Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa (born August 1, 1979) is an American actor, model, director, writer, and producer. An only child, Momoa was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1979, to Coni, a photographer, and Joseph Momoa, a painter. He was raised in Norwalk, Iowa, by his mother. His father is of Native Hawaiian descent, while his mother is of German, Irish, and Native American ancestry. After high school, Momoa began college in Iowa as a marine biology major, studying for a period in the Florida Keys. He transferred his major to wildlife biology at Colorado State University. Before completing his degree, he moved back to the Hawaiian Islands to reconnect with his father. As a young man, Momoa traveled extensively, took up pastel painting in Paris, and studied Buddhist teachings in Tibet.
In 1998, Momoa was discovered by international designer Takeo Kobayashi, who encouraged his modeling career. Momoa won Hawaii’s Model of the Year 1999 and hosted the Miss Teen Hawaii contest. At 19 years old, he also worked part-time in a surf shop before being cast in the action drama series Baywatch Hawaii, where he appeared as Jason Ioane (1999–2001). In addition to his appearances in North Shore (2004–2005), Johnson Family Vacation (2004), and Stargate: Atlantis (2005–2009), Momoa was cast as Roman in four episodes of the comedy-drama television series The Game (2009). He portrayed the title protagonist in Conan the Barbarian (2011), a reimagining of the 1982 film of the same name and a role made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Momoa gained his role of Khal Drogo on HBO’s Game Of Thrones through his audition, in which he performed the Haka, an intimidating Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield. He is currently in the Netflix original series, Frontier, portraying Declan Harp, a half-Cree, half-Irish trapper waging his own war with the British during the days of the fur trade in Early Canada. In early 2017 he signed onto the official Just Cause movie series.
In 2005, Momoa met actress Lisa Bonet after common friends introduced them, and they developed a relationship. On July 23, 2007, Bonet gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Lola Iolani Momoa. On November 15, 2007, Momoa and Bonet were married. From his marriage to Bonet, Momoa became the stepfather to Zoë Kravitz. On December 15, 2008, their second child, a son named Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa, was born.
On November 15, 2008, Momoa was slashed in the face with a broken beer glass by another customer at the Birds Cafe, a Hollywood, California, tavern. He received around 140 stitches during reconstructive surgery, and the scar is apparent in his later work.