Gal Gadot said she is fulfilling a dream by creating the new short-form documentary series, National Geographic Presents: IMPACT with Gal Gadot, as she spoke about the show in a Zoom event on Tuesday, just ahead of an announcement that the series will air in Israel on April 19 on the National Geographic channel.
The series, which focuses on extraordinary young women who are making a difference, was produced by Gadot and her husband, Jaron Varsano.
Gadot got the idea, she said, after the success of the first Wonder Woman movie brought her superstardom.
“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.”
Gadot was joined on the panel by the series director and executive producer, Vanessa Roth, and several of the women profiled in the show, including Tuany Nascimento, who became a ballet dancer in one of the toughest favelas in Rio de Janeiro and created the On Tip Toe Ballet Academy there, and Kameryn Everett, a figure skater who coaches a team of minority girls in Detroit.
Choosing which stories to tell was not an easy task, Gadot said.
“There are endless stories to tell, but among the endless stories that we can tell, they are the stories that are, you know, more extraordinary.” The women chosen “come from difficult circumstances. Whether it’s violence, poverty, trauma, discrimination, natural disasters. And yet, it fuels them. It gives them more power to dare, to dream, to change, to speak up and to really make a change in their communities.”
Gadot was upfront about feeling that she has had a privileged life, and expressed her admiration for those who have not been as lucky.
“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.”
While she enjoys playing Wonder Woman, she was clear that she most admires people who accomplish change in the real world: : “All of these women are just incredible, and they are the real heroes. I keep on calling them my ‘Women of Wonder,’ because they are the true heroes. I go to set and I get dressed and I get my costume and sword and everything, and I fight, but it’s make-believe, but they actually are there on the ground, you know, sweating and doing all they can to really make the world a better place.”
The women spoke movingly of their challenges and of not realizing the extent to which they have helped others because they have been immersed in the struggle to keep going.
Said Everett, “To me, this film is just – it was kind of an eye-opener. All this time I’ve spent working and teaching people, all my encounters with people, I never really realized how I was impacting them. It just seemed like something, you know, that you just do... and it really took a series for me to realize what I was doing.”
Kaylane, one of Nascimento’s dance students, said, “Before I was involved in the [dance] project, I was passing time playing in the streets. I saw many dangerous things and wrong things, like guns and drugs and girls getting pregnant and other stuff, and when Tuany started the project, we danced in our space, and many girls starting coming and wanted to learn this dance, and I was especially learning more things... about how I can change my life in the future, what I can do for this to happen.... It gives us a hope for a better life and hope to change and I’m so glad for this.”
The series was filmed during the past year, as the pandemic hit. Gadot said it was fitting that it was made during such a turbulent time.
“This past year has been so dark and difficult and challenging everywhere to all of us. And no matter what you watch over the news, it’s just so hard and heavy, and we just wanted to balance it and bring something good to the world. And I think that it’s so important that as much as we talk about facts and news and politics and all of this stuff, it’s so important to talk about the people, the community, what they do together, how they bring people together to make a difference, to really make a change. They’re not just sitting and waiting and giving criticism for the way that people run the world. They actually do something to change it.... Again, my dream and my vision is really to create this amazing movement of people that can say, ‘Hey, I can do it, too. If she can do it, I can do it, too. Maybe I can.... ’ It sounds like cliché, but I’m talking from the bottom of my heart.”