10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jason Momoa
8. Early Life
Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa was born on August 1, 1979 in Honlulu, Hawaii, to Coni and Joseph Momoa. As an only child growing up, his mother worked as a photographer and his father was a painter. When he was still young, Momoa’s parents split and his mother moved to Norwalk, Iowa, where he was raised. After high school, he had no plans to become an actor and went to college in Iowa to study marine biology but eventually transferred to wildlife biology at Colorado State University. He never finished his degree, as he chose to travel and went back to Hawaii in an effort to reconnect with his father.
7. Becoming An Actor
With his breakout role being as a sexy lifeguard on Baywatch, it shouldn’t be surprising that Momoa was actually a lifeguard in real life. While still a teen, he worked as a lifeguard and was so impressive that he became the youngest lifeguard in the history of the Gulf Coast. He was soon spotted by a modeling agency and in 1999 was named Hawaii’s Model of the Year. That same year he landed his very first role in Baywatch, but it wasn’t his lifeguard experience that they were interested in. Momoa said on his resume that he had modeled for brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci which won him the part despite having no acting experience. Of landing his breakout role, Momoa said, “I was 19 and folding T-shirts in a surf shop. And I got chosen out of 1,300 people to play a leading role on ‘Baywatch Hawaii’. I didn’t even know how to act. It took me five years to get an agent after [that]. No one would take me seriously after ‘Baywatch’. I lived in the shadow of that for a long time.”