“Impact” is an upcoming six-part short-form documentary series from Nat Geo about resilient women around the globe, and it is executive produced by “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot. The women featured are from diverse backgrounds, yet are connected by selflessness, determination, and commitment to others.
“There’s endless stories to tell,” Gadot said during National Geographic’s CTAM Winter 2021 Tour panel on Tuesday. “With all these women, what we can see is [that] all of them come from difficult circumstances,” she said. Their individual struggles fuel them to dream and speak up, leading to change in their communities. “I don’t know many women with this extent of an impact by the actions that they do,” Gadot said. By executive producing, Gadot wanted to do something that wasn’t about herself and her star powers; talk of Gadot doing narrations or intros didn’t go forward. Instead, she wanted to present the stories and inspire by the ripple effect of the subject’s actions.
“Everything we do is a true collaboration” with the subject, series director Vanessa Roth said. “The women are the experts in their own lives and their own locations,” Roth added, noting that the crews were kept small and intimate and in constant communication with each other and the subjects. “One of the criteria also in choosing the women…is how relatable all the women are and to really show how impact can be something that everyone can reach,” she said.
For subject Kameryn Everett, this series was an eye opener to her own power. “All this time I’ve spent working and teaching people, all my encounters with people, I never really realized how I was impacting them,” she said. It took until last year for her to realize she’d impacted hundreds of young girls. Tuany Nascimento, another subject in the series, said: “To be in this documentary is to give voice to these girls and to show the world what we’re doing.”
Gadot said she related to all the women feature in different ways. “A key thing for us was to make sure all of these women had a true impact on their communities,” she said. “It’s something that is big. It’s something that’s changing the lives of others.” Growing up, Gadot herself wanted to better the world and wondered how could she do that as just one person. “When you see all these women together…you realize that you can make a change,” she said.
“My biggest obstacle is overcoming my own fears,” Gadot said. “I really feel grateful for the life that I have and not having to deal with such big problems and issues.” After doing “Wonder Woman,” Gadot realized she had a huge reach and wanted to use that to do something good. “Maybe it ignites something in them and create[s] a movement of people who want to do good in the world,” she said.
It’s a sentiment that comes amid Gadot being criticized at the start of the pandemic for a well-intentioned if tonally unsound rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and her recent claims that producers of an upcoming Cleopatra movie she’s starring in couldn’t find a Macedonian actress.
The idea of obstacles and challenges take various forms within the series, whether it stems from the home or society. One episode looks at a young woman dealing with the loss of her sister from COVID and finding surf therapy as a form of healing. “The word ‘obstacle’ is very fluid,” Roth said. “Whatever their obstacle or challenge has been, the commonality is that the women chose to do something in that moment.”
There was no heavy push for diversity, but more a discussion of the story themselves. Gadot calls them women of wonder; “they are the true heroes,” she said. “They are there, on the ground, sweating and doing all they can to do what they can to make the world a better place.”
Gadot said she understood her own influence on young people as soon as “Wonder Woman” debuted. “I started to think about this that I really need to be responsible and truthful to anything that I spread out there, to the world,” said Gadot. “People really listen!”
“Impact” debuts on Nat Geo on April 19.