Gal Gadot may be Wonder Woman on the big screen, but in real life she has become a hero for millions of people around the world. Since she donned the lasso of truth as Diana Prince, the spotlight has been on the Israeli actress for all the right reasons.
This smart, savvy woman was both Miss Israel and an Israeli Defence Force combat trainer. After moving to LA from Tel Aviv nearly a decade ago, the 32-year-old has maintained her roots, not altering her accent for her role as Wonder Woman, and keeping her rich religious heritage.
She even wished her people “Shabbat Shalom”, via her Facebook page—a Jewish greeting shared on the Sabbath.
Her grandfather survived Auschwitz during the holocaust and, understandably, family is pivotal in her life. This makes distance difficult for her, and she travels to and from Israel frequently.
Combine this loyalty with her strong work ethic, and Gal is a force to be reckoned with. The mother of two acted when she was five months pregnant and refused to tell any of her peers on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice she was with child.
Described by Marie Claire as “the best kind of girl’s girl, a woman with backbone”, Gal admits to struggling with the superficiality of Hollywood when she first arrived. “In Israel, people have chutzpah [a Yiddish term for extreme self-confidence or audacity],” she told Marie Claire. “People take issue with that, but I’d rather have that than play games.”
When she was a child, you were more likely to find Gal jumping over fences than writing in a diary. This spirit remains with her today, and she is admittedly a highly competitive person, and loves to ride motor bikes—a passion which came in handy when she starred in three Fast and Furious films.
Given this, the fickle world of Hollywood may struggle to place Gadot—how do you define a woman who is confident in her identity, ethnicity, physicality and age? Perhaps this is why she was born to play Wonder Woman.
In the past, Hollywood has often portrayed Jewish females as funny but unattractive sidekicks, but Gal defies this whenever she is on screen. Emily Shire, the politics editor at Bustle, an online US women’s magazine, has even said, “[Wonder Woman] is a landmark film for women, and this takes it to another level.”
Few other actresses could so well emulate the character they portray, but Gal and her superhero alter ego often seem to be one and the same. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins pointed this out, saying, “I really believe what’s inside a human being shows up on film. Wonder Woman has this honourable core. So does Gal.”
Wonder Woman has become an icon for feminists, and this stance on gender equality is something Gal related to, crediting her mother with teaching her how to be a confident, capable woman with aspirations.
“There’s a long way to go until we can make gender a non-issue,” she said to Marie Claire. “[I want my girls] to surround themselves with people who make them feel worthy.”
Despite all these virtues, what really sets Gal apart from other Hollywood A-listers is how she communicates with fans. Young girls, and people of all ages, have been captivated by the star who kindly goes out of her way to encourage and support them. In August, she even sent a video message to a five-year-old fan from Canberra who is battling inoperable stage four cancer.
With the next instalment of DC’s Extended Cinematic Universe, Justice League, just around the corner, we will see a lot more of Gal Gadot on screen. And, with history seemingly repeating itself, it could be just what the world needs. Not a superhero, but a role model who changes the world one interaction at a time.