songs.  Finally one day, Keo came over to my house so I could screen the film.  I was in awe.  It was a rough cut, but it was awesome and I knew that this would be a gem to promote and share with the world.  Fast forward to October 2013 and the indie film renamed as “The Haumana,” has taken the islands by storm, garnering awards along the way, and winning fans left and right.  The film is so special and has been building such momentum in a most authentic and genuine way-  mostly through a grass roots campaign.  People see the film, love it, then share it on.  This movement of “The Haumana” is the most amazing thing to watch.  Organic is the word that comes to mind.

Now, the film is enjoying a U.S. tour in film festivals as well as in 4-wall theaters.  Some involve Hawaiian or Hula organizations participating as well, which makes sharing the film even more fun.  If you haven’t had a chance to see it and would like to find out how you can do a screening  in your city, go to for further info.  Trust me, you’ll love this film.  Congratulations to Keo, the cast, and crew!  I am so proud to be a part of this love project.


In The Beginning

Tracy2With more than 28+ years of experience in public relations, marketing and advertising, and a passion for the arts, Tracy Larrua has been described as a communication jade-of-all-trades.  A local girl from Hawaii, she spent 17 years honing her career in Los Angeles where she is regarded as a publicist and marcom specialist with a focus on integrated public relations.

Since relocating back home to O’ahu in late 2009, Larrua now splits time between Hawai’i and L.A. where she also conducts pr workshops for large companies, small business owners, and non-profit organizations, as well as specializes in one-on-one client training and pr coaching.

Larrua consults for a variety of clients including LA INC (The Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau), Parents and Children Together, Peace Bridge, FX-Group, Tom Moffatt Productions, Hula Nation Filmworks, KoAloha Ukulele, Aloha Pet Care, Doraku Sushi, Blue Tree Café, Hello Makana, Mele Mei/Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Loading Zone Arts, and Hawaii Duck Tours. Most known as a MarCom specialist for luxury hotel companies, Larrua has also worked for The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts (Regional PR Director), Starwood Hotels (Director of MarCom), and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (PR Director).

Prior to her move to LA, Larrua created and supervised public relations, promotions, and special event campaigns for a variety of advertising, retail, entertainment and travel industry clients including Peck Sims Mueller Advertising and the Kula Bay Tropical Clothing Company.  In addition, she played a key roll in the development and promotion of special projects including the Hawaii Jazz Festival, Okinawan Music Festival and the Kalihi-Palama Summer Festival.

With a background in entertainment and the arts, and alumnae of the popular James B. Castle High School and Ronald E. Bright Theatre, Larrua was the recipient of the very first dance scholarship.  After a long career as a dancer and choreographer (and a kid at heart) in Hawaii, she has been able to take her experiences in performing arts and continued to work with children in various promotional projects that included The Hawaii State Literacy Campaign “Read To Me,” Recycle Hawaii Project, The Oceanic Keiki Club, The University of Hawaii Rainbow Dancers and Catholic Charities’ Youth-At-Risk Program.

In both Hawai’i and Los Angeles, Larrua is very active in the culinary, visual and musical arts scene.  She created numerous ground breaking gallery shows including Art & Soul at The Bel Age Hotel and Arts 4375 at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, showcasing established and emerging artists from the local community, as well as produced the annual May Day in L.A. event for 13 years, which perpetuated Hawaiian culture and music.  When not working or volunteering, she can be found at her favorite beach in her O’ahu neighborhood, enjoying the art galleries in LA, or relaxing with her family in Pt. Dume, Malibu.



PeacebridgeI’ve volunteered for the last four years with Peace Bridge Inc. ( which was founded by my friend, Hugh O’Reilly Jr. The mission of Peace Bridge Inc. is to support the unbroken tradition of compassion and friendship between the Wolfhounds and the Holy Family Home orphanage in Osaka.  The organization was created to keep his Father’s (Hugh F.X. O’Reilly Sr.) legacy alive that he started years ago as a member of the 27th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, known as the “Wolfhounds.”

Each year, we coordinate the annual Summer Visit, which consists of four orphans who get to travel to Hawaii and experience life with a host family, plus numerous activities and excursions.  Upon arrival, a massive crowd consisting of community supporters, volunteers, media, VIP’s, Wolfhounds, and Peace Bridge board members greets the children with lei and hugs.  It is such a heart-warming experience and I get a little emotional every time I see them step out of the airport van, and into the welcome reception area.  I also secretly pray that they get adopted while in Hawaii.



KawehiKoAloha Ukulele is a client of mine and through the years, they’ve turned into a second family.  One of the best parts of my job with them is to help keep an eye out for musicians who would be a good fit for our Artist Partner program.  One day, Alan Okami of KoAloha, and Pali Ka’aihue, one of our artist partners, shared a link that they saw online of a “little girl” named Kawehi.  Turns out this “little girl” is a young 20-something year old, married for seven years, hard core musician in boots.  I tracked her down, well-  literally stalked her, and finally connected via email.  During a business trip to LA, I located her performing at Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade and found her to be so charming and humble.  Her style of music is very unique (she created some songs with a looping pedal and in one album, composes and recreates tunes with toy instruments) as well carries a magnetic on-stage presence.  I’m always proud to meet nice folks like her who have moved away from home in order to further their career.  In Kawehi’s case, you can take the girl out of the islands, but you can’t take the islands out of the girl.

From L to R:  Albert, Brian, and Kawehi, checking out various ukulele models in the KoAloha Ukulele shop in Kalihi, O’ahu.

Honu by the Sea


HonuByTheSeaWaikiki has a lot to offer adults but not so much when it comes to entertainment for the little ones.  Enter my schoolmate, Johnson Enos who is a brazilliant musician, composer, and producer.  He dreamt up a show called, “Honu By The Sea,” which is a musical extravaganza brought to life via “sea creatures” that educate kids on the importance of keeping our ocean healthy…  all within an hour, all in amazing costumes, all while singing and dancing. The show is on a limited run in the Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel so get tickets while you can.  For more information go to




GreatfulI’m blessed to be able to work from a home office type setting.  And sometimes it affords me the flexibility to work in other locations with the help of my trusty MacBook Pro aka Trixie.  We’ve been on many adventures together but one of the most prettiest places we’ve been recently was at the Elks Club in Waikiki.

It was in the late afternoon and I snapped this picture as I sat under a beautiful coconut tree with the sun peeking right behind it.  Such a far cry from the dark, dingy, basement office surroundings I had in the past (my hotel buddies will agree).  It is in these specific moments when I am so grateful to be able to enjoy my “office surroundings” wherever they may be.