Monica Barbaro: 5 Things About The Fierce Female Fighter Pilot In The ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

Phoenix is taking to the skies. Monica Barbaro is the female fighter pilot in 'Top Gun: Maverick,' and she's a force to be reckoned with. Learn more about this rising star.

Monica Barbaro
View gallery
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection

Monica Barbaro flies high as Phoenix in the highly-anticipated Top Gun: Maverick. At the top of her class, the female fighter pilot proves she’s got what it takes and more to fly alongside Tom Cruise’s Maverick. This role is a major breakout moment for the 31-year-old.

So, who is Monica Barbaro? Well, she’s about to be Hollywood’s next “It” girl. From her Top Gun role to her life as a ballerina, HollywoodLife has rounded up everything you need to know about Monica.

Monica Barbaro
Monica Barbaro as Phoenix in ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’ (Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection)

1. Monica plays Phoenix in the ‘Top Gun’ sequel.

Monica stars as Lieutenant Natasha “Phoenix” Trace, F/A-18F pilot and mission candidate. She’s one of the pilots, along with characters played by Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman, and Greg Tarzan Davis, who comes under the tutelage of Maverick. Top Gun: Maverick marks Monica’s second film role.

2. Tom Cruise raves Monica is ‘amazing’ in the movie.

During their interview on The Late Late Show, Tom had so much praise for Monica. “Monica is amazing in this movie,” Tom said. “Monica has just a natural intelligence and presence and talent to be able to play a female fighter pilot who graduated Top Gun.” He also noted that the “impressive” Monica “never got sick in the airplane” during the training.

Monica and her co-stars had to learn how to fly the planes you see them in charge of in the movie. Tom taught the cast how to edit and direct themselves in the jets. Monica admitted that Tom “overprepared us in the best way” to be pilots.

3. Monica studied ballet in college. 

Monica was a ballerina before she was an actor. She got her degree in dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She eventually segued into acting and moved to California.

4. Monica’s first major role was on ‘UnREAL.’

Monica’s first series regular role was on the Lifetime series UnREAL in 2017. She also had main roles in the shows Chicago Justice and The Good Cop. Her feature film debut was 2015’s America Is Still The Place.

Monica Barbaro
Monica Barbaro at a ‘Top Gun’ premiere event. (Carlos Tischler/Eyepix Group/Shutterstock)

5. Monica grew up in California. 

Monica was born in San Francisco but grew up in Mill Valley, which is north of San Francisco. Her father is of Italian descent.

More From Our Partners