Miller Time's Over on "Baywatch"
Miller ('90) was waiting for a friend in the parking lot when he was asked to audition.
By Lindsey Libed
Clifford Kala'imaikalani Miller ('90) never intended to land a role on the world's number one television show, "Baywatch Hawaii."
He said he's been lucky all his life.
"Baywatch Hawaii" producers first discovered Miller when he tagged along with a female friend to the Honolulu audition, in May. After he had spent half an hour in the parking lot, a casting agent talked Miller into auditioning for the show.
Shortly following the audition, Miller, a firefighter at Kaka'ako Station #9, was chosen to play the role of "Kai," a firefighter and lifeguard on "Baywatch Hawaii." Almost overnight, Miller was transformed into a local celebrity.
"There's a sort of power to being a celebrity," he said. "It is so easy to do something good with it and the feeling you get back is unreal."
Although Miller graduated from the University of San Diego with a bachelor's degree in business and economics, he said that he finds himself most at ease in the fire station.
"I am going to pursue life by doing all the things I enjoy," he said.
He first got the notion to become a firefighter when he tagged along with a friend to take the entrance exam.
In fact, Miller surprised himself with a perfect score on his exam.
"At first, I thought I'd give it a shot," said Miller. "But in the end, fire-fighting has proven to be one of the things that I enjoy most."
As an alumnus of Iolani School, Miller said that the process of learning was more beneficial to his life than the material he learned.
"I gained discipline and maturity from going to Iolani," he said. "I learned to do what needs to be done."
His best memory of Iolani is being a part of a rap, lip-sync band called "Triple Funk and the Funky Fresh Crew," which consisted of three teachers and three students, including himself. The band performed scenes from music videos at school assemblies.
"I never got nervous," he said. "My friends used to tease me that I was too numb to get nervous."
He also remembers often being sent to the office of Mr. William Lee, the dean of students.
"I used to cause small-kine trouble in school," he said. "Mr. Lee scolded me a lot, but I knew he meant well. He really cares about the kids."
Mr. Lee best remembers Miller as being a rascal, but good-hearted.
"Kala'i Miller was a boy who would take risks," said Mr. Lee, "He had a wonderful personality. He had a way of talking with people that was very nice."
Ms. Ernette Au, one of Miller's former teachers, agreed.
"Kalai has the same sense of humor that he had when I taught him in kindergarten, seventh grade, and eighth grade," she said. "He was always playing tricks on people and then they'd forgive him when he showed his deep dimples."
According to Miller, his behavior earned him the title, "Kolohe Boy," the name he identifies with on all the Soljah commercials. Miller co-owns and promotes the surf brand Soljah. While not acting, fire fighting, or managing Soljah affairs, Miller enjoys various activities, such as jet skiing, surfing, paddling, canoe sailing, free diving, hula, playing the ukulele, and sailing to destinations such as Tahiti, with his sister, Pi'ikea.
"I thought I was busy before ÔBaywatch,'" he said.
Miller's mother, Rennette, said that he is a genuinely positive person.
"He has always been happy with his life," she said.
Although his future is not definite, he said he would like to settle down, get married to "a nice, local girl," and have a family someday.
"I look forward to family life," said Miller, "But right now I am concentrating on acting."
To Miller, aloha and a lot of luck are responsible for getting him where he is today.
"I have good angels," he said.
Miller is currently taking a break from "Baywatch Hawaii" and his job as a firefighter to pursue his acting career in Hollywood.
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