Imagine, a place unspoiled by progress, rich in natural resources, where one could live entirely off the grid. Here, you could rely on the land to provide sustenance, living a minimalist, self-reliant lifestyle. Surrounded by lush flora and fauna, feeling the earth under your feet, and bathing in local waters creates the opportunity to connect with nature while soaking up the history, magic, and lore of the island. It is in a setting such as this where we let our imagination roam free, envisioning a simpler life, removed from the modern world, where hard work is rewarded with glorious beauty and profound serenity.
The Last Tahitian Princess
When we determined that the theme of this issue would be “return to nature,” we made two key decisions. First, we wanted a location that was breathtakingly beautiful, untouched by the modern world in many ways, and brimming with natural resources where one could live entirely off the land. Second, we wanted to find raw beauty and talent rather than choose a famous model. So, our search to discover our next cover girl began. As fate would have it, our quest brought us to the islands of Hawaii. There, we found the real life Moana: a Polynesian Princess and last descendent of Marau Ta’aroa, the Last Queen of Tahiti. We’re proud to introduce Kahealani Papke, known to locals as Kahea.
Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii
Much of our photo shoot took place on a majestic 4,000 acre property, which was chosen for its historic significance and breathtaking beauty. Dating back to the 13th century, the earliest Hawaiians considered this area sacred, and for hundreds of years it was reserved for royalty learning how to govern their land. It was the home of kings, including the Kamehameha lineage, descendants of King Kamehameha the Great who united the eight sovereign islands of Hawaii into one kingdom. An American missionary, Gerrit P. Judd, became a trusted advisor and minister to King Kamehameha III of Hawaii. The King sold him the land in 1850, and they established Kualoa Ranch. Today, it’s a working cattle ranch owned and operated by the Morgan family, descendants of Judd. The ranch is also a private nature reserve and a living memory of what Oahu looked like more than 150 years ago. The name “Kualao” means long back in Hawaiian, which refers to the ranch’s deep valley and soaring mountainous peaks. Many famous movies and television shows have been filmed here, including Jurassic Park and Lost.
To read the rest of our cover story in our print magazine, including the behind-the-scenes, and to see dozens of gorgeous photos, subscribe here.