Before slipping on the gauntlets of feminist icon Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot had already amassed an impressive resume in the worlds of modeling and acting. After being crowned Miss Israel at age 18, Gadot went on to a successful modeling career. Ultimately she got her big acting break in the fourth film in the Fast & the Furious franchise. Now, with the international success of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a whole new group of moviegoers have been introduced to the accomplished Glamour covergirl. I spoke to her shortly before the theatrical release of Fast and Furious 4 in March of 2009.
Born and raised in Israel, model turned actress Gal Gadot got into modeling on a whim. “I always had all kinds of agents and scouts looking for me to model, but I was more focused on my school work and ballet,” recalls Gadot. “After graduation I began to reconsider the whole modeling thing. All those scouts had made me feel like I was maybe missing something,” she laughs. Upon being chosen to be Miss Israel in 2004 at the age of 18, the people she shunned renewed their interest with fervor. “I never thought I’d ever win Miss Israel”, says Gadot. “I got into the pageant because I knew it would give me a lot of exposure when I finally decided to give modeling a try.” Now as the face of Israeli clothing company Castro, Gadot has set her sites on Hollywood; having been cast alongside Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in Fast and Furious. And like the film, her career has been a breathless whirlwind of lights and interspersed colors that shows no sign of slowing down.
Regardless of doing work abroad for the likes of Perry Ellis and Espirit, Gadot began her service in the Israeli army as a gymnastic trainer at 20. Continuing to model throughout her service, the constant daily exercise kept Gadot in “model form,” “We’d do all the standard gym training by utilizing every piece of equipment that was available to us. If we went out of the camp I’d be the lead runner while all the guys would follow,” she says. “You have to make yourself enjoy the army, because it’s a whole two-years of mandatory service you have to do.”
In 2007, America got it’s first real taste of Gadot, when she took part in the controversial Maxim photo shoot “Women of the Israeli Army”, which was orchestrated by the Israeli government to boost tourism. Being that Gadot’s photo was on the invitation to the launch party for the issue, she found herself the target of criticism when some female legislatures in Israel stated “they should of chosen a woman of substance and accomplishment.” Gadot’s response in dealing with stereotypes is simple, “I ignore it. It makes you stronger in a way. If you try and fight it it’s going to usually get you nowhere,” she says. “Some people just have an unwavering way of looking at certain careers and there’s nothing you can do to change their perspective.”
When it came time to step into the character of Gisele Harabo, the sultry Brazilian who works for drug trafficker Braga, and Diesels onscreen babe, Gadot found working with the superstar to be more excitement than pressure, “Vin always told me to show confidence in my acting ability and that would translate to my character on screen. We spoke a lot about what the relationship of our characters should be like. He’s a very professional and devoted actor.” Being that Braga is similar to Pablo Escobar, Gadot read up on the infamous Columbian drug lord in her preparation for her role, “I was thinking about how I’d feel if I was working for Escobar and what kind of people would surround themselves with that environment. That in turn made me delve into who my character was and what kind of family did she come from-why she would subject herself to this mans world?”
With what is sure to be a summer blockbuster already under her belt, and an upcoming guest spot on Entourage, one wonders just what Gadot does to successfully separate herself from the competition? “I just be myself,” she laughs. “I know that sounds trite, but I think the recipe for success in life is to be sincere and honest with yourself. It’ll have a positive impact on your personal and professional life.” As Hollywood looms on the horizon, and her modeling career continues to thrust forward, I tell her she’s conquered all the entertainment mediums. She laughs, “Well I’m not a singer…yet.” And just like that things are kicked back into overdrive.
What band/musician could you see yourself following on tour?
I could never be a groupie, but the bands I would see in concert are Coldplay, Depeche Mode and Air.
What is your earliest memory?
My grandparents’ new house in Israel when I was 4.
What was the last book you read?
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.
What article of clothing in your closet is your favorite?
It’s a battle between my pair of Dolce & Gabbana shorts and a pair of Castro jeans.
Do you do the whole blog thing? Why or why not?
Who has time to blog?
What are you doing to make the world a better place?
I recycle and eat organic food.
PDF’s of the original published interview: