Gal Gadot awarded the first-ever ‘Wonder Woman’ scholarship to an 18-year-old aspiring screenwriter
“Wonder Woman” met her match.
Actress Gal Gadot, who portrayed the feminist comic book heroine on the big screen, awarded 18-year-old college freshman named Carla Arellano the first-ever Warner Bros. Wonder Woman scholarship — a four-year, full-ride to college worth more than $250,000.
“I’ve had the privilege of portraying a superhero on screen, but the young women here today are the real superheros,” Gadot said at the The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment event Wednesday. “She’s strong-minded, opinionated and gutsy,” Gadot praised, before presenting Arellano with the surprise of her life.
“To be honest it still doesn’t feel real,” Arellano, who attends Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, tells Moneyish of the moment when Gadot called her up on the stage and hugged her, before Justin Timberlake asked if she was “Okay” as she held back tears. Warner Bros. was seeking a recipient for their new “Wonder Woman” scholarship and connected with faculty at LMU, who recommended Arellano for her outstanding academic achievement.
“Man, I knew something was up. Ya’ll are sneaky,” she laughed, while making her heartfelt speech that ended with a quote from one of her idols, Frida Kahlo: “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”
The aspiring screenwriter was an active member in her high school’s feminist club so writing movies like “Wonder Woman,” is her goal. She admires Gadot’s character, Diana Prince, for proving that women can do it all — work hard and kick butt.
“There was this one part where she [Diana Prince] gets distracted by a baby. That was really important. Obviously you see her kick ass, but at the same time you see her being tender. For a lot of us when growing up as a young woman, you’re told if you’re emotional you can’t make concrete decisions,” says Arellano. “That’s BS, you can totally kick ass and be maternal. Moms kick ass every day. It was great to see her [Diana Prince] doing it all.”
After the award, Arellano got to take a picture with Gadot, but was too star struck to carry on a conversation.
“She was a lot more beautiful. She’s a lot taller,” Arellano admits, adding: “She congratulated me. She was very happy to do that.”
The courageous college student was able to grab a quick selfie with Glenn Close, who posed for a selfie and congratulated her. “I’ll probably meet her again,” Arellano says.
Arellano says she would not have been able to continue her time at school if it wasn’t for the funding. A proud Mexican-American, she and her brother are the first in her family to get a higher education.
“It means so much more than I could ever summarize. My parents finished high school in Mexico. Going to college was always my dream. It seemed like the only thing getting in the way was money,” she says. “There was no other reason why I wasn’t able to go. I applied to schools where the cost to go to one year is what my mom makes in two or three. Even though I am a minority that comes from a low socio-economic background, I’m still so privileged to go to a funded private university.”
She aspires to one day write the next blockbuster — currently, she’s obsessed with Disney’s “Coco” — and hopes her acceptance speech is the first of many more to come.
“I was making people laugh and cry and that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. If I can just write something, produce something that makes people do that, I know that I’ve done my job.”
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