Actress, model, legal scholar, soldier, business woman, social advocate…the list goes on and on. It seems like there’s nothing that Gal Gadot can’t do. Want to find out what makes Wonder Woman just so wonderful? Here are 24 wonderful facts about Gal Gadot.
Gal Gadot was raised Rosh HaAyin, Israel. Her father was an engineer, and her mother was a teacher. Although her father’s family had been in Israel for six generations, her mother’s family came from Europe; her grandfather survived the Auschwitz concentration camp before coming to Israel.
23. Humble Beginnings
Gadot has lived a pretty extraordinary life, but she got her start the same way a lot of us do. While in high school, Gadot got her first job working the fryer at Burger King.
22. Miss Israel
In 2004, while still a teen, Gadot was crowned Miss Israel. Gadot wasn’t particularly enamoured with the beauty queen lifestyle, however. She told People, “I showed up late to everything. They make you wear evening gowns for breakfast. I didn’t wear evening gowns to breakfast. I didn’t wear my makeup.”
21. Miss Universe
Nonetheless, Gadot was still expected to compete at Miss Universe pageant in Ecuador. She never came close to winning, and finished outside the top 15. I don’t know what the judges were thinking either.
20. Military Service
Israel has mandatory military service, and at 20, Gadot enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). During her two-year stint, Gadot served as a combat trainer; she spent much of that time teaching calisthenics and gymnastics.
19. Her Big Break
While serving with the IDF, Gadot was featured in a Maxim spread titled “Chosen Ones: Israeli Defense Forces,” which asked “Are the women of the IDF the world’s sexiest soldiers?” The spread, coupled with her notable experience as Miss Israel, brought her to the attention of modelling agencies and casting directors.
18. Modelling Career
With a Miss Israel title and a Maxim spread already under her belt, Gadot began a career in modelling, doing occasional work for Israeli clothing brand Castro. Since then, she has gone on to appear in ad campaigns for Gucci, Jaguar, Captain Morgan, and an ever-growing list of others.
17. Other Plans
Even as offers were pouring in for modelling and acting gigs, Gadot had other plans. After her time in the IDF, Gadot enrolled IDC Herziliya, an Israeli college, and began studying law and international relations.
16. Headed to Hollywood
In 2009, she was invited to audition for a part in the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, but she eventually lost the role to Olga Kurylenko.
15. Fast & Furious Fame
In 2009, the same year she lost out on the Bond part, Gadot made her entry into The Fast and the Furious franchise with a prominent part in the franchise’s fourth film, Fast & Furious, playing Gisele Yashar. Her years in the IDF came in handy here: Gadot said, “I think the main reason [I was cast] was that the director Justin Lin really liked that I was in the military, and he wanted to use my knowledge of weapons.” She also did much her own stunt work in the film.
14. Rising Star
Fast & Furious brought a lot of attention to the gifted Gadot. In addition to her recurring role in the Fast and the Furious movies, she was soon being offered roles alongside A-listers like Tom Cruise, Jon Hamm, and Kevin Costner. Between 2009 and 2016, she had roles in 11 movies.
13. The Innkeeper
Even as she climbed up the Hollywood ladder, Gadot was hard at work with a new business venture. After shooting Fast & Furious, she and her husband bought a hotel in Tel Aviv. Gadot was a hands-on owner, coming in to the hotel to change the sheets herself.
12. Wonder Woman
In 2013, Gadot landed her biggest role yet. Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. With this role, she carved out a place in the DC Extended Universe and guaranteed herself a starring spot in the Wonder Woman solo movie that was already in the works.
Some DC fans objected to Gadot’s svelte frame, saying her body (particularly her bust) wasn’t believable as that of an Amazon warrior. Scholarly Gadot educated them on Greek mythology, telling them “’listen, if you want to be for real, then the Amazons, they had only one boob. Exactly one boob. So what are you talking about here?”
Even director Patty Jenkins had doubts about Gadot. Jenkins told Playboy, “I read [the casting announcement] and my heart sank … I’m sure we wouldn’t have made the same choice.” Jenkins says she was won over by Gadot’s talent, work ethic, and kindness. As she said, “Frankly, I think they did a better job than I could have because I don’t know that I would have scoured the earth as hard to find her.”
Gadot worked hard to prove her skeptics wrong. In preparation for Wonder Woman, she trained in a bevy of martial arts, including sword fighting, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and capoeira. She claimed the training for Wonder Woman was more gruelling than anything she went through in the IDF.
8. A Little Secret
Gadot endured the rigors of (re)shooting the movie even while she was five-months pregnant! When she began showing, a green cloth was placed over her stomach so her baby bump could be edited out.
7. Box Office Smash
Wonder Woman opened to rave reviews, earning $821.8 million at the box office. The film had the highest-grossing domestic opening day ever for a film directed by a woman.
Not everyone was excited to see the movie. In Lebanon, protestors demanded the movie be banned because of Gadot’s prior military service and public support of the IDF. Lebanon is officially at war with Israel, and has an embargo on Israeli products. Wonder Woman did play in 15 Lebanese theatres.
5. Justice League
Gadot reprised her role as Wonder Woman for another 2017 movie, Justice League. While that movie wasn’t as successful–critically or commercially–as Wonder Woman, it does link the movies of the DC Extended Universe together; this means we can expect to see a lot more of Gadot’s Wonder Woman in the future.
4. Close Call
Gadot is a big part of the DC movies’ successes, but she almost ended up in a different comic franchise: Gadot was apparently very closely considered for the role of Nebula in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. That role eventually went to Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan.
Gadot has been married to Israeli real-estate developer Yaron Versano since 2008. Together they have two daughters.
2. Political Activist
Gadot somehow still finds time to support a variety of social causes. She has been a vocal supporter of Israel and the IDF, explaining she was raised in a very patriotic home, as well as an advocate for the rights of girls and women around the world. Gadot also worked with the United Nations to declare Wonder Woman an honorary ambassador for the rights of women and girls, and was disappointed when the UN rescinded the ambassadorship.
1. Just in Case
There’s just one more thing you should know before sharing all these amazing Gal Gadot facts with your friends: if you’ve never heard her name pronounced, it’s Gal Gah-dote, with a hard “t” at the end.