Gina Joy Carano (born April 16, 1982) is an American actress, television personality, fitness model and a former mixed martial artist. Carano appeared as Crush, a Gladiator on American Gladiators. She has been referred to as the "Face of Women's MMA." Carano was formerly the third best 145 lb (66 kg) female fighter in the world, according to the Unified Women's MMA Rankings.
Carano was born in Dallas County, Texas, the middle daughter of Dana Joy (née Cason) and Glenn Thomas Carano. She has two sisters.
Carano has said that she's Italian American. Her father played for the Dallas Cowboys as a backup quarterback from 1977-1983 and for the USFL Pittsburgh Maulers as a starter in 1984, their only year of operations.
She graduated from Trinity Christian High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she led the girls basketball team to a state title. She also played volleyball and softball.
She attended the University of Nevada, Reno for a year and then University of Nevada, Las Vegas for three, where she majored in psychology.
She was profiled in a feature story for the ESPN series E:60. She was voted "Hottest Woman In America" by Big Biz Magazine in the Spring 2008 issue. On May 13, 2008, "Gina Carano" was the fastest-rising search on Google and third most searched person on Yahoo!.
She was ranked as #5 on the "Top Ten Influential Women of 2008" list on Yahoo!
In May 2009, it was announced that Carano was ranked #16 in Maxim's Hot 100 list.
In April 2012 Carano became the first recipient of the Chick Norris (Best Female Action Star) Award, given by ActionFest to the female action star of the year.
She is one of the cover athletes along with Serena Williams for the October 19, 2009 edition of ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue. Carano and Williams were two of the athletes featured in a book by Dana Rasmussen
She was a nominee for the 2013 Critics Choice Awards for best actress in an action movie for Haywire.