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The Coolest Jobs in Hawaii

What do you daydream about when you’re at work? Surfing? Shopping? What if you could do it for a living? This month, we found 11 lucky people who get paid to do what many would do for free.


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A fashion model, as shot by Kicka Witte.

Photo: Kicka Witte



Kicka Witte

Many men would kill for Kicka Witte’s job. As a fashion photographer, she works closely with beautiful—and sometimes scantily clad—models. Witte, born and raised in Sweden, shoots models flown in from around the world in her studio on Kauai or on the island’s secluded beaches.

“When you’re on the set of a photo shoot, especially a fashion shoot, you are surrounded by creative people,” says Witte. “The person who is doing the makeup is painting a painting on a person’s face. The woman doing the styling, or who made the clothes, is creating art. My job is gluing everything together.”
She says her job is the quickest part of the photo shoot, which can range from a few hours to an entire day.


Witte has been a full-time photographer for nine years, after working as an art director in advertising. She works mainly with European and Mainland clients, such as Wilhelmina models and Ford models, Girl’s Life magazine and City Smart magazine.

“It’s like an addiction,” she says. “You put the camera in your hand and your eyes change, you enter this other world where you know you can warp vision to create beauty.”



Photo: Mark Arbeit


Gaylord Holomalia

Not only does  Gaylord Holomalia get to make music for a living, his job at Avex Honolulu Studios has given him a front-row seat for performances that have gone on to become No. 1 hits. Among the stars he’s worked with: Kanye West, Mariah Carey and Jay-Z.

In some cases, Holomalia will handle engineering or producing duties; other times, his main job is making sure everything is up and running. The studio is packed with a million instruments and audio tools—“toys,” Holomalia calls them—and they’ve all got to be ready to go, just in case.

Some people might picture recording sessions as debauched parties full of groupies, drugs and drama, but Holomalia says the reality is much tamer. “The big-name artists are workaholics. There’s a reason these people are at the top of their game. We’ll often do 16- or 18-hour days. But time goes by so fast. It’s not work for me.”

His moonlighting gig is just as cool: keyboardist for local band Kalapana. The group has been on a groove lately, scoring a Hoku award this year for best rock album.

But Holomalia’s not going to quit his day job anytime soon. “I love meeting so many talented people from everywhere, and sharing ideas about music and recording,” he says.


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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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