Sydney Agudong’s ethnicity — Her Native Hawaiian ancestry explained

Sydney Agudong

Disney’s live-action Lilo & Stitch movie is dominating headlines for its casting choices and Sydney Agulong is the most recent addition. Sydney, predominantly featured in independent films, joins the cast as Nani, Lilo’s older sister.

But the casting decision became a topic of debate when people found that Sydney’s appearance did not match that of the animated Nani’s. The studio was once again accused of colorism for casting white-passing actors in the roles of Native Hawaiian characters. With the ongoing online discourse, it is time to shed light on Sydney Agudong’s questionable ethnicity.

Sydney Agudong is of Polynesian/Hawaiian ancestry with British-Irish and Filipino roots

Sydney Agudong is multiracial with Polynesian or Hawaiian ancestry. She was born and raised in Kauai, Hawaii (the very island where the events of Lilo & Stitch take place) to Karen and Kenneth Agudong. Her younger sister Siena Agudong is also an actress.

On her maternal side, Sydney is of British Irish and Hawaiian descent. Her mother Karen is from the Kapaa community in Kauai and has lived there all her life. She went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa and has been a realtor for over 25 years.

On the other hand, Sydney has Filipino roots from her father’s side as the surname ‘Agudong’ is of Filipino origin. However, the family is based in Hawaii and Sydney Agudong is considered a Hawaiian native.