Muai Thai Champion, Mixed Martial Arts Contender, Hollywood Actress and Fitness Model
From pioneering women’s MMA to blazing a trail in movies, Gina Carano is one of Hollywood’s most unique rising stars. Carano began her training with Muay Thai to competitive MMA, where she competed in Strikeforce and EliteXC. Her popularity led to her being called the “Face of Women’s MMA”. She was the fastest-rising search on Google,third-most-searched person on Yahoo and ranked 5th on a list of the “Top 10 Influential Women” of 2008. In August 2009, Carano fought Cris Cyborg in Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg, the first time two women headlined a major MMA event and at the time was the highest rated fight in Showtime history. Carano compiled a competitive record of 12–1–1 in Muay Thai and a 7–1 in women’s MMA.
Outside the ring, Carano served as a mentor to aspiring fighters in the 2007 Oxygen reality series Fight Girls. She performed as ‘Crush’ in the revamped television series American Gladiators before her breakout performance in Steven Soderbergh’s film Haywire, holding her own against the likes of Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Bill Paxton and Antonio Banderas.
Carano’s authenticity to making the action look real earned her performance a Critics Choice Award Nomination for Best Actress in an action film. Hot on the heels came a role in the worldwide hit Fast and Furious 6for Universal Pictures opposite Dwayne Johnson furthering her appeal as an Action Star. Next up, she co-starred alongside Robert DeNiro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Dave Bautista in Lionsgate’s film Heistfollowed by the role of ‘Angel Dust’ in the smash hit Marvel/Fox film Deadpool opposite Ryan Reynolds based on the popular comic book. Released on Valentines Day 2016, the film grossed over $870 Million dollars at the Box Office. Carano will next be seen in the film Daughter of Wolf, starring opposite Richard Dreyfuss. She also recently wrapped production in the dark comedy Madness in the Method, which is Jason Mewes directorial debut. The ensemble star cast also features Mewes pal and long time collaborator Kevin Smith.
Continuing to boost her resume, Carano became the first recipient of ActionFest’s Chuck Norris (Best Female Action Star) Award, given to the female action star of the year and received the Artemis Action Warrior Award for her contributions to the female action genre and women’s MMA. The award was presented to her by Action legend Zoe Bell.
Carano was born in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Dana Joy and professional football player Glenn Carano who played for the Dallas Cowboys and was the backup quarterback to Roger Staubach. She has two sisters, one older and one younger.
Gina Carano was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.