Gal Gadot – Israeli Actress

by Kristine Bigcas

Gal Gadot is popularly known for her role in the 2017 DC Film Wonder Woman. She is an Israeli actress and model who was also a combat trainer in the Israel Defence Forces. She has been active in the entertainment industry since 2004 and has appeared in various films. Another prominent role played by her is Gisele Yashar in the Fast and Furious movie franchise. She was a part of the fourth to the sixth installation. She can also be seen in the 2016  BatmanvSuperman: Dawn of Justice.

In 2004, Gal won the title of Miss Israel. She was only 18 years old when she joined and won the pageant. She has been nominated for several awards before and won the Most Popular US Actress in China during the Chinese American Film Festival. She is now married with two daughters.

Early Life

Gal Gadot was born on April 30, 1985, in Petah Tikva, Israel. She was raised, however, in Rosh HaAyin. She is the eldest in the family with only one younger sibling. She worked as a babysitter while growing up as a teenager and also studied biology as a major in high school. Another job of hers was at Burger King and she also played basketball on the side.

By the time she was 18, she was discovered by a pageant coordinator that led her to join the Miss Israel competition in 2004. She then participated in the Miss Universe competition but rebelled by coming in late and unprepared. She revealed in an interview “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. I remember Paula Abdul was part of the judges and she was asking me a question and I just said I don’t understand. And I successfully didn’t win.”

After her pageant endeavors, she was enlisted in the Israel Army and served the role of a Combat Trainer. This was mandatory to all eligible Israeli over 18. Her days in boot camp lasted for three months. In the army, she was assigned to train soldiers in gymnastics and calisthenics. Throughout her two years in service, she had gained enough knowledge in weapons that have helped her land the role of Gisele Yashar in Fast and Furious. The greatest lessons she learned while rendering service was discipline and respect that in some ways also prepared her for Hollywood.

Gal then studied Law and International Relations at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya or simply IDC Herzliya. She did not continue her studies, however, in order to pursue her acting career.

Personal Life

Gal married Amsterdam-born Israeli real estate developer and hotelier Yaron Varsano. He is a graduate of International School of Amsterdam and New York Institute of Technology in 2000. He, along with his brother, used to own the Varsano Hotel in Tel Aviv to which they sold for $26 million to Roman Abramovich. Gal recalled that she hands-on helped him with the business to the point of personally changing sheets in the rooms of guests.

He is ten years older than Gal. The two met in a dessert party in Israel after being introduced to each other. She recalls that “He told me on our second date he was serious and wasn’t going to wait more than two years to ask me to marry him.” Indeed, two years later, Yaron proposed to her in which she calls in a “romantic way” and they tied the knot on September 28, 2008.

Gal and Yaron share two kids together: 5-year old Alma and their newborn, Maya, whom she gave birth to in March 2017. Her eldest is often seen with her on set. She said that her daughter is very proud of her that she even says “You know, every mother is a Wonder Woman” to any of her playmates.

Family

She comes from a long line of half-Jewish families with mixed roots of Polish, Austrian, German, and Czech descent. Their family name used to be “Greenstein” but her parents mutually decided to adopt a Hebrew surname and chose Gadot. Her father, Michael Gadot, is an engineer while her mother, Irit Weiss, is a teacher. She only has one younger sister named Dana who also studied in IDC Herzliya, and took up Psychology.

In an Instagram post, Gal shared the story of his grandfather, Abraham Weiss, who survived The Holocaust during the World War II. She shared that all his but family but him was killed due “Just because someone had decided they were born into the wrong religion and race.” Gal’s relatives who died during The Shoah were a part of the 143,000 death toll of Jews. Her family lived in Muncaks in Czechoslovakia. Gals grandfather died in 2014, over 60 years after the Holocaust incident.

Career

Gal first started her acting career in Bubot, an Israeli drama before in 2007 before she was cast in Fast and Furious in 2009. She almost became a Bond girl for Quantum of Solace in 2008 but lost the role to Olga Kurylenko. She then appeared in various TV series like the short-lived CW Series, The Beautiful Life and HBO’s Entourage. She also had small roles in different American and Israeli movies like Date Night and Kicking Out Shoshana. She reprised the role of Gisele Yashar in 2011 Fast Five and 2013 Fast & Furious 6 as well as in a deleted scene in Furious 7 where she saved Michelle Rodriguez’s character. She was also in Keeping Up with the Joneses as Natalie Jones. Her role as Wonder Woman was first introduced in the 2016 film, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Wonder Woman

Her role as the female Amazon Princess and superhero Diana Prince in Wonder Woman increased the level of fame Gal has. Playing Wonder Woman has been her biggest role since she started in the industry. During the time of filming, Gal was already 5 months pregnant with her second child but still went on with her role. She will continue playing the character under a 3-film contract. Her next appearance is in Justice League, which is set to be released this coming November 17, 2017.

Due to her success in Wonder Woman, she has been invited by the honorary organization Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to become one of their members. Not all artists are qualified to be members of the AMPAS since it has an invite-only policy which has to be earned and appointed by the Board of Governors.

She revealed when she was on The Tonight Show that she had almost quit acting, being her last film in Israel her last. She described the whole rejection experience and almost getting cast for a role as a tough experience. However, she got a call from Zack Snyder to audition for the role. At this time, she had no idea who she was playing or what movie it will be. After her audition, she went back to Israel but received a call from her manager that she was going to be camera tested. She recalls her phone conversation with Zack two days after she came back. “Zack calls me two days later and says, ‘I don’t know if you have this character in Israel if she’s big or not, but did you ever heard of Wonder Woman?”

She learned that she got the role after traveling alone to Los Angeles from Tel Aviv on a 15-hour flight. She recalls that she just landed and was beside an old professor who kept discussing quantum physics with her throughout the flight when she saw about twenty missed calls from her agents.

While shooting for Wonder Woman, the shots were done in close shots. For the wide shots, the crew had to put a green triangular cloth to edit out her belly. She said that, “In close-up I looked very much like Wonder Woman on wide shots I looked very funny, like Wonder Woman pregnant with Kermit the Frog.”

Net Worth

Despite the success of Wonder Woman that earned millions, Gal Gadot only received a salary of $300,000. This is the rate that was written for her tri-film contract. Chris Evans also received this amount when he first acted for Captain America. However, it is expected for her to get an increase or get a bonus pay due to the massive success of her role and the positive reviews. Gal Gadot’s total net worth is estimated to be at $8 million dollars.