She's a superhero now, but Gadot, 30, originally had plans to fight justice using more traditional means. "If things had gone according to my plans, I'd be a lawyer. I never dreamt of being an actress," she tells Glamour. Then she was approached about competing in the Miss Israel pageant, and won. When it came time to go to the big show, though, she scuttled her chances. "When I went to Miss Universe, I rebelled," she admits. "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.?'"
That feisty spirit served Gadot well in the Israeli army, where she became a combat trainer. "Let me start by saying, I wish no country had the need for an army," she says. "But in Israel, serving is part of being an Israeli. You've got to give back the state."
After her service, Gadot got down to more personal matters. She married her husband, businessman Yaron Versano, in 2008. The couple has a four-year-old daughter, Alma. Gadot's career was just taking off, with a role in the Fast & Furious franchise, when she became a mom. "I was really anxious about how to travel with a child, moving her from one country to the other, all the different languages," she tells Glamour. "It was my husband who told me: 'Gal, think about what kind of a role model you want to be. If you want to show Alma that she can follow her dreams, that’s what you should do, and we will figure out the logistics.'"
Of course, being Wonder Woman isn't all tiaras and female empowerment. There were also some vocal fans who had plenty to say about Gadot's casting. "There were a lot of [Internet] comments about the size of my breasts," she recalls. "I realized we can’t please everyone. 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!"
You can see Gadot, along with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in theaters on March 25.