Nani is Lilo's big sister who was appointed as Lilo's sole guardian after the death of their parents who were killed in a car accident. She is said to be 19 years old in the first film. As a result of having to support herself and Lilo, she is often stressed and busy. Her busyness often interferes with her friendship with David, who later serves as her love interest. She cares deeply for Lilo and fears losing her to social workers like Cobra Bubbles. Nani is known for her inability to hold down a full-time job, due in part to the antics of Lilo and Stitch. She is also noted for being a terrible cook, yet excels greatly in mathematics and chemistry.
She carries the burden of supporting herself and her younger sister both financially and parentally. Naturally, she is usually very busy and under a great deal of stress. She loves Lilo devotedly, but does not always understand her. Nani often serves as a gentle voice of reason and advice in the films and show — and occasionally, not so gentle. In the original film, it was Nani who allowed Lilo to adopt Stitch from the pound, where he had been mistaken for a dog.
As a result of her stress, Nani is easily aggravated by Lilo and Stitch's antics, which often unfortunately interfere with her ability to find and hold a stable job. She frequently has to cope with and clean up after the various crises which involve Lilo, Stitch, Jumba and Pleakley (who often tries to help around the house, with mixed results). Her busy life sometimes makes it difficult for her to maintain a normal relationship with David Kawena, a local surfer, who is Nani's friend in the original film and future love interest. She is renowned among her household for her bad cooking. Her worst fear is noted to be losing Lilo to social workers like Cobra Bubbles, whom she at first disliked but, after the events of the first film, comes to trust and respect him.
In her debut in Lilo & Stitch, Nani wears an orange top with a pink heart on it, blue jean shorts, and tan boots with white socks, Later, when she went to find a job, she wore a blue top with khaki jeans and brown open-toed sandals. Then when she, Lilo, Stitch and David were surfing, she wore a two-piece blue bikini strip. Finally, near the end of the film, she wore a white shirt with red sleeves, blue jean shorts, tan boots and socks.
During most of The Series, Nani's primary outfit is the same blue top with khaki jeans, but with blue open-toed sandals instead of brown.
- It is quite possible that Lilo and Nani were both named after Queen Liliuokalani, the last ruling monarch of Hawaii. Lilo has the same first three letters of the monarch's name, while Nani has the last three letters of her name.
- Lilo & Nani
- If this truly is indeed the case, then that would make their connection to the song "Aloha ʻOe" that much more meaningful, as they, as a whole, represent the last Queen of Hawaii, the one who wrote the song.
- Many people often mistake Nani as Lilo's mother; in fact, there was a deleted scene in the original movie which had to be changed because test audiences had mistaken Nani for Lilo's mother.
- In almost all of her appearances, her tops are short enough to reveal her belly.
- In the original movie, Nani is shown to have a Mulan poster.
- In the intro sequence of the series, Nani appears in two squares in the hula dance, with her image and movements mirrored to one another.
- She initially worked as a Rental Hut worker, but later moved up to rental pavilion worker at the Birds of Paradise Hotel under Mr. Jameson.
- When Nani thinks someone is doing something crazy (particularly Lilo), she refers to them as "lolo", which means "crazy" or "stupid" in Hawaiian.
- According to Lilo in the episode "Sinker", Nani is revealed to have an addiction to chocolate.
- In "Slick", it is revealed that Nani used to wear braces in eighth grade.
- One of the experiments, Belle, acts as her alarm clock.