By Mitchell Parrish
He's the man who has always taken a rugged approach to pretty much everything: his fashion sense, his complexion, and, indeed, his attitude towards fitness.

Rocky outposts and rough terrain have replaced those elegant, sprawling Cali beaches of Baywatch, not just the rugged landscapes of Game of Thrones' Dothraki Sea to the deep, nor the mythical waters of Atlantis in the DC Extended Universe, but also a passion for rock climbing, as depicted on the HBO series The Climb.

Away from that, it has been the role as Arthur Curry – the Aquaman alias – that recently has reinforced the 44-year-old's status as a true Hollywood A-lister. His portrayal of the Atlantean king garners acclaim and validates a position as a leading man in a genuine blockbuster franchise monster.

Of course, Momoa still stands by a resume that's sprinkled with an eclectic mix of films, series, and projects, from his lead role in the post-apocalyptic drama See to last year's comedy-drama Slumberland to his involvement in the Dune adaptation. Next up, he has the Apple TV+ project Chief of War.

Yet, amidst all his achievements, what truly stands out is Momoa's authenticity, advocacy for environmental causes, and the undeniable passion he brings to every endeavor. It's evident he is not just a star; he's a force of nature in his own right.

Momoa has two teenage children, daughter Lola Iolani, 16- and 14-year-old Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha, with ex-wife Lisa Bonet.

STRIPLV: How did you approach taking on the role of Aquaman again, a character with such a unique reputation in comic-book history?
MOMOA: Aquaman is undoubtedly one of the most challenging characters in the comic-book realm, often facing jest and mockery. Despite this, I tried to infuse the character with depth and emotion. Am I anxious about how the sequel will be received? Not really. I've poured my heart into the role, but ultimately, its success lies in the hands of many others.
STRIPLV: Can you share with us what your diet was like in preparation for the sequel?
MOMOA: It required dedication, and I incorporated plenty of veggies, especially cauliflower and leafy greens. I also ensured I had fruit, preferably before workouts or a long day on set for that energy boost. I have a love affair with Guinness, and I couldn't resist my daily pint. Peanut butter was another staple, the all-natural kind, of course, and occasionally, I'd have honey sandwiches, likely on whole grain bread or fresh sourdough, as a pre-workout meal. On top of that, protein was obviously key, so chicken and steak regularly. Being from Hawaii, I have a penchant for sashimi, with Aku or skipjack tuna being a favorite of mine. And let's not forget the supplements. I took protein powder, mass gainer, and creatine to help with muscle-building. It's all about balance and giving my body what it needs to perform at its best.
STRIPLV: So well fuelled for workouts?
MOMOA: Yes, but, as always, that was a lot of hard, tough work where I was doing as I would usually do and targeting different muscle groups each day, five days a week, and making sure that I was giving two of the muscles worked two days of rest and then get back to it, all over again.
STRIPLV: There were many varied filming locations for this sequel. How did you find them?
MOMOA: Filming across the UK, in London, Hawaii, and LA was an enriching journey. Each location added a unique essence, from London's historic ambiance to Hawaii's spiritual roots and LA's vibrant energy. It was a mixture of great experiences that helped to shape my portrayal of the character. Although, when you're filming, you could be anywhere in the universe!
STRIPLV: With your incredible journey in the entertainment industry spanning over two decades, how would you define your current drive and passion for your craft?
MOMOA: Every day is a relentless pursuit. From the moment I began at 19, I've been pushing forward with unwavering intensity, and now, some 25 years later, my journey has only grown richer. The past years have been transformative, sculpting me as an artist and honing my craft.
With over a decade committed to my craft, I feel I'm at a pinnacle, genuinely embodying the dreams I once only envisioned. It's not just about the roles or projects; it's a deeper passion that fuels me. Every script I take on every scene I appear in is an echo of what ignites my spirit and keeps my passion alive.
STRIPLV: Post-Game of Thrones, how did the typecasting and preconceptions based on your roles affect your career trajectory?
MOMOA: The period following Game of Thrones was undoubtedly a tough phase in my career. Despite the fun of Conan, its underwhelming reception was disheartening. Also, the real rise of Game of Thrones to its iconic status didn't happen until its third or fourth season. This made landing diverse roles challenging; there seemed to be a reluctance in imagining the "intimidating, silent warrior" in lighter roles like comedies or romances. It was a journey of breaking through those pre-set notions.
STRIPLV: How do you view the role of luck in your journey to success and the choices you make in selecting projects?
MOMOA: While Aquaman catapulted my career to another level, I've always been driven by my passion, striving to make my mark. It's not just about talent or hard work. There's a sprinkle of luck involved, too. It's crucial to remember that the measure of success is subjective. I don't base my choices on the potential success of a project; it's more about personal satisfaction. I want to leave a legacy where my children see their father as someone who pursued his dreams, irrespective of external validations.
STRIPLV: Is your comedy work somewhere in the past now, would you say?
MOMOA: Initially, I rooted myself in comedy, deeply driven by its spontaneity and charm. Over the years, while roles that truly resonated with my comedic passion were sparse, the silver lining emerged in writing. Today, the exhilaration I feel stems from crafting my own comedic narratives. This newfound avenue of writing not only bridges past aspirations with current accomplishments but also provides an unfiltered canvas to express my originality and creative spirit.
STRIPLV: You've spoken about maintaining a sense of normalcy with your family despite your celebrity status. How do you manage to balance the demands of your profession with ensuring you are present as a father for your children?
MOMOA: Keeping grounded with my family has always been a priority. Whether it's camping, indulging in music, or engaging in sports, I make sure we have our quality moments. When I'm with them, the celebrity tag takes a back seat, and I solely embrace the role of a father.
STRIPLV: How do you manage that work-life balance, especially with the demands of your filming schedule?
MOMOA: It's a challenge, given, definitely. I don't get the luxury of seeing my children as often as I'd like. However, I make it a point to connect with them, checking in at least twice daily. It's essential for me to share experiences with them. I'm now only embracing roles and projects that align with my passions. When the kids were younger, I took on jobs that weren't necessarily my first choice, but it was all to provide for them. Now, I believe it's vital to collaborate only with those who resonate with your values and aspirations.
STRIPLV: How would you describe another of your projects, Chief of War?
MOMOA: This project, for me, stands parallel to the stature of films like Braveheart or Dances with Wolves. It's monumental in terms of its depth and impact. I never anticipated the magnitude it would attain. It has undoubtedly been the most rigorous and demanding undertaking of my career.
STRIPLV: Can you share some insights into that character, Kaʻiana, and his challenges in this new environment?
MOMOA: Kaʻiana, the chief I portray, embarks on a harrowing journey to a foreign land with the mission of rescuing a dear friend. The scenes are intense, almost like a prison uprising – imagine a tumultuous backdrop of hangings, falls, musket fire, and widespread inferno. Kaʻiana undergoes a profound transformation. As he attempts to liberate the oppressed, he encounters a world alien to him – witnessing poverty, drug abuse, and more. It's the story of a man viewing a new world through unspoiled eyes.
STRIPLV: As an artist, how significant is this project in terms of your connection to your Hawaiian heritage?
MOMOA: This isn't just a film; it's a heartfelt tribute to my Hawaiian heritage. While I've played diverse roles in my career, this feels like my magnum opus, my deep-rooted homage to my ancestors. Hawaii is rich in untold tales, and through this project, I aim to illuminate some of those narratives. It's not about acclaim or accolades; it's about honoring the legacy of my people and presenting their stories with the respect and reverence they deserve.
STRIPLV: And, of course, a lot of filming for Chief of War was in New Zealand. You've often spoken about your affinity towards the country, especially given its parallels with Hawaiian culture.
MOMOA: The allure of New Zealand goes beyond its mesmerizing landscapes. For me, it's the profound respect shown towards Maori culture that stands out. Unlike in Hawaii, where our culture was overshadowed, and our lands were seized, New Zealand showcases a rare synergy. The English, or the white settlers, and the Māori established a treaty, symbolizing respect and unity. What's even more intriguing is the linguistic parallel between the Hawaiian and Maori languages. It's a testament to the deep-rooted connections among Polynesian cultures, something I hold immense pride in.
STRIPLV: How does your Polynesian heritage influence your roles, primarily as Aquaman, and your broader perspective on global issues, like the climate crisis?
MOMOA: Embracing my Polynesian heritage in roles like that feels like a privilege. Growing up, I yearned for heroes on screen that echoed my brown skin, tattoos, and identity. Being that representation now, especially for younger generations, is incredibly pleasing for me. As a Polynesian, the pressing climate crisis hits close to home. Our beautiful island nations are on the frontline, bearing the brunt of global warming. Representing these vulnerable communities, whether on-screen or at platforms like the UN, instills a sense of responsibility and urgency in me.
STRIPLV: Your tattoos, especially those on your head, seem to hold a deep personal significance. Can you elaborate on their meanings and how they tie into your Hawaiian identity?
MOMOA: Indeed, each ink on my body carries a profound connection to my life and heritage. My tattoos are more than just designs; they're memoirs of people I've cherished and lost. They serve as a bridge to my Hawaiian roots and the indelible bonds I've formed over the years. In many ways, I would say that they're a canvas of my personal journey.
STRIPLV: Regarding what you like to do away from the fanfare, a rockface ranks high on your list of great escapes, right? Where does this passion originate from?
MOMOA: For me, it represents authentic strength. It's the kind of strength you can't fake. You don't have it; you fall. It's also immediate. It's focus for me; strength is always about physical drive and power, but it's also for me about focus. Sometimes, you have a split second to think about it, and sometimes, even less than that, but you need to react to the challenge, to the moment. I would say climbing has quickened my reactions and my thoughts. It's taken me to a place where I'm not that Baywatch dude sliding around on a beach looking at girls. The strength is in a totally different area, a totally different zone. It's fast, and it's real. It offers me a tranquillity that's unparalleled. Every movement, every grip, makes me feel alive and connected to my environment. It's not just about the physicality; it's the dance with uncertainty, the push against my internal boundaries.
STRIPLV: Internal boundaries?
MOMOA: I'll put It another way. Most people, when they get past 40 and 50, start worrying about losing speed of thought or reactions or spark awareness. Call it what you want. I am in the zone now where I've never felt faster in my mind. Whatever I am doing is working because I'm on it all the time. That's how I feel. What's interesting is it's very difficult for me now to have the motivation or enthusiasm to work out for vanity reasons. Instead, what I found I was looking for was something that I could feel coming from deep inside like a very raw, almost cannibalistic instinct to build real warrior power and to protect those around me at the same time.
STRIPLV: It sounds like the uplift you get mentally is as important as conquering something physically.
MOMOA: Rock-climbing is there because that helps me stay sane, always. It gives me such a release because I need to be so switched on to strength, problem-solving, danger, and stamina. If I'm in the mood, I'll take it a step further with bouldering. You won't improve your strength by climbing. You'll just prove you have it and can use it. My other favorite pursuits tap into the same need for total synergy between mind and body. There's surfing, the truest battle of the elements, while MMA is the perfect combination of respect, power, and control. Add in hiking, Yoga, and boxing. These, to me, are the purest of exercise forms and the most valuable.
STRIPLV: How does rock climbing permeate through into your physical acting roles?
MOMOA: I have to slow down some of the climbing if I'm bulking up for Aquaman, for instance. The injury risk is higher, and sometimes, I need to flatten the aggression a bit to make sure I can get a thick-skin look or some power going through the legs. People think climbing is about the upper body, but it's really the whole thing – it's core, it's legs. And yet climbing is the thing that makes my body wake up – it cements the platform for the things I need to do in the day.
STRIPLV: Climbing as a fitness outlet and climbing for HBO in The Climb. That's a big difference.
MOMOA: All I will say is I am glad I've put so many hundreds of hours in by myself beforehand. Ha. The series is really opening my eyes to how big this thing is and the passion people have to scale their own courage and imagination. Climbing is a very personal thing that's played out in a way that's out there and exposed, but I really enjoy getting into the mind and soul of people who have this same passion, like me. It's very cool, and Chris, as an old friend and someone who I have taken so much belief and encouragement from, has been the perfect person to take this journey with. Sometimes in life, when you get to live out a dream and work on a project that means so much to you, from the heart, it feels like such a blessing, such a gift. More than that, if I can encourage others to do this for themselves, with my family, like I do, then that's special.
STRIPLV: What have you learned from Chris that you didn't know before?
MOMOA: Perseverance is a big thing. When you are with other people, your tolerance goes up to another level. Chris climbs like no one I have ever seen, but he also talks so much sense. It's a pleasure.
STRIPLV: This is all a long way from Baywatch, right?
MOMOA: I do look back on those early projects, and sure, they make me reel a little, he begins. That feels like a very different version of me now. It was back in the times when dare I say it, fitness was much more focused on image and how others viewed me rather than it being something for myself. It was a kind of ice-breaker. I was one of those guys who put it out there and took it on. These days, I'm doing it strictly for me.
Five things Jason Momoa cherishes the most

Climbing enthusiast
Many know Momoa for his intense physical roles, yet his passion for rock climbing arguably supersedes even his time in front of the camera. Momoa is an avid climber and even incorporates this rigorous hobby into his training regimen, and it’s a passion he expresses across his various social channels.

Ink with meaning
Momoa’s tattoos aren’t just for show. One of the most prominent pieces is the shark design on his forearm, a tribute to his Hawaiian heritage. The tattoo represents a ‘aumakua, a family god or deified ancestor in Hawaiian tradition. For Momoa, the shark additionally symbolizes protection, guidance, and strength.

Love for instruments
While his on-screen characters are primarily found in action sequences, the off-screen Momoa has a deep love for music. He’s an accomplished guitarist and describes music as a substantial personal refuge, often jamming with friends and family.

Early beginnings
Before achieving fame as an actor, Momoa worked in Hawaii as a model. His good looks and unique style quickly caught the attention of fashion scouts, and in 1999, he won the title of Hawaii Model of the Year. This win opened doors for him in the entertainment world.

A dedicated father
Momoa’s dedication to his children is palpable. He regularly shares snippets of their life on social media, from climbing adventures to simple moments at home. The actor’s kids have even accompanied him to movie premieres and public events. For Momoa, family comes first, and he works hard to keep them grounded despite his Hollywood fame.