‘Baywatch’ Spinoff Almost Tanked Jason Momoa’s Acting Career

These days, Jason Momoa is instantly recognizable. With his smoldering, brooding looks and his acting chops, Momoa has appeared in several big films in the last several years. Prior to that, Momoa appeared on several television shows as well, rising more prominently into the public eye with his performance in Game of Thrones. However, Momoa wasn’t always doing fantasy — and before television, he wasn’t working in show business at all. 

Jason Momoa lied about modeling

Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa | Mike Coppola/FilmMagic

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Over the years, word has spread across the internet that Jason Momoa was a model prior to his work on television. And it’s easy to believe — the guy is chiseled and handsome. 

Many have been led to believe that Momoa was declared the 1999 Hawaii Model of the Year, and that he walked a Louis Vuitton runway for the Governor’s Fashion Show. However, Momoa has since made it clear that he made all that up. In fact, Momoa pretended he modeled because he didn’t have a resume on hand. 

“No, actually I made that sh*t up!” explained Momoa when asked by Square Mile. He went on to explain that the modeling lie was born out of a need for work, and a lack of a resume. 

“When I was in Hawaii I went to a casting call for Baywatch Hawaii – it was basically like a cattle call for 1,300 people. I got there, and seven hours later when I finally got to the front of the line, they said, ‘Oh, you’ve got to have a resume,’” he explained.

“I was like, ‘Oh yeah, well, I don’t have one.’ They were like, ‘Dude, have you ever acted?’ 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.”

‘Baywatch: Hawaii’ almost tanked his career

Jason Momoa of Baywatch Hawaii
Jason Momoa of Baywatch: Hawaii | Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Jason Momoa wound up landing the job after telling his white lie about modeling. His role on Baywatch: Hawaii wound up being his first appearance on television, and set him on the path to future success. But not before a few hiccups.

Momoa explained that working on Baywatch: Hawaii helped ignite his passion for acting and show business, but that his role left him in a challenging position.

“I got my start on Baywatch. [It was] very crazy, ’cause I was a college student in Colorado… I was 19 and running around with no clothes on and saving people. But it gave me my passion for acting, which I fell in love with,” Momoa told Radio 1.

However, his role on the show meant he had trouble finding other work.

“It lead to getting no respect for about 4 years and I couldn’t get an agent to save my life. I just became a rock-climbing bum and I spent the little money I got from Baywatch and travelled the world,” Momoa explained.