Gal Gadot-Varsano (Hebrew: גל גדות, pronounced [ˈɡal ɡaˈdot]; born April 30, 1985) is an Israeli actress and model. She is primarily known for portraying Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe, starting with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and then the solo film Wonder Woman and the ensemble Justice League (both 2017). She also starred as Gisele Yashar in three films in the The Fast and the Furious film franchise.
Gadot was born and raised in Israel. At age 18 she was crowned Miss Israel 2004. She then served two years in the Israel Defense Forces as a combat instructor. She began studying at IDC Herzliya college before pursuing modeling and acting.
Gal Gadot was born in Petah Tikva and raised in its neighbouring city of Rosh HaAyin. In Hebrew, her first name means "wave" and her surname means "riverbanks". Her parents are Irit (née Weiss), a teacher, and Michael Gadot, an engineer. Both her parents were born in Israel, and they Hebraized their surname from "Greenstein". Her father is a sixth-generation Israeli. Her maternal grandparents were born in Europe; her grandfather, who was imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp, survived the Holocaust, and her grandmother left before the Nazi invasion. Gadot has stated that she was brought up in a "very Jewish, Israeli family environment". Her ancestry is Polish-Jewish, Austrian-Jewish, German-Jewish, and Czech-Jewish. She has one younger sister, Dana.
Her high school major was biology. She says that in high school she was good at basketball because of her height. As a teenager, her first jobs were babysitting and at Burger King. As an adult, Gadot studied law and international relations at the IDC Herzliya college.
Gadot served for two years as an enlisted soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, as a combat instructor. She said of her time in the IDF: "You give two or three years, and it's not about you. You learn discipline and respect." Gadot says that her background helped her to win the role of Gisele in Fast & Furious: "I think the main reason was that the director Justin Lin really liked that I was in the military, and he wanted to use my knowledge of weapons."
At age 18, Gadot won the 2004 Miss Israel beauty pageant, and next competed in the Miss Universe 2004 pageant in Ecuador. She carried out her two-year military service from the age of 20, then studied law.
Gadot has led international campaigns as a model for Miss Sixty, Huawei smartphones, Captain Morgan rum, Gucci fragrances and Vine Vera skincare ranges, and Jaguar Cars. In 2015, she became the face of Gucci's Bamboo perfume brand. She has featured as the covergirl on Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Bride Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, UMM, Cleo, Fashion, Lucire, FHM. Gadot has been the main model for fashion brand Castro in 2008–16. In 2013, her combined annual modelling and acting salary was estimated at NIS 2.4 million, which was ahead of a number of other famous Israeli models such as Esti Ginzburg and Shlomit Malka, though significantly behind Bar Refaeli.
In 2007, 21-year-old Gadot was in the Maxim photo shoot, "Women of the IDF", and was then featured on the cover of the New York Post. In April 2012, Shalom Life ranked her Number 5 on its list of "the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and gorgeous Jewish women in the world", behind model Bar Refaeli and actress Eva Green. In 2014, Gadot was one of two Israeli actresses, along with Odeya Rush, listed as an upcoming leading lady by InStyle magazine.
After Gadot had completed her first year of university, a casting director contacted her agent to have Gadot audition for the part of Bond girl Camille Montes in the spy film Quantum of Solace. Although the part eluded her, a few months later, Gadot starred in the 2008 Israeli drama Bubot. Three months later, the casting director from her Quantum of Solace audition cast Gadot for the role of Gisele Yashar in the action film Fast & Furious, the fourth film in The Fast & the Furious franchise, having earned the role over six other actresses. Gadot performed her own stuntwork in those films.
In 2010, she had small roles in the action-comedy Date Night and the action-adventure comedy Knight and Day. 2011 brought her back to The Fast & the Furious franchise, reprising her role as Gisele in Fast Five, and in 2013's Fast & Furious 6.
Gadot played Wonder Woman in the superhero movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Gadot received swordsmanship, Kung Fu kickboxing, capoeira and Brazilian jiu-jitsu training in preparation for the role. Gadot's performance as the superhero, which is the first time for the character on film, was hailed as one of the best parts of the film.
Also in 2016, she had a small role in John Hillcoat's crime-thriller Triple 9, where she starred along with Kate Winslet and Aaron Paul. Later that year, she co-starred in the action crime thriller film Criminal, as the wife of Ryan Reynolds' character, alongside Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, and Tommy Lee Jones. Her final film of 2016 was the action comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses, in which she played a secret agent, alongside Isla Fisher and Jon Hamm.
In 2017, Gadot starred in a solo film for her character, Wonder Woman. She reprised the role in the ensemble film Justice League, which was released on November 17, 2017, and was her third DC Extended Universe installment. In 2017 Gadot was also invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Gadot, fellow Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter, DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and U.N. Under-Secretary General Cristina Gallach appeared at the United Nations on October 21, 2016, the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Wonder Woman, to mark the character's designation by the United Nations as its "Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls". The gesture was intended to raise awareness of UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 5, which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. The decision was met with protests from UN staff members who stated in their petition to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the character is "not culturally encompassing or sensitive", and served to objectify women. As a result, the character was stripped of the designation, and the project ended December 16.
Gadot married Israeli real estate developer Yaron Varsano on September 28, 2008. They have two daughters. Until 2015, the couple owned a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv, which Gadot says she helped to run, including changing the bedsheets in the rooms herself. They sold their hotel to Roman Abramovich in 2015 for $26 million.