If you, like all Netflix subscribers, are obsessed with the popular Israeli show, Shtisel, you may have spent a fair amount of time admiring star Michael Aloni.
Aloni plays the tormented, lovelorn artist Kiveh, and he’s getting accolades for his sensitive portrayal of the young ultra-Orthodox man. However — and there’s no doubt about this — Aloni is also getting considerable attention thanks to his very pretty face. (Swoon!)
But it seems he takes it all in stride. When he was asked about being attractive by the New York Jewish Week, Aloni opted to quote Zoolander: “Is there anything more to the world than being really, really ridiculously good-looking?”
Well… yes, as it happens. In addition to being the charming star of Shtisel, there’s more to Aloni than meets the eye. Here’s what you need to know about the multi-talented 35-year-old:
He started out acting in commercials
From early on, Aloni was all about the hustle! In 2001, he starred in this cellphone commercial as a surfer teen. Prepare to travel back in time to early 2000s fashion, technology, and awkward commercial music.
He went on to act and host on children’s TV
Aloni was a host on Israel’s popular children’s channel, Arutz HaYeladim, in 2005. He also starred in the very popular teen drama HaShminiya, about eight kids who discover they have psychic powers. This is what he looked like back then:
Oh, the noughties… what a time!
He majored in physics and math in high school
Aloni is the son of a lawyer and an accountant, but says he feels like acting is a profession that chose him.
He’s a surfer dude
Like many Israeli models and actors, the Shtisel star loves surfing the waves (the beaches in Israel, I hear, are full of them). He posts a lot of pictures of himself with a surfboard, ready to take on the sea.
He dubs Paddington in Hebrew
And he makes a fine matzah-eating bear, indeed.
He even collaborated with Israel’s first lady, Nehama Rivlin, the wife of Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, who dubbed a character in Paddington 2. Check out their adorable selfie together:
He is the co-host of the Israeli version of The Voice
He co-hosts the popular singing competition with Israeli model Shlomit Malka. He says the experience is a blast — apparently, filming the show like being part of a musical every night.
He is a published author
Love in the Age of the Flu, which was published in 2017, is a collection four novellas and two short stories that are very loosely connected. The title is inspired by Aloni’s favorite author, Gabriel García Márquez, who wrote Love in the Time of Cholera.
He also stars in another Netflix show, When Heroes Fly
Aloni plays Dotan ‘Himmler’ Friedman the series, which is currently streaming on Netflix. His character is a successful businessman who can come off as a bit of a cold-hearted (but lovable) asshole. He joins his former army mates on a high-stakes mission to Colombia to try to find information about Yaeli, the ex-girlfriend of one of the squad’s men, who supposedly died in a deadly crash.
He just directed his first short film
Shir, his first short movie, is the story of a girl who ditches school on Israel’s Memorial Day — when the country holds somber ceremonies to remember the country’s fallen — while coming to terms with the loss of her brother. Aloni crowdfunded part of the project on the Israeli site Headstart, and here’s a video that tells all about it:
You can watch the trailer for Shir here.
He admires Gal Gadot
I mean, who doesn’t? But Aloni gets specific: “I think one of the most wonderful things about her, aside from the embrace she’s getting from Hollywood, is that seeing a woman work really hard but she’s still a family person, still with her feet on the ground, and she does her work humbly,” he told Israeli Week.
He played an Israeli man in love with a Palestinian man
Aloni plays Roy, a lawyer who falls in love with Nimr, a Palestinian student, in the award-winning film Out in the Dark. The two meet at a bar and fall in love, and both of their lives are upended. This is no fairytale, as both have to deal with Israeli society’s reluctance to embrace Nimr, because of where he’s from.
He’s also a successful theater actor
Aloni has been in countless theater productions, including Bent and Shakespeare In Love. Pretty and pretty versatile!
He’s super-devoted to his dog, Bruce
Aloni adopted a mutt puppy named Bruce, and his Instagram account is full of pictures of the adorable pooch.