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Through The Eyes Of A Real Life Action Hero » Tanoa’i Reed

Entertainment 04 Apr 2011   »   by TheWhatItDo
Tanoai Reed

As I sit here trying to figure out how a girl like me ended up writing an article for The Whatitdo, interviewing a modern day warrior and living icon, I feel like a barefoot, potbellied, island kid in the middle of a typhoon… SCARED! Talking to Tanoa’i Tasi Ae Afe Reed was like talking to a real life action hero. There is a lot at stake here; plain and simple – I must uphold the reputation of Tanoa’i Reed, the super hero.

Born in Hawaii on February 17, 1974, Reed is of Norwegian and Samoan descent. Raised on the North Shore, Reed identifies his humble beginnings by staying true to his Laie boy roots. “I did not want to be famous; I just wanted to be successful. I already accomplished all my goals. I have a wife, a son, a house, and that is all I ever wanted.” Reed has been married to his wife Suzanne Wailani for 14 years, and they have an 11-year-old son namedSamson. When asked if Reed thinks of himself as a sex symbol, the relaxed Laie boy with his heavy pidgin accent quickly rejects the question.  “A sex symbol? No way. My wife still thinks I am sexy even after 14 years of marriage and that is amazing to me!” Besides his great looks and superb physique, Reed’s main attributes are self-described as being “consistent, humble, faith[ful], [and having] an alofa (love) for all.”

At the age of 19 he landed a job as a laborer on the set of “Water World” in 1994. Upon receiving his first paycheck, the wide-eyed actor thought, “Are you seriously paying me to have fun?” The producers offered to keep the budding actor for the duration of filming. “I was supposed to finish my senior year, and not mess up my scholarship. I gave up my senior year, which I regretted, but I kept focused on my career. I had a taste of success and this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.” What people may not know is that Mr. Tanoa’i Reed is the official stunt double to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Yes, ladies, I said it. He makes our beloved “Rock” look good!!!

You have to give respect to get respect.

~Tanoa’i Reed

Tanoai Reed Stuntman of the Year

In 2005, Reed won the Stuntman of the Year award for the movie “The Rundown.”  When asked if the superstar felt like this was the turning point, he replied, “It meant so much to me.  I gained the respect of my peers.”  This drove the actor to “perfect his craft and drive harder.” Reed was not only destined for greatness but also is a pioneer to those who want to follow in his footsteps.  The actor explains, “I thought I was a commodity to doing stunts because I was so agile. With [my] athletic edge, I stuck out more than everyone else.  The stunt coordinators were like, ‘I never saw a guy your size!’ Our background matters in this industry. Because of the fa’a Samoa and fa’a Polinisia, we are raised [to be] respect[ful]; That is going to get you just as far as the athleticism.  You have to give respect to get respect.”

As real as the air he breathes, Reed passionately describes the important role that culture plays in his life and how he instills these values into his son, Samson Iosefa Tamasese. “It’s very important. Our parents and grandparents came from the islands to build a better life, but a lot of youth today try to assimilate with everything around them. My son is 11 years old and he knows everything about my grandmother, and I instill everything in him. We hardly have to scold my son, which is what my grandmother instilled in me… a conscience and culture. Just these stories alone in my family are enough to keep you going.”

This article is dedicated to all those who have laid the foundation for the many generations to come. For generations like Tanoa’i Tasi Ae Afe Reed! Fa’afetai tele lava! Malo ‘aupito! Vinaka sara vakelevu! Mahalo nui loa! Mauruuru roa! Nga mihi nui koutou! Thank you!

To follow Tanoa’i’s success, visit him on his website: tanoaireed.com or at: brandxstunts.org and make sure to check out the video of his stunts in action below!



Article Written By: Shanna Uhilamoelangi

*Photos courtesy of Tanoa’i Reed and Sue Reed
*YouTube video courtesty of sportsimproper2008

  • Taufalele

    great article! where can I get a Tanoa’i superhero action figure? Because that’s What it do!

  • AD

    CAN U SAY FINE?!!!

  • mari

    Great Job on the article.

  • MaryJane1628

    Shanna ‘Uhilamoelangi is an awesome writer…..she’s Tongan/Samoan…..perfect for this article.

  • LiftedPR

    Beautiful article! I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Reed in Puerto Rico where he was working on Fast and Furious 5…..very kind, hospitable and such a gentleman. We ran into each other many times during my 14-day trip and he was always polite and friendly! Kudos to TheWhatItDo.com on a great article. Keep ’em coming!!! Talofa! 🙂

  • Reupena23

    The Best Article I’ve read all Week! Love it! Good job Shanna!

  • Mele Tuita

    Luv it aunty! Job well done

  • Kuhila

    nice article aunty….i thought the Rock did his own stunts.

  • Appollonia Grey Uhila

    Hey Nana, job well done. MamaDee

  • doe3rp

    thats what it do!

  • calishiningstar

    Tanoa’i is of Norwegian and Samoan descent, which means he is HAPA/ AFE/ AFA KASI VIKING and HAPA/ AFE/ AFA KASI ISLAND WARRIOR… such a local boy with great humilty, personality and spirituality! This is a great example of the power of great childrearing, culture, spirituality, and WILL! Thank you Reed family and THEWHATITDO! Raise up Polys! Raise up people, EVERYWHERE!

  • IsaGirL

    Ditto caliShiningstar*! TheWhatitdo is exposing ALL the positive and successful Polynesians out there in our very own communities and in mainstream media that’s out there really doin it. What I love even more is the urban flavor each article brings. It’s exciting and it’s refreshing to read what’s hot! Keep up the awesome work.

    Bay wit It!

  • b52_love_shack_baby

    Shanna ‘Uhilamoelangi’s grandmother and the “Rock” are relatives…….she just does not know it…..

  • Ocean

    There are many legends that tells about Tagaloa…

    The arrival of missionaries in Samoa from 1830 saw the Samoan atua gods like Tagaloa replace by Christian diety. But the legend continues…

    Tagaloa’s reincarnation is Tanoa’i, the real life action hero.

  • Wegokuku4coconutz

    This is an AWESOME article Shana.. I think I first saw him as a gladiator right ? Correct me if i”m wrong.

  • Yes. He was a gladiator… awesome!

  • Pfllisa

    You are just rooted with TALENTS! Congratulations! I can totally see you having your own talk show… you go girl! GOD Bless & send my Alofas to your parents.

  • birdie_par_v-town

    tasi ae afe=====1 in 1,000

  • Henrietta

    Hi Shanna,

    I like your article and I’d love to reprint it in East Palo Alto Today. Let me know if this is possible. Send me an email. You have my email address.

    Best wishes!

  • Job well done!!! Keep up the good work!!!!

  • ali`i_soul-lee-eye

    seki a…number first!

About the author

  • AD

    CAN U SAY FINE?!!!

  • mari

    Great Job on the article.

  • MaryJane1628

    Shanna ‘Uhilamoelangi is an awesome writer…..she’s Tongan/Samoan…..perfect for this article.

  • LiftedPR

    Beautiful article! I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Reed in Puerto Rico where he was working on Fast and Furious 5…..very kind, hospitable and such a gentleman. We ran into each other many times during my 14-day trip and he was always polite and friendly! Kudos to TheWhatItDo.com on a great article. Keep ’em coming!!! Talofa! 🙂

  • Reupena23

    The Best Article I’ve read all Week! Love it! Good job Shanna!

  • Mele Tuita

    Luv it aunty! Job well done

  • Kuhila

    nice article aunty….i thought the Rock did his own stunts.

  • Appollonia Grey Uhila

    Hey Nana, job well done. MamaDee

  • doe3rp

    thats what it do!

  • calishiningstar

    Tanoa’i is of Norwegian and Samoan descent, which means he is HAPA/ AFE/ AFA KASI VIKING and HAPA/ AFE/ AFA KASI ISLAND WARRIOR… such a local boy with great humilty, personality and spirituality! This is a great example of the power of great childrearing, culture, spirituality, and WILL! Thank you Reed family and THEWHATITDO! Raise up Polys! Raise up people, EVERYWHERE!

  • IsaGirL

    Ditto caliShiningstar*! TheWhatitdo is exposing ALL the positive and successful Polynesians out there in our very own communities and in mainstream media that’s out there really doin it. What I love even more is the urban flavor each article brings. It’s exciting and it’s refreshing to read what’s hot! Keep up the awesome work.

    Bay wit It!

  • b52_love_shack_baby

    Shanna ‘Uhilamoelangi’s grandmother and the “Rock” are relatives…….she just does not know it…..

  • Ocean

    There are many legends that tells about Tagaloa…

    The arrival of missionaries in Samoa from 1830 saw the Samoan atua gods like Tagaloa replace by Christian diety. But the legend continues…

    Tagaloa’s reincarnation is Tanoa’i, the real life action hero.

  • Wegokuku4coconutz

    This is an AWESOME article Shana.. I think I first saw him as a gladiator right ? Correct me if i”m wrong.

  • Yes. He was a gladiator… awesome!

  • Pfllisa

    You are just rooted with TALENTS! Congratulations! I can totally see you having your own talk show… you go girl! GOD Bless & send my Alofas to your parents.

  • birdie_par_v-town

    tasi ae afe=====1 in 1,000

  • Henrietta

    Hi Shanna,

    I like your article and I’d love to reprint it in East Palo Alto Today. Let me know if this is possible. Send me an email. You have my email address.

    Best wishes!

  • Job well done!!! Keep up the good work!!!!

  • ali`i_soul-lee-eye

    seki a…number first!

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