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If you thought the macadamia nuts Aunt Betty once gave you were the only tasty things to come out of Hawaii, think again. Oahu native and Vegas transplant Taylor Makakoa has been heating up the Strip for the past few years as assistant to Terry Fator, ventriloquist extraordinaire at the Mirage. Now pay attention, dummy!

Vegas seems like an intense place to get into showbiz. Weren’t you nervous?
Not at all! When I was 15, I started traveling around Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia. By the time I was back in Vegas, I’d been modeling so long that the stage was really no different.

 

Any favorite shoots?
The coolest magazine gig I ever did was on a remote beach in Thailand. I was wearing crazy thigh-high Harajuku-girl stockings. It was really hot!

Well, that’s more than you wear onstage at the Mirage…
Definitely! My favorite outfit is the military one, because I know the military guys like it. But most of the audience prefer the nurse outfit. That gets a big reaction.

What did you think when you first saw the puppets?
I was nervous ’cause I didn’t know how to handle them. I’m not a puppet person!

Probably for the best. Got any secret talents of your own?
I do tae kwon do and fire poi balls, which are balls on a chain that you light on fire and swing around.

Wow, that’s pretty crazy. And speaking of crazy, how did you celebrate your recent 21st birthday in Vegas?
It was so much fun! I went to a hip-hop club and drank a lot of vodka and smoked a hookah. I also tried gam­bling. I made money on video poker, but then I played one game of roulette and lost everything. It hurt!

Taylor Makakoa