She's playing the most legendary female super hero in history, but for Gal Gadot, acting wasn't always in the cards.
"If things had gone according to my plans, I'd be a lawyer," she said in the Spring issue of Glamour. "I never dreamt of being an actress."
As Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's Wonder Woman, the 30-year-old Israeli native, former beauty pageant winner and Iraeli combat trainer has experienced a steady rise to Hollywood stardom, including a continuous role in the Fast & Furious franchise.
Now, she will perform alongside Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams in one of the most anticipated superhero installments yet. While her celebrity continues to shine brightly, Gadot didn't exactly intend on a career in acting—but fame found her anyway.
"My mother was a teacher; my dad is an engineer. But at 18, I was approached to compete in Miss Israel. I thought, That would be a nice experience. I never thought I would win! I was shocked when they crowned me," she admitted.
"When I went to Miss Universe, I rebelled. I was afraid I might get picked again. I showed up late. I came without gowns. They tell you to come to breakfast in a gown. I was like, ‘No way am I having breakfast in a gown!' Who needs to wear an evening gown at 10:30 a.m.?"
Her persistent nature helped her through whirlwind auditions and a stream of rejection in Hollywood.
"I was in this weird career phase, going back and forth from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles for auditions. I kept getting pretty far—multiple callbacks, camera tests—then it would be a no," she described to the magazine.
Finally, Zack Snyder, the film's director, got in contact with the dark-haired beauty to discuss his new project, though he wasn't sure if she was familiar with the character.
"My jaw dropped. I tried to sound nonchalant, like, ‘Oh yeah, Wonder Woman, sure,'" she said with a laugh.
Now, she is slated to portray Diana Prince not only in this upcoming film, but also in three additional projects, including a 2017 Wonder Woman movie and two installments of The Justice League. Tasked with setting the silver screen standard for the character for a brand new generation of moviegoers, the actress knew exactly how she wanted to portray the iconically feminist super heroine.
"It was important for me that we show how independent she is. She is not relying on a man, and she's not there because of a love story. She's not there to serve someone else," she said. "She has so many strengths and powers, but at the end of the day she's a woman with a lot of emotional intelligence...I think women are amazing for being able to show what they feel. I admire women who do. I think it's a mistake when women cover their emotions to look tough. I say let's own who we are and use it as a strength."
Diana's characteristics are not foreign to Gadot, who realizes the profound effect the women before her have had on her choices.
"There are such misconceptions as to what a feminist is. Feminism is about equality. I want all people to have the same opportunities and to get the same salaries for the same jobs," she admitted. "I realize I'm doing what I want to do because of the women before me who laid the groundwork. Without them, I wouldn't be an educated working mother who is following her dreams; I wouldn't be here."
However, not everyone has been as supportive of the former Israeli army combat trainer.
"There were a lot of comments about the size of my breasts…. I realized we can't please everyone," she said. "In one interview I did say, ‘If you want it to really be true to the origin story, the [myth goes that] Amazons had only one breast; otherwise it would get in the way of the bow and arrow.' So!"
Not to fret—whether it's the result of her former army training or previous industry rejection, this lady is one tough cookie who can take the punches as they come.
"Nothing I planned happened. But whenever opportunity arose, I was prepared and positive and all those things I didn't get, all those ‘almosts'—if I got them, I wouldn't be Wonder Woman."
"What's mine is mine, and what's not mine was never meant to be."