For years now, Gal Gadot has dominated the Hollywood film industry with her powerful performances in leading roles, making her way into our moviegoing hearts and minds. For the past few months, the Israeli-born actress and entrepreneur has also been making her way into our kitchens through the fast-growing success and expanding product accessibility of her healthier mac and cheese company, GOODLES.
Being a founding partner of GOODLES, I spoke exclusively with Gadot last week about an exciting announcement that she and her team are making today, but just like her Wonder Woman films so far, origin stories are necessary to truly appreciate the bigger picture to what comes next.
So first off, I asked Gadot what it is exactly about mac and cheese that makes it such a favorite dish for her.
“Everything, it’s comforting food,” says Gadot. “It’s salty, it has sweetness to it. Everything about mac and cheese is happy, it makes me happy. And for me, I grew up in Israel and we didn’t have the mac and cheese instant boxes and I remember being so happy every time my aunt and uncle came from America and the only gift they would give me is a bag filled with boxes of mac and cheese. So, it’s like something that I’ve been loving since forever, really.”
Gadot goes on to say that this partnership was right up her alley, praising her GOODLES team with managing to make this still relatively new startup company so fun and positive. So how exactly did Gadot get in the mix of this mac and cheese brand?
“I met up with [GOODLES CEO and co-founder] Jen [Zeszut] a couple years before we even started working on GOODLES and she pitched us a different venture that didn’t feel right on-brand for me. And then when we just spoke, she asked What type of foods do you like? Then I mentioned mac and cheese. At the beginning of the pandemic, she called me and she said Okay, so I have this amazing team and we want to make healthy, better, gooder version of mac and cheese. Are you in? So first of all, of course I was in because it’s something that I love so much but not just because of my plain passion for the product but also because of the people involved.”
GOODLES prides itself on containing 15 grams of protein per 1 cup serving, which is 60% more protein than the other leading mac and cheese brands on the market today. It is also packed with 6 grams of fiber, prebiotics to support gut health, and 21 nutrients from organic plants. Within her Founding Partner role, Gadot is part of the day-to-day process at GOODLES, from retailer relations, press and media relations, brand-building and business development to fundraising. She also makes the time to do several fun taste-testing videos of GOODLES products on her official Instagram page for her nearly 80 million devoted followers to learn about.
To date, Gooder Foods, Inc., the parent company of GOODLES, has raised $6.4 million from investors, ranging from venture capital firms to top athletes and entertainers. When speaking to me about the value that Gadot continues to bring to the GOODLES team, CEO Zeszut says, “It’s amazing to work alongside this incredible world-class team every day! Gal is just like the rest of us: super hardworking, coming up with ideas for the business and the brand constantly. She’s talking to investors, retail buyers, giving feedback on product, and shooting content. She’s incredibly involved and committed!”
Gadot reveals to me, “This is the first time that I’ve been involved from ground zero to the end product and it has been a fascinating process because we started with a goal. We wanted to make something that is better, that has more nutrition, that has more protein, that has more vegetables in it. We wanted to make sure that we have a clean label. We had big inspirations but the way to get there was very long and it was fascinating because I remember I used to get zip-lock bags with different GOODLES with different recipes and we used to taste it and get together and talk about the taste and talk about the texture. We had literally one thousand recipes until we got to the right one. So, we wanted to make sure that once we launched, we do it the right way.”
Since launching on November 16, 2021, its first four mac and cheese flavors (Cheddy Mac, Shella Good, Twist My Parm, and Mover & Shaker) continue to be available for purchase on the GOODLES website. Gadot says she and her GOODLES team are working hard to create more flavors that she cannot wait for everyone to try. She also shares that her team is working on bringing gluten-free and vegan options to the market soon, so that everyone can enjoy GOODLES.
When Gadot is not working on her next big blockbuster film or dedicating her time to building public awareness of the GOODLES brand, she is home with her husband Jaron Varsano and their three daughters. So, being a parent herself and mindful of the nutritional meals that she strives to provide for her own family, I wondered if Gadot’s passion for GOODLES came at all from the healthier food options she initially had difficultly finding for her own household.
“It’s exactly that. It came out of a need. I workout a lot, I try to have the healthiest diet that I can possibly have, especially when I am filming Wonder Woman and different type of movies. I do believe that our bodies are temples and we should treat it this way. And also, our girls, like every other kid, they go to school and you always struggle with lunchbox and what do I get them today. And to me, mac and cheese was a cheat meal for so many years and now finally, I offer it and first of all, I consume it and eat it and enjoy it and have zero guilt over it. And now my girls, like twice a week, they have GOODLES in their lunchboxes. They absolutely love it, they ask for it, and I don’t feel bad as a mother because it’s so important for all of us to make sure that our kids are being fed the right way.”
Gadot is currently in London filming the live-action Disney film Snow White, where she is playing The Evil Queen. When I asked Gadot how her filming experience has been going so far, she answered with a playfully sinister voice, “I love it (laughs)! It’s fun, I get to do something different. I get to sing and I get to dance and I get to play the villain, which is something that I’ve never done before – and it’s the first Disney villain ever. I really enjoy working with all people involved, with Marc Webb [directing] and Marc Platt producing and Disney, of course, [actress] Rachel Zegler. It’s just a great experience and I really, really enjoy it and The Evil Queen is very evil, so it’s going to be interesting.”
When I finally decided to bring up her beloved Wonder Woman performances during our phone conversation, Gadot surprised me by letting me know that her “best friend from LA” is visiting her in London and is actually sitting right next to her, which turned out to be none other than Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 writer/director Patty Jenkins.
When I said hello to Jenkins and congratulated her on being an unstoppable force with Gadot for what is soon to become a Wonder Woman trilogy of films, Jenkins responded by saying, “Thank you! So happy to hear that. I appreciate that. We can’t wait to get the next movie out, too.” Gadot quickly followed up from Jenkins’ remarks by saying in an excited tone, “We’re talking! We’re actually in the mix of working on the script and getting the third one made, so it’s all wheels are working and turning and I’m super, super excited for the fans to come and watch Wonder Woman 3 once it’s made.”
In the meantime, Gadot and her GOODLES team are finding their own ways to save the day and give back. According to Zeszut, GOODLES commits to donating at least one percent of all product sold to help in the fight against food insecurity with charitable partners like World Central Kitchen, local food banks, and other organizations across the United States. Due to GOODLES sales being so strong since launching, the team will be donating five giant semi-trucks filled with their nutrient-packed mac and cheese to about a dozen charitable partner organizations around the country.
If this is all not enough great news from Gadot today, she has one more big announcement for her many loyal supporters and fellow mac and cheese fans.
“So the most exciting news that I can share in regards to GOODLES is that we’ve launched months ago, the word’s been out, we’ve been selling online. We had product when we launched that we thought would last for four months and after two and a half weeks, we were lucky enough to be sold out. And of course, we are selling again but now, people have been asking me over and over Where can we purchase GOODLES? I am so happy to say that we’re going to be available on Target, rolling out to more than 1,900 stores nationwide starting in mid-April. Also, I’m super proud of the price point at Target that will be only $2.99 per box. Now, even more people can have access to GOODLES and enjoy a healthy and delicious version of the mac and cheese that we all love.”
Wrapping up my elaborate conversation with Gadot, I asked this GOODLES founding partner, in-demand movie star, and mother of three how she is able to make time for everything going on in her world right now.
“I think that when you’re passionate enough about something, you make the time. You just make the time, you make it as a priority. I’m only making time for things that I care about, for things that I believe in, and for things that I’m passionate about. So, it’s not like I have a lot of time in my day, but you sleep less and you enjoy what you do and that gives you more energy.”