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To most of the world, Gal Gadot is known as the star of Wonder Woman, the most famous female superhero and one of the biggest feminist icons.

The 32-year-old actress was making her own country proud more than a decade ago.

Before her rise to international fame, the 5'8" star was chosen as Miss Israel 2004—winning a crown and a Citroën C3 supermini car. During the pageant, she and 19 other finalists performed a Hebrew version of Irene Cara's 1980 hit "Fame."

Gadot went on to represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant and completed her two-year mandatory military service in Israel, working as a fitness instructor, before beginning a modeling and acting career. In addition to Wonder Woman, whose title role she debuted in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, she has starred as Gisele in the Fast & Furious films.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

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Miss Israel Gal Gadot walks onstage in a bikini at a preliminary Miss Universe 2004 event.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

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The star walks in an evening gown at a preliminary Miss Universe 2004 event.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

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The star models a traditional costume at a preliminary Miss Universe 2004 event.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

The star rehearses for the Miss Universe 2004 pageant.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

The star waves as she walks in Quito, Ecuador, before the Miss Universe 2004 pageant.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

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The star and Miss Trinidad and Tobago Danielle Jones wave at photographers before the Miss Universe 2004 pageant.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

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The star walks with Miss Ghana Menaye Donkor and Miss Belgium Lindsy Dehollander near their hotel in Quito, Ecuador, before the Miss Universe 2004 pageant.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

The star dances onstage with Miss Serbia & Montenegro Dragana Dujovic and Miss Canada Vennesa Fisher at a preliminary Miss Universe 2004 event.

Gal Gadot, Miss Israel, Miss Universe Contest 2004

MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

The star waves to photographers in Quito, Ecuador before the Miss Universe 2004 pageant.

Gadot did not seek to be a beauty queen.

"I was 18, I just graduated high school and I had some time in between going to the army," Gadot told W magazine last month. My mom figured, 'Hey, why don't I sent your photo, you finished school and this like a proper pageant,' whatever. I got in and I never thought I would win and then I won and then it scared me. I was like, 'What? Miss Israel? All the responsibility of being Miss Israel?'"

She also did not want to win Miss Universe, so she sabotaged herself.

"I was very naughty," she told W. "I wasn't behaving. I'm a really good girl but because I was afraid that I'm gonna win again, because I didn't want to win the Miss Israel pageant and then I won, I figured, 'Oh no, I don't want them to choose me again!' So I came down late to all the rehearsals and I wasn't wearing the right evening gowns for breakfast."

"I even remember Paula Abdul, she was one of the judges there and she was asking me a question and I was like, 'I'm sorry, English not so good,' 'cause I just didn't want to have anything to do with that,'" she added.

 

Gadot told James Corden on the Late Late Show last September that she competed in the Miss Israel pageant "for the experience" and "never wanted to win."

She also talked about her self-sabotaging efforts before the Miss Universe pageant and added that it was a "nice" experience none the less.