“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot this week opened up about her “sheltered” Israeli childhood, and the inspiration her Holocaust survivor grandfather served in her film role as the iconic superhero.
Gadot was featured on the cover of preeminent US pop culture magazine “Rolling Stone.”
“Gal Gadot: The triumph of a badass Wonder Woman,” read the cover headline, previewing a six-page feature on the 32-year-old’s formative years in Israel, and recent exposure to superstardom.
“I had a very sheltered kind of life,” Gadot, who was raised in Rosh Haayin, told the magazine. “There was no TV-watching. It was always ‘Take a ball and go play.'”
“In general, I was a good girl, a good student, a pleaser, and I was a tomboy. Always with wounds and scratches on my knees,” she added.
Gadot, who became Miss Israel before her mandatory Israel Defense Forces service, also proudly told the magazine she deliberately lost the Miss Universe pageant.
“I knew that I did not want to win Miss Universe. It wasn’t my thing. For an 18-year-old, it looked like too much responsibility,” she said.
“I lost majorly,” she added. “I victoriously lost.”
Gadot also spoke about her grandfather, who was a teenager in Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust and whose family was killed in Auschwitz.
“His entire family was murdered – it’s unthinkable,” said Gadot. “He affected me a lot. After all the horrors he’d seen, he was like this damaged bird, but he was always hopeful and positive and full of love. If I was raised in a place where these values were not so strong, things would be different. But it was very easy for me to relate to everything that Wonder Woman stands for.”
Since the beginning of 2016, the Israeli star has gone from near international anonymity to global superstar, top Hollywood celebrity, and feminist hero.
“People always ask me, ‘Are you a feminist?’ And I find the question surprising, because I think, ‘Yes, of course. Every woman, every man, everyone should be a feminist. Because whoever is not a feminist is a sexist,'” Gadot said.
Gadot had long been a household name in Israel, where she was a top model after winning Miss Israel at 18 in 2004.
Gadot scored a role as an ex-Mossad agent in the fourth film of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise in 2009 — in part, she has said, because director Justin Lin was impressed with her military experience.
After that she had a few other small roles in Hollywood films, such as “Date Night” starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Her first appearance as Princess Diana of Themyscira (Wonder Woman’s real name) came in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in 2016. Superstardom followed.
“Wonder Woman” this week hit a domestic US earnings total of $404.1 million, and pushed past the $800 million mark worldwide.
That made it the 23rd highest-grossing film of all time in the domestic US market, the seventh-highest earning comic book film in Hollywood history, and the number-one all-time earner when sequels are taken out of the running, according to a tally by the Forbes business journal.