Meital Dohan bears little resemblance to most pop stars. Unlike, say, Rihanna in Battleship, she can actually act, for one thing. Dohan, who is 32, spent the first 25 years of her life in Israel, where she worked as a theater and film actress of some renown. She's since embarked on a music career under the moniker Meital -- her first single "Yummy" has garnered almost 2 million hits on YouTube (the video is below), and her upcoming album I'm in Hate With Love, which will be released this fall, features international pop stars like Sean Kingston.
As her press release notes, Dohan has appeared in Penthouse, although she was not nude. In the music video for "Yummy," however, Dohan parades around wearing nothing but boxing gloves, quite literally knocking men out.
One of its locations is the beautiful house she now lives in up in the hills above L.A.; you have to walk across a series of stones that bridge a shallow pool to get to her living room. She jokes that she got the place from her ex-husband after she killed him.
Sitting on a white couch, Dohan speaks with an Israeli accent that drives home her sensuality, which is a big part of her music persona. Still, she doesn't seem constructed: Her teeth aren't Hollywood white; her breasts are of average size; her pink dress isn't overly revealing. She says she doesn't understand America's obsession with plastic surgeries, blaming the media for skewing women's perceptions of themselves.
Dohan was born and raised in an Israeli village and attended acting school in Tel Aviv. After earning her dramatic chops in a series of well-received plays, she began appearing in films and television. In 2001, she starred in the film Girafot, which earned her an Israeli Academy Award nomination for best actress, following that up with another nomination for God's Sandbox.
"I was really embraced by my country as an actress," she says. Dohan appeared in front of American cameras in award-winning festival films like Monogamy and a recurring part on Showtime's hit series Weeds. In that show, her character anally penetrates a man with a large strap-on.
In a viral video called "Yummy Boyz" that acts as a sort of precursor to "Yummy," meanwhile, she dances provocatively with dwarfs dressed up like lawn gnomes and sucks on the fingers of a dismembered mannequin arm. "Yummy Boyz," perhaps because of its title, was a hit in the gay community.
Her Twitter page is filled with re-tweets of gay men who proclaim their love for the song or take pictures of themselves holding "Yummy Boyz" T-shirts. The track and its many remixes were apparently played everywhere during the this year's L.A. Pride Festival. GayCalgary Magazine recently wrote that she "wears gay icon status like a coat."
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It doesn't seem to surprise Dohan. "My best friends were always gay," she says. Much like another pop icon, Lady Gaga, one suspects that the gay community embraced her not because of any blatant sexuality in her songs, but rather because of her openness toward anyone that wants to dance to her music. Though she's infatuated with her newfound fans, she says that she prefers men in her personal life. "A woman every once and a while when things get out of control," she says, smiling, "but not as a main dish." It's not completely clear whether she's joking, but it doesn't really matter either way.