(KGET) — Gal Gadot has reason to smile – a lot. Not only does she portray Wonder Woman in two of the biggest comic book-inspired movies of all time, she has also been able to use that stardom to launch a cable series that looks at real-life female heroes.
The weekly series “National Geographic Presents: Impact with Gal Gadot” debuts April 26 on the National Geographic YouTube Channel. Gadot is one of the executive producers of the six-part short-form documentary series that follows the stories of resilient young women around the globe who overcome obstacles and do extraordinary things.
The women featured in each short film come from very different backgrounds across Brazil, Puerto Rico, Michigan, California, Louisiana, and Tennessee — yet, they are all connected by their selflessness, brave determination, and commitment to improving the lives of the people around them.
The smiling Gadot admits this series could be endless but because of the number of episodes ordered, the more extraordinary stories have been told.
“I think that with all these women, what we can see is that all of them come from difficult circumstances. Whether it’s violence, poverty, trauma, discrimination, natural disasters. And yet, it fuels them,” Gadot says. “It gives them more power to dare, to dream, to change, to speak up and to really make a change in their communities.
“To be honest, many women with this extent of an impact by the actions that they do that are selflessness and are not about themselves, but purely about the community.”
Gadot herself found inspiration in the women featured. Since she picked up the golden lasso to portray Wonder Woman in the 2016 film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the Israeli actress, singer, martial artist, and model has had the spotlights of the world focused on her. She loves that being an executive producer on this program that she’s the one shining the light.
What has inspired Gadot is that these women have shown that one simple action can have a ripple effect on a larger community. The opening episode unfolds in Detroit where Kameryn Everett, a 20-year-old figure skating coach, has dedicated her life to coaching young girls of color to empower them both on and off the ice. The May 31 finale moves to Rio De Janeiro where Tuany Nascimento, a 23-year-old ballet dancer, has started a dance company for young girls in the middle of one of Rio De Janeiro’s most dangerous low-income settlements.
Everett calls the series an eye-opening experience.
“All this time I’ve spent working and teaching people, all my encounters with people, I never really realized how I was impacting them,” Everett says. “It just seemed like something that you just do. I never thought of it as, ‘Oh, what I’m doing is impacting somebody.’
“So, it honestly took until last year for me to really realize like no way I have impacted hundreds of girls and I’m just still so young. And it really took a series for me to realize what I was doing.”
Gadot will not say which of the stores proved to be the most inspirational to her. That would be like picking a favorite child to her. Instead, Gadot applauds all of the women featured because of what they have been able to accomplish under tough – sometimes nearly impossible – situations.
Life was a lot easier for Gadot when she was growing up as didn’t face the same kind of challenges shown in the six episodes. Where she can be an inspiration is both through how she has used her celebrity status to get such a project made and how she has dealt with her own personal fears to reach this level.
“I’m very lucky to be born and to have a healthy upbringing and to being born to a normal family and all of that. I guess that my biggest obstacle is overcoming my own fears, and that’s something that I always am challenged with, but I really feel grateful for the life that I have and for not having to deal with such big problems and issues,” Gadot says. “I guess that that’s part of the reason to why after I’ve done ‘Wonder Woman’ I felt like I had such a big reach to people, and I just wanted to do something good, and I want to use my reach and my platforms to get to as many people and shed light on these amazing, incredible women’s stories.
“Maybe ignite something in them and create a movement of people that just want to do good to the world. But I’m very, very lucky and grateful for being able to have this opportunity to do this.”
It’s the kind of thing that makes her smile – and smile a lot.