Considering that Gal Gadot is one of the hottest stars in Hollywood, you might assume that her road to Hollywood was an easy one--but that's not the case. Though she has long been celebrated for her beauty, she has not always had the glamorous life of a movie star. She was crowned as Miss Israel in 2004 when she was only 18 but then served in the Israel Defense Forces for two years as a combat trainer. Not many Hollywood stars have done that! However, her time in the military helped to land her first big Hollywood role in Fast & Furious because the director, Justin Lin, wanted to use her knowledge of weapons. The fact that she's gorgeous probably had something to do with it as well. Before she became a model, she studied law but why be a lawyer when you can be a movie star? She appeared in Fast & Furious 6 in which her character meets an unfortunate end--this may be a spoiler but who honestly watches Fast & Furious movies for the storyline?
The role that would change her life forever was a little part in the 2016 film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in which she played Wonder Woman--and was said to be the best part of an otherwise terrible movie. As popular and well-known as Wonder Woman is, this was actually the first time that she ever appeared on the silver screen. In 2017, she made history again with the first ever Wonder Woman movie which was a huge success both critically and commercially. The director, Patty Jenkins, made history as well when Wonder Woman became the highest-grossing female-directed live-action film. Critics and audiences alike were charmed by her earnest and heartfelt performance as Wonder Woman and she has solidified herself as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. It's time we get to know her a little bit better!
20 Too Fast, Too Furious
Not only is Gal beautiful and talented, she is also very adventurous as well! In her first big Hollywood movie, Fast & Furious, she played weapons expert, Gisele Yashar, and appeared in two more sequels in the franchise. When she appeared in the Fast & Furious movies, she did all of her own stunts which is something that many actors and actresses choose not to do because it can be dangerous. But Gal is a risk taker and she said in an interview that she loved the adrenaline rush of doing stunts that you can't do in real life and that she didn't want to miss out on any of the action. She also said: “I want to have gunshots, I want to fly up in the air, on the motorcycle, whatever. I want to do it all, by myself — no stuntwoman.” There's no doubt about it: Gal is one tough cookie!
19 No Wonder She's Wonder Woman!
When Gal tried out for the part of Wonder Woman, she didn't actually know what she was auditioning for. The director of Batman V. Superman, Zack Snyder, asked her to come in to do a camera test and she remembers it as being "torture." There were several other women there to do camera tests as well and they all had to wait in separate trailers until they were told they could come out. Talk about nerve-wracking! The waiting made her incredibly nervous so what did she do? She danced! She said in an interview that when her anxiety started getting the best of her, she started playing "Run the World (Girls)" by Beyoncé and she danced her anxiety away. What better way to prepare for an audition as Wonder Woman than to listen to Beyoncé's feminist anthem? Let's face it, listening to Beyoncé can solve any problem.
18 Almost a Bond Girl
One of the first roles that Gal auditioned for in Hollywood was the Bond Girl, Camille Montes, in Quantum of Solace but she didn't get the part. She thought of herself as more of a comedy actress and thought she was too serious to be in action movies anyway. She decided to work on her acting skills by getting an acting instructor which helped her land her first role in an Israeli TV series. However, her audition was not forgotten by the casting director who happened to be doing the casting for Fast & Furious and asked her to come in for an audition which she obviously nailed. Those acting classes sure paid off! Her past experience in the military also helped her to get the part of Gisele since the director loved her "fighting spirit" and even rewrote her character to have a history in the military as an agent for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
17 She Wants to Be a Role Model
When it comes to matters of injustice, Gal doesn't back down--especially when it comes to justice for women. She is always ready to make a case for feminism and wants everyone to be a feminist. To Gal, feminism is all about "equality." In an interview, she stated that she wanted "all people to have the same opportunities and to get the same salaries for the same jobs." She wants to be an inspiring female role model for her two daughters but also for women everywhere because she owes everything to the women in her life: "I realize I'm doing what I want to do because of the women before me who laid the groundwork. Without them I wouldn't be an educated working mother who is following her dreams; I wouldn't be here." What a great role model! Is there anything she can't do?
16 She's Empowering
Gal is an outspoken feminist and we love her for it! She is very proud of being able to be a role model for both boys and girls as Wonder Woman and believes that she loves being able to play a strong female character who is courageous, virtuous, and powerful. She believes in the empowerment of women but that, in order to empower women, we need to educate men as well and to teach young boys to be inclusive and kind. When she was growing up in Israel, she and her sister were taught "to believe that we're capable, to value ourselves." She also said in an interview that she is often asked if she is a feminist and she is baffled by the question, "Every woman, every man, everyone should be a feminist. Because whoever is not a feminist is a sexist." Of course Wonder Woman is a feminist!
15 No Boys Allowed
Gal Gadot faced even more criticism when Wonder Woman was banned in Lebanon, Algeria, and Tunisia. These countries banned the film because the lead actress is an Israeli citizen who served in the Israeli military and has expressed support for Israeli troops during the 2014 Israeli war with Gaza. However, The Jewish World Congress retaliated by saying that the boycott was about gender issues and not politics. There were even people in America who boycotted the film because of her politics and because of the fact that she is a woman. Luckily, the country-wide-boycott did not effect the success of the film and the fact that it was so controversial stirred up a lot of press for the movie and got a lot more people to the movie theaters to see it. The bigots were angered again when a Texas theater announced a "No Guy Allowed" screening of the movie which only got the movie more press. Haters gonna hate.
14 Mother of the Year
It's hard to believe that Gal was five months pregnant during several scenes in Wonder Woman but she really is Wonder Woman! According to Director Patty Jenkins, Gal was a trooper through all the shoots even though she was halfway through her second pregnancy! Jenkins also said that she always did everything they asked her to do without complaint: "Now, at least, we will be able to tell her [new] daughter Maya that she’s in her mom’s stomach right then, in the middle of that battle scene.” How adorable is that? Being a mother is no easy job and every mom should feel like Wonder Woman--and Gal agrees! “It’s cheesy," she said in an interview. "but I feel like Wonder Woman when I give birth. When you deliver, you feel like you’re a god. Like, ‘Oh my God, I made this!’ The best thing is to become a mother and to give life.”
13 Back to Black
Gal Gadot did an Amy Winehouse photoshoot for the Castro brand in 2011 which was released just a few days after the singer passed away. Though the magazine is in Hebrew, the captions are roughly translated: "The cynicism that such a project could have provoked, especially in view of the proximity to the singer's death (last Saturday), disappears when exposed to the first scene. Gal Gadot can be identified with great difficulty under makeup and monochromatic, polluted tones, which are very detailed on emotion." Gal posted the photoshoot on her Facebook with the caption, "Castro photoshoot in memory of Amy Winehouse. Big voice, talent. May she rest in peace." Gal's favorite Amy Winehouse song is "Back to Black."
12 She Had to Work Out A LOT
Though Gal spent two years in the military, she claimed that her workout regiment for Wonder Woman was even more difficult than being in the army. Six months before shooting, she was training for six hours a day in the gym, practicing fight choreography, and horseback riding. Her regiment also included kung fu, kickboxing, swords, and jujitsu. She gained around 14 pounds of muscle while training for the role. Her hard work definitely paid off. Wonder Woman became the highest rated movie in the DC cinematic universe on Rotten Tomatoes with 93% and it grossed $300 million after its first week. Considering it's the first time that a female superhero from DC has gotten her own movie and the first superhero movie to ever be directed by a woman, those high ratings and big box office numbers prove that Hollywood is doing something right.
11 She Loves Her Husband
Gal is not only Wonder Woman but she is a wife and a mother of two! Her husband, Yaron Versano, is an Israeli businessman and the two met at a party in the desert in Israel. She described the "strange" party as an event that was "all about yoga, chakras, and eating healthy — we didn’t exactly find ourselves there, but we found each other.” The two were married in 2008 and they have two daughters, Alma and Maya. In fact, during the reshoots for Batman v. Superman, she was five months pregnant! Her belly had to be edited out with a green screen and it makes her the most BA superhero in history. She explained the reshoots in an interview, saying, “On close-up I looked very much like Wonder Woman. On wide shots I looked very funny, like Wonder Woman pregnant with Kermit the Frog.” Step aside, Batman, Wonder Woman has you beat!
10 She Had Some Problems With Her Costume
When Gal was told that she got the role of Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman, she didn't know, until that moment, who she would even be playing in the movie. When she got the call, she was sitting on the tarmac, about to fly out of Los Angeles. She was traveling alone and didn't have anyone to tell the good news to until she got home. She said that she must have looked like a "crazy person" since she started screaming in front of the other passengers. Gal revealed that when she first tried on the Wonder Woman costume, it was too small. Because she was so grateful for being given the role, she didn't tell anyone that it was too small and that she couldn't breathe in it! They eventually cut her out of her costume and got one for her that fit her properly.
9 She Even Has a Beautiful Name
You have probably wondered to yourself how exactly you should pronounce Gal's last name so we'll clear it up for you. "Gadot" is pronounced "gadott," not "gadoh." Her first name in Hebrew means "wave" and her last name means "riverbanks." Of course she has a beautiful name that is as lovely as she is! Gal was born to Irit, a teacher, and Michael Gadot, an engineer, and she has a younger sister named Dana. Her ancestry is Polish-Jewish, Austrian-Jewish, German-Jewish, and Czech-Jewish, and her father is a sixth-generation Israeli. While her grandmother was able to escape the Nazi invasion, her grandfather was imprisoned in an Auschwitz concentration camp but he survived. She said in an Instagram post that her grandfather always told her that "there is no wrong religion. No wrong colour. And no wrong race" and that he taught her to "love all people for what their heart is." She was raised in a "very Jewish, Israeli family environment" and is very proud of her heritage.
8 She Almost Left Hollywood For Good
It's hard to believe that, in one point in time, Gal actually considered leaving Hollywood for good after dealing with so much rejection. Even after she was in The Fast and The Furious movies, she still wasn't getting enough work. Before she got the role of Wonder Woman, she considered "never coming back to Los Angeles" and that she would "stay in Israel, work as an actress here and there, go back to university and do something else." Luckily for us, she landed the role of Wonder Woman and the rest is history! In 2016, she appeared in three movies: Triple 9, Criminal, and Keeping Up With the Joneses. In the next few years, she is set to star in several more instalments in the DC cinematic universe Justice League Part Two, Wonder Woman 2, and Flashpoint plus she will be starring in a psychological thriller alongside Bradley Cooper called Deeper.
7 She Made History
When Gal was cast as Wonder Woman, she made history as the first non-American to ever play the role. Sure, she might wear stars and stripes in the old TV show and sometimes in comic books, but she's not American--she's an Amazon! There was a bit of an outcry from angry fans when it was announced that an Israeli actress would play the iconic character but who cares what some comic book snobs think? Gal was the perfect choice for Wonder Woman and she definitely does the character justice (pun intended). After all, the DC cinematic universe needed a change of pace after remaking the Batman and Superman movies over and over again for the past several decades. It's hard to believe that there have been eight Batman movies that have been made and not a single Wonder Woman movie until 2017. Shameful. Luckily for us, the popularity of Wonder Woman means that there will be many more female superhero movies in the future.
6 She Loves Justice
It's fitting that Wonder Woman is in the Justice League because Gal was almost a lawyer! When she considered leaving Hollywood for good, she thought about going back to law school and becoming a lawyer like she planned on when she was younger--though she said that she would have been a horrible lawyer because she hates conflict! However, Gal also advocates justice for women in Hollywood as well and wants to portray as many strong and interesting female characters as she can. She also believes that there should be more females working behind the scenes: "There aren’t enough good roles for strong women. I wish we had more female writers. Most of the female characters you see in films today are 'the poor heartbroken girl.' That's why I'm so proud of the Fast movies. I feel like Gisele is an empowering woman."
5 She Was Even a Model for the Israeli Army
Before she was an actress, she was a model and the photo above is from Gucci’s Bamboo fragrance campaign directed by Fabien Baron. There is even a photo from the campaign that is Gal playing the piano with a bare back! She has also been the face of campaigns for Miss Sixty, Huawei smartphones, Captain Morgan rum, Vine Vera skincare ranges, and Jaguar Cars. Her modeling gigs helped her land her first major role after the casting director for Quantum of Solace saw a photo from one of her campaigns and eventually cast her in Fast & Furious. She was no stranger to being a model; after she joined the military, she appeared in a controversial photo shoot for Maxim magazine which featured attractive women of the Israeli army. The point of the photo shoot was to bring more visitors to the country. That's one way to bring in tourists! Though she has a lot of experience being a model, she is much better suited for the silver screen.
4 Wonder Woman Isn't Just Strong--She's So Much More
Diana Prince may be an Amazonian/goddess/princess/warrior but Gal wanted to depict her as a normal woman with "very high values, but still a woman." Gal described Diana as "sensitive" and "smart and independent and emotional. She can be confused. She can lose her confidence. She can have confidence. She is everything. She has a human heart." Wonder Woman is much more than a strong female character, she is a real human character who is emotional, strong, confident, and imperfect--just like anyone else. Gal has said that she wants young women to identify with Wonder Woman and to also look up to her: "I feel that I’ve got the opportunity to set a great role model for girls to look up to a strong, active, compassionate, loving, positive woman, and I think it's so important." How rare it is to see a female character who is also depicted as being able to find strength within herself!
3 She's Faced A Lot of Criticism
Though there were some comic book fans who were not pleased with the casting of Gal as Wonder Woman because of her Israeli roots, there were some people who had different criticisms. According to Gadot, the backlash was due to the fact that her chest was too small to play the iconic superhero. Seriously. However, she took the backlash lightly and laughed it off, saying, "The Web really paid attention to the important side of Wonder Woman." The internet can be a cruel place! She also faced criticism in 2016, Wonder Woman was elected as a United Nations Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. However after protests and online petitions stating that a "large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions" should not be a role model for young girls, the character was removed from the position after only two months. Gal's response was, "There are so many horrible things that are going on in the world, and this is what you’re protesting, seriously?"
2 She Was Miss Israel
When Gal became Miss Israel in 2004, she had no idea that she would make it so far in the competition and she didn't like it. As Miss Israel, she had to compete in the Miss Universe pageant and she said later that she wanted nothing to do with the pageant at all. So she purposefully sabotaged herself by wearing the wrong evening gowns, coming in late for rehearsals, and she even lied about her English-speaking skills, saying that she didn't speak it very well, even though she did. She didn't become Miss Universe and, instead, she joined the military and though she spent two years as a combat trainer, she wants peace as much as Wonder Woman does. She said in an interview that she hopes "we have peace in the Middle East and everyone is able to live together in harmony.” Well said!
1 Money, Money, Money...
After facing criticism for her heritage and her small bust, she faced more criticism--though this time the backlash was regarding her paycheck. It was revealed that Gal received $300,000 for the lead role in Wonder Woman. While it may seem like $300k is nothing to shake a stick at, it's actually a very low paycheck for a lead actor or actress in a big Hollywood movie. However, as far as we know, $300,000 is just the base pay for her role in the film and may not include other factors such as box office bonuses and other compensation which depends on the success of the movie. Still, Warner Bros. probably wouldn't be able to get away with that if the lead was played by a man. In the past several years, many actresses have come forward to say that they were not paid nearly as much as their male co-stars in order to raise awareness of inequality in the industry.