Born01 August 1979
Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa is an American actor, model, and producer, who rose to fame with his long-running roles in the television series 'Baywatch Hawaii' and 'Stargate: Atlantis.' His performance as Khal Drogo in the TV series 'Game of Thrones' further increased his popularity and took his career to the next level, drawing the attention of producers and mainstream audiences. He began his career as a model before venturing into acting. He was discovered by the international fashion designer Takeo, who encouraged him to pursue a modelling career. Due to his good looks and attractive physique, he was soon at the peak of his modelling career and also named Hawaii's Model of the Year. He walked the ramp at several prestigious fashion shows prior to taking up acting roles. In acting, his title role in the film ‘Conan the Barbarian’ opened doors for more film roles, making him a busy actor. In 1999, he bagged a lead role in ‘Baywatch Hawaii’, which he earned after beating about 1,000 other actors who had auditioned for the role. After the show ended in 2001, Momoa took a break from work to travel the world. It was during this time that he discovered Buddhism on a trip to Tibet. He eventually returned to the world of acting and is currently busy with his upcoming projects.
Early Life and Modeling Career
Jason Momoa was born in Honolulu on August 1, 1979, and as a child moved to Norwalk, Iowa, where he was raised by his mother. After graduating from high school, Momoa moved back to Hawaii and enrolled at the University of Hawaii. But his life would soon take a fateful turn when he was discovered by Takeo Kobayashi, an international fashion designer—an event that led to the start of Momoa’s modeling career.
His good looks and carved physique brought him quick success, and in 1999, Momoa won Hawaii's Model of the Year and walked the runway for Louis Vuitton at the Governor's Fashion Show.
Acting: 'Baywatch' and 'Stargate: Atlantis'
Momoa soon turned his sights to acting, and in 1999 he tried out for a lead role on the international smash TV show Baywatch (known at this point, the show’s 10th season, as Baywatch Hawaii). He beat out 1,000 other actors for the role of Jason Ioane, a part that he played for a couple of seasons. The show ended in 2001, and Momoa spent some time traveling the world, notably visiting Tibet, where he discovered Buddhism.
Momoa eventually moved to Los Angeles to further pursue an acting career. The first roles he landed, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding (2003) and Tempted (2003), both TV movies, kept his face on the screen until his next series gig, North Shore, came along in 2004. North Shore ran for 20 episodes, but when it ended something even better was waiting for Momoa: Stargate: Atlantis.
Playing Ronan Dex on the popular sci-fi series, Momoa appeared in several seasons, reaching the next stage of stardom along the way. Also during this period, Momoa was involved in an altercation in a Los Angeles bar, in which another patron smashed a glass across the 6’5”, 225-lb. actor’s face, resulting in 140 stitches and a scar above his left eye. The scar would become something of a signature afterward, and it played well into Momoa’s next role, which would take his career to the next level.
Success With 'Game of Thrones'
In April 2011, HBO began airing a new drama, Game of Thrones, and Momoa appeared in the plum role of Khal Drogo, a barbarian leader of a tribe called the Dothraki. The show became an instant smash hit, and Momoa’s violent and eventually nuanced Khal brought a whole new crop of fans to the actor’s doorstep.
'Conan' and Other Roles
Growing up, Momoa was a big fan of the Conan the Barbarian stories, and he also got to star as the title character in the Hollywood big-screen reboot, released a few months after Game of Thrones. Momoa went on to appear in Bullet to the Head (2012) and Road to Paloma (2014; which Momoa also directed and co-wrote), before earning prominent roles in the action thrillers Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017), The Bad Batch (2017) and Braven (2018).
On the small screen, Momoa in 2016 embarked on his starring role in Frontier, an adventure drama about the North American fur trade in the 18th century.
After the announcement that he was joining the big screen superhero fraternity in the role of Aquaman, Momoa debuted as the sea-based do-gooder with a brief appearance in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He featured more prominently in 2017's Justice League, alongside fellow DC Comics headliners Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
However, it was his standalone Aquaman feature, released in late 2018, that officially propelled Momoa to movie stardom. Headlining a cast that included Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson and Amber Heard, Momoa showcased his formidable physical prowess and quick wit for the impressively rendered underwater adventure, which topped $1 billion at the box office worldwide.
Next up for the action hero, along with the continuation of the Aquaman franchise, is a starring role in Apple's sci-fi series See.
It was believed that Momoa married actress Lisa Bonet in 2007, though the union reportedly wasn't "official" until the two formally wed in October 2017. The couple have two children together, daughter Lola Iolani Momoa and son Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa. Bonet has a daughter Zoë Isabella with former husband Lenny Kravitz.
In 2019 Momoa announced that he was teaming with the Ball Corporation to launch a new line of canned water. Revealing the news by way of a video announcement in which he shaved his trademark beard, the actor stressed the importance of switching from plastic bottled water to recyclable aluminum cans.
"We got to get rid of these plastic water bottles," he said. "Aquaman's trying to do the best he can. For your kids, for my kids, for the world. Clean up the oceans, clean up the land."
Jason Momoa played the fictional character of Ronon Dex in the series ‘Stargate Atlantis’. Created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, the show became an immediate hit, and his character became famous for his brilliant performance and his signature dreadlocks. The series received good ratings and was more popular in Europe and Australia. It earned several awards and nominations in its five-season run.
Momoa’s strong performance in the fantasy drama series ‘Game of Thrones’ was critically acclaimed. His fictional character Khal Drogo became a hit overnight. He also contributed his own ideas to make the character more interesting. The series starred Peter Dinklage, Maisie Williams, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and Sophie Turner as well.
“As a Polynesian, our gods are tied to water, so this means something special.”
“There are tons of things I’d love to do. I want to do comedy. It’s not that I don’t want to play a superhero, but I got called ‘pretty boy’ my whole life.”
“I love carbs, but denial is good training for the mind.”
“I wanted to know everything about the blues.”
“When I’m acting, I wish I was out there, being a part of it and making it. It’s all on your name to do that. It’s your vision. You’re going to get slandered for your work, and I like that.”
“To do six to 10 episodes of high-quality writing, and then be able to go direct my own things, and do a movie, if it comes along, sure. I just want to act and do good work.”
“I’ve been on shows that went for years and years and years, and I was not ready for that again.”
“I lay naked in furs a lot. I think I’m naked more than I talk.”
“Some people we know in our lives come up to a crossroads, and they could go left or right, and then end up in a totally different place.”
“Like it or not, I’m the new f***ing Aquaman buddy.”
“A wolf is not bad for eating and tearing apart something if it’s for survival. It doesn’t do it to be menacing.”
“You know what’s it’s changed is my appreciation for the art form of making cinema. I want to be a part of the whole collection and pull all of the pieces together. That’s what I love about directing.”
“I’m raised to actually think, to use my brain.”
“I love life and if there’s something that I’m playing that I love.”
“When it meets and things fall in line, it’s meant to happen. It’s happened that way.”
“A lot of people don’t know enough about me.”
“My favorite movie is ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”
“I took no money to make art, but my woman backed me up on it and I want my children to see their father happy.”
“People who know me, know who I am.”
“I was on Stargate: Atlantis for four years, playing a similar character called Ronon, who was an alien that didn’t say much and grunted. I’ve been there and done that.”
“I think a man needs to be a man. To hold a woman the way she wants to be held. Just do whatever your woman wants, and you’ll be fine.”
“You cannot embrace the action or play the role correctly if you’re having someone else do the movements for you.”
“I grew up rock climbing.”
“I’m half Hawaiian and the haka is a very sacred thing, something your family teaches you – my father taught me.”
“I don’t want to play a superhero. I didn’t want to get typecast. Drogo is an exceptional character. Conan is iconic.”
“I’m kind of ADD in that sense where if I start liking something, I’ll just learn it to the absolute max.”
“It’s not that demanding. It’s fun. That’s one of the great things about being an actor. You get to learn all these things normal people don’t get to learn. Around hallways, how to cross, how to signal everyone.”