15 things you probably didn’t know about Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa. David M. Benett/Getty Images
  • Jason Momoa turns 42 on August 1.
  • He’s known for roles like Aquaman and Khal Drogo, but he got his start on “Baywatch: Hawaii.”
  • He is also an avid rock climber, guitar enthusiast, and YouTuber.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jason Momoa was born in Hawaii but raised in Iowa.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa. Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Momoa, an only child, was born in Honolulu to a photographer mother and a painter father, according to the Des Moines Register, but he was moved to Madison County, Iowa, at 6 months old after his parents divorced.

Momoa moved back to Hawaii after graduating high school to attend the University of Hawaii. He remains very connected to his Polynesian roots. 

Of Hawaii, he told CNN in 2019, “It’s my home. I’m Hawaiian. It’s my nationality.”

Momoa pretended he’d worked as a model to score his first acting gig.
Jason Momoa
Momoa in 2000. Evan Agostini/Getty Images
It’s been widely reported that Momoa started out as a model and how, at the age of 20, he was named Hawaii’s Model of the Year. Yet Momoa has admitted that was a lie he made up to help score his first acting gig on “Baywatch: Hawaii.”

“Actually I made that s— up!” he told Square Mile in 2018

While at a casting call with hundreds of other people, he said he was asked for a resume, which he didn’t have.

“They were like, ‘Dude, have you ever acted?'” he said. “I was like ‘No’, and they were like ‘Have you modeled?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m a big model. I do Gucci and Louis Vuitton,’ and I’m looking at my friend, and I’m like, ‘You did Prada, right?’ And he’s like ‘Yeah, yeah, we did that in Japan.’ So we were just kind of making it up on the spot.”

Momoa was on “Baywatch: Hawaii” between 1999 and 2001 … though he doesn’t like to talk about it.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa and ‘Baywatch: Hawaii’ cast member Brande Roderick in 2000. Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Momoa’s first acting gig was as Jason Ioane on “Baywatch: Hawaii.” He appeared in 44 episodes of the show, and it laid the foundation for following acting opportunities.

But in a 2019 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, the actor made it pretty clear his early acting days are out of sight, out of mind.

“I drank that away, that wasn’t me,” he told DeGeneres. “Those memories are gone.”

He’s taller than you’d think.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa in 2020. David M. Benett/Getty Images
It’s tough to tell watching him on screen but Momoa is actually 6 ft 5 inches (13cm). Momoa said his height gave him an advantage when auditioning for roles like Khal Drogo and Conan, telling Access Hollywood in 2011: “When you have a big 6’5″ Hawaiian, screaming at the top of his lungs … casting directors were kind of very scared. It worked.”
Before he decided on his now-signature long hair, Momoa had dreadlocks while on “Stargate: Atlantis.”
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa in 2007. Jeffrey Mayer/Getty Images
Back in the early aughts during his run on the sci-fi show “Stargate: Atlantis,” Momoa rocked the dreadlocks, until they became so heavy he had them cut off between the fourth and fifth seasons, according to GateWorld. In order for his character, Ronon Dex, to keep his signature look, the show made a $US10,000 ($AU13,506) custom wig for him to wear instead … although it was just as heavy as his original hair.

Let’s face it, short hair, long hair, dreadlocks? He can rock anything.

That slit on his left eyebrow isn’t a stylistic choice.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa in 2018. Chris Hyde/Getty Images
It’s actually a scar, and back in 2011, Momoa told Access Hollywood the scary story of how he got it. 

“It was crazy,” he told Access. “A guy smashed a pint glass in my face. I got a little over 140 stitches in my face. It helped get those mean roles. It just doesn’t grow there anymore.”

Momoa added that he thinks the man smashed his face as part of a “gang initiation.” 

Momoa auditioned for the part of Khal Drogo in a unique way.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa performing the haka in 2018. Darryl Oumi/Getty Images
To prove he could convincingly portray the intense Dothraki leader, Momoa performed the haka, a traditional dance of New Zealand’s Māori people. 

During a screening of “Aquaman” in Hawaii in 2018, Momoa, who is of Polynesian descent, emotionally led a group performance of the haka and called it “one of the greatest moments of my life.” 

He’s an avid rock climber and has his own line of climbing products.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa climbing at an event in 2016. Europa Press Entertainment/Getty Images
Momoa has said that “climbing found me, it blessed me, and I fell in love with it.” Over the past few years, we’ve gotten to see just how great a climber the “GOT” and “Aquaman” star is through his YouTube channel and Instagram page.

But he’s not just a hobbyist — he’s respected by some of the sport’s biggest names. In 2019, he hung out with Jimmy Chin, director of the Oscar-winning film “Free Solo” and climber in his own right. He even presented Chin with his Oscar for best documentary feature.

Momoa also has his own line of climbing products with the company So iLL

He’s such a fan of the sport that he’s also begun teaching his kids how to climb. 

He also owns a canned water business.
Jason Momoa
Jason Mamoa in 2018. Rick Kern/Getty Images
In an effort to reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles polluting the world’s oceans, Momoa started the company Mananalu in April 2019. The canned water’s website states that less than 9% of plastic is recycled and only 3% of discarded single-use plastics bottles are recycled into a new product — “at best, it’s going to the landfill. At worst, it’s in the ocean,” the website says. 

In a video announcing the launch of Mananalu, Momoa said, “About 75% of all aluminum that’s ever been used is still in circulation today, and it’s 100% recyclable. You drink the can, and in about 60 days it’ll be back.”

Momoa loves Guinness so much that he also has his own line of Guinness beers.
Jason momoa drinking guinness
Jason Momoa drinking a Guinness on the ‘Aquaman’ red carpet. Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
While filming “Game of Thrones” in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Momoa traveled to the Guinness brewery to try out his very own beer: The Mano. It’s a sour beer, the first of its kind from Guinness. The bottle is adorned with Momoa’s signature and features designs inspired by the actor’s tattoos and Hawaiian heritage. 

Momoa also used the beer to bulk up when filming “Game of Thrones.” To make his character Khal Drogo look even bigger, he stuck to a diet of Guinness and pizza, according to People

There’s a very cool meaning behind the tattoo on Momoa’s left arm.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa’s tattoo. Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Momoa’s family’s guardian is the shark. According to Yahoo Entertainment, the rows of black triangles on Momoa’s left arm are meant to resemble shark teeth.

When he’s in the water, it supposedly helps sharks recognize that he’s one of their own. 

Momoa gives fans a glimpse into his life through his YouTube channel.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa. Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images
Whether it’s a trip back home to visit his mom in Iowa, behind the scenes footage from his show “See,” or surprising his wife with a vintage Mustang, Momoa gives his 924,000 subscribers an intimate look at his personal and professional life through his YouTube channel. Not to mention all of the wild motorcycle riding, climbing, and other cool stuff he does all over the world. 
Momoa played Ozzy Osbourne in the music video for the Prince of Darkness’ 2020 song “Scary Little Green Men.”
Jason Momoa
Momoa in the music video. Ozzy Osbourne/YouTube
In a behind-the-scenes teaser for the music video, Momoa says, “I’m just really stoked and honored that Ozzy and Sharon trusted in me to do the promos for the video and I’m blessed. I would never think in a billion years that one of my gods — when I was a little kid, Black Sabbath — to be able to do his music video, it’s unbelievable. I was like, ‘H– yes, h— yes I’ll do it for you, any time buddy.'”
In addition to Momoa’s many other skills, he’s also an instrumentalist.
Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa. GVK/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images
Momoa’s main instrument is guitar — he geeked out over guitars with Slash while interviewing the Guns N’ Roses guitarist in October 2020 — but recently he’s picked up the bass.

He’s been practicing with some of the best to sharpen his skills: In September 2020, he hung out with Primus bassist Les Claypool. He also hopped on stage with the Mike Hayes Band the same month for a jam. 

Momoa is surprisingly good friends with Lenny Kravitz, the ex-husband of his wife, Lisa Bonet, and is close with step-daughter Zoë Kravitz.
Jason momoa lenny kravitz lisa bonet zoe kravitz
Jason Momoa, Lisa Bonet, Lenny Kravitz, and Zoe Kravitz. Alexandra Wyman / Getty Images
In an October 2020 cover story for Men’s Health, Kravitz laid it out plain and simple that there’s no beef between him and Momoa.

“People can’t believe how tight Jason and I are, or how tight I still am with Zoë’s mom, how we all relate,” Kravitz said. “We just do it because that’s what you do. You let love rule, right?”

Kravitz was married to Bonet from 1987 to 1993 and had one daughter, Zoë, together. “I mean, obviously, after a breakup, it’s work — it takes some work and time, healing and reflection, et cetera,” Kravitz added. “But as far as Jason and I? Literally the moment we met, we were like, ‘Oh, yeah. I love this dude.'”