Wonder Woman star and 2017’s breakout talent Gal Gadot was about to give up on her acting career before landing the iconic DC Comics superhero role, but now she’s attained the most coveted role of all: the face of a beauty campaign. Last week, Revlon announced the Israeli actress to be its newest Global Brand Ambassador, appearing in the soon-to-launch “Live Boldly” campaign. You can watch a sneak preview of the ad below—but turn down your volume if you’re in the office.
Even in this time of mega-movie stardom, it’s not an overstatement to say that being the face of a beauty campaign is the most coveted role of all. Serving as a spokesmodel for a major brand’s advertising campaign is the Holy Grail for performers: It’s prestigious because it means you’re famous enough to be known just for your face—which requires far lower effort and less work than the responsibilities of a feature film. Oh—and it pays very well. For example, Kendall Jenner’s annual salary jumped from $4 million in 2015 to $10 million in 2016 due to her partnership with Estée Lauder. Fashion models have long depended on the beauty campaign for the lucrative paychecks, as magazine editorials (even for Vogue) pay a day rate around $125.
“Doing a magazine editorial is basically volunteer work,” Jenna Sauers, a former model explains in Jezebel. “[W]here a model makes her money—if she makes money—is in advertising campaigns (which are rare but extremely lucrative) and catalogs (which are somewhat easier to book and generally offer day rates in the low-to-mid thousands).”
The job isn’t just sitting back and looking pretty, of course: you are required to do press interviews and appearances on behalf of companies like Revlon, shoot photos and videos, and only wear Revlon makeup (or at least, keep mum about the other beauty brands you’re wearing). But Gadot is already pulling it off. At the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, she wore Super Lustrous Lipstick in red, Mega Multiplier Mascara, and ColorStay Foundation.
It is unknown what Gadot is earning for being the face of Revlon, but it is likely to be more than what she made for her first appearance as Wonder Woman: a base salary of $300,000. When her salary was first announced, the internet was outraged because they thought it was 46 times less than Henry Cavill’s first appearance as Superman in Man of Steel. Later, it was revealed by Vanity Fair that Gadot’s relatively low paycheck was due to her entry-level status in a new franchise—and that Cavill’s paycheck was not just for one film (though more details could not be confirmed). “If you do an apples to apples comparison, she was paid at least as much as he was,” a source said.
“I’ve been familiar with [Revlon] since I can remember myself wearing makeup,” Gadot told WWD. “They love women, they celebrate women and they’re very accessible.” Revlon’s parent company, Revlon, Inc., which also owns Elizabeth Arden and Almay, is aiming for $5 billion in sales by 2022 by revitalizing its marketing approach by partnering with more social media-friendly celebrities.
But choosing Gadot as spokesmodel is a potentially risky choice, even if she is currently Hollywood’s darling. The former Miss Israel was a combat instructor in the Israel Defense Forces for two years, which she credits for helping her land the role of Gisele in Fast & Furious: ”I think the main reason was that the director Justin Lin really liked that I was in the military, and he wanted to use my knowledge of weapons,” she said.
The brand’s choice of hiring Gadot, who is currently Israel’s most famous resident, could face protests in the relatively pro-Palestinian European market. It also risks alienating the Arabic Middle Eastern market, such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia, which are some of the most lucrative and competitive beauty markets in the world. There is precedence for these potential consequences: last year, Lebanon banned Wonder Woman from theaters due to Gal Gadot’s past in the Israeli army, and in 2009, Oxfam International severed ties with its ambassador Kristen Davis (aka Sex and the City‘s Charlotte) when she became a spokesmodel for Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, which uses materials from the disputed Palestinian West Bank region. Ahava dropped her shortly afterwards, too.
Is it worth the risk? As startup brands like Glossier become leaders in the beauty industry, Revlon needs to take a chance. And Gadot can definitely wear a red lip.