15 things you probably didn’t know about Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa

  • Jason Momoa is known for his roles as Aquaman and Khal Drogo, but there's to the actor than just his gripping performances. 
  • Momoa is an avid rock climber, a guitar enthusiast, and an active YouTuber. 
  • According to Momoa, he got his start in acting on the show "Baywatch: Hawaii" after lying that he'd worked as a model for Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Jason Momoa is known by most people as the Dothraki chieftain Khal Drogo from "Game of Thrones" and the superhero "Aquaman." 

But did you know, long before he grew out his luscious long hair and beard, he got his start as a lifeguard on "Baywatch: Hawaii"? And did you know, when he's not on set, Momoa can frequently be found at the climbing gym, jamming with famous musicians, and vlogging his world travels?

Simply because we love him so much, we decided to round up 15 interesting facts you might not know about Jason Momoa. 

Jason Momoa was born in Hawaii but raised in Iowa.

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 raised in Madison County, Iowa, from the age of 6 months 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 said he pretended he'd worked as a model to score his first acting gig.

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 modelled?' 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.

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."

Jason Momoa is taller than you'd think.

It's tough to tell watching him on screen but Momoa is actually 6 ft 5 inches. 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 signature long hair, Jason Momoa had dreadlocks while on "Stargate: Atlantis."

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 $10,000 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? Jason Momoa can rock anything.

That slit on his eyebrow isn't a stylistic choice.

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.

To prove he could convincingly portray the intense Dothraki chieftain, Momoa performed the haka, a traditional dance of New Zealand's Maori 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.

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. Last year he hung out with Jimmy Chin, climber and director of the Oscar Award-winning film "Free Solo." 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.

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 percent of all aluminum that's ever been used is still in circulation today, and it's 100 percent recyclable. You drink the can, and in about 60 days it'll be back."

Momoa loves Guinness so much he has his own brand of beer.


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.

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.

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 881,000 subscribers an intimate look at his personal and professional life through his YouTube channel. Not to mention all of the bada– 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."

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 Jason Momoa's many other skills, he's also an instrumentalist.

Momoa's main instrument is guitar — he geeked out over guitars with Slash while interviewing the Guns N' Roses guitarist in October — but recently he's picked up the bass.

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

Jason Momoa is surprisingly good friends with Lenny Kravitz, the ex-husband of his wife, Lisa Bonet.

In an October 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.'" 

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