Read the story behind Popoki + Tea
Liberty originally hails from Wai‘anae and now calls Kaimuki home, where she lives with her cats Mara, Boo, and Rey. Liberty earned her bachelor’s degree in advertising from Hawai‘i Pacific University on a full-tuition scholarship. She’s also a graduate of Launch My Business, a local, federally sponsored accelerated entrepreneurial program. Liberty has a background in nonprofit public media in marketing, production, and management roles. In her downtime, she enjoys going to trivia nights with friends, catching up on podcasts, curating her Funko Pop collection, traveling to a big city, or enjoying the occasional live rock show.
Kamalei was born and raised in Kaimuki and Palolo, and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a certificate in ethnic studies. She still harbors dreams of becoming a Pokémon Trainer. When not trying to befriend and/or pet every animal she comes across, Kamalei loves to go on eating-related adventures, attend live music shows as often as possible, drink coffee at her favorite local spots, and take photos.
Cat Lounge Host
Abby was born in Novato, California, and moved to O‘ahu for college. She recently graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a certificate in women’s studies. She started at Popoki + Tea as a KAT Charities volunteer before officially joining the Popoki + Tea team in May 2021. She adopted her cat Gio, previously known as Trixie, from Popoki + Tea in its first year. When she’s not working at Popoki + Tea, Abby is either drinking all the iced coffees she can find, or traveling the world and learning new languages.
Cat Lounge Host
Kristi grew up in the Niu Valley area and now resides near the Pearl City area. She has been a long-time fan of Popoki + Tea and its mission, so being a part of the team has felt like a dream come true for her. She graduated from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Manoa with a marketing degree. She has three cats: her eldest cat Lio; Popoki + Tea alumnus Jingles; and Jingles’s brother, Bells. When she has the time, Kristi enjoys trying new restaurants, going out to all kinds of local events and festivals, and curling up with a good book, kitties at her side.
Marie Frances Pagkalinawan
Cat Lounge Host
Marie was born in the Philippines and moved to O‘ahu when she was 9 years old. She is pursuing an associate degree in medical laboratory technology at Kapi‘olani Community College. Marie has a great passion for animals, plants, microbes, and science. Her passion for cats started when she was only 6 years old. While she was growing up in the Philippines, Marie would watch her grandmother rescue cats, dogs and cows. In 2016, Marie rescued a 2-week-old kitten and surrendered her to CatFriends, a local nonprofit animal rescue, only to re-discover her 6 months later at a pop-up adoption site! It was kismet, so Marie ended up adopting this cat, who now goes by Bonnie. Marie also has a kitten named Clyde, adopted from Popoki + Tea. During Marie’s downtime, she loves traveling, gardening, and playing fetch with Bonnie.