‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Star Monica Barbaro Discusses Female Aviators Who Helped Hone Character and Shares How She Cemented Her Call Sign

In 1998, Becky Calder became the first woman pilot to graduate from

TOPGUN, so in keeping with their commitment to verisimilitude,

Top Gun: Maverick’s brain trust knew that their film needed to follow suit.

That’s where Monica Barbaro enters the picture as she plays Lt. Natasha “Phoenix”

Trace, whose skills and reliability made her an easy choice for the film’s climactic mission.

Barbaro admits that the character changed a lot throughout

the entire process, and looking back, she’s relieved that she didn’t

become a love interest to Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller) as originally rumored.

When I first booked the role, there was a rumor going around that I was playing Miles’ love interest,