What Made Lily James Into Pamela Anderson for Pam and Tommy?

Take it from yourself, a fashion editor who once went to great lengths to dress up like Pamela Anderson for Halloween: It takes real effort to be her. And I only accomplished it for one night—a minor chore compared to the five months it took to film an epic biography.

All of this is to say that I adore Lily James and the makeup artists that turned her into the Baywatch actress and campaigner for Hulu’s brand-new Pam & Tommy series, which premiered today.

By now, you must have seen the famous photos of James playing the iconic blonde bombshell of the 1990s. Fans and viewers alike have been astounded by the British actor’s remarkable likeness to Anderson—in all her platinum blonde, barbed-wire tattooed splendor.

Additionally, it has acted as a reminder of how significant Anderson’s trademark beauty has been and continues to be during the ’90s and Y2K resurgence.

A decade-defining set of aesthetic standards, including razor-thin brows, icy overlined lips, and glossy peroxide lengths, were introduced by Anderson while still building on the sex-symbol blueprint established by celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot.

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Pam has always been at the top of the list of icons, says Pam & Tommy’s prominent hairstylist Barry Lee Moe, who grew up watching women’s beauty and the ability of hair to make a statement. “Her appearance was effortlessly chaotic in every way.

lily james pam transformation

She was a living embodiment of glitz and elegance and will always be an idol in my eyes. Jason Collins, a special effects makeup artist, readily agrees, saying, “The blonde hair, the eyebrows, and her silhouette are a mainstay of what admired American beauty was at that time and [why] she’s cemented into the zeitgeist of popular culture.”

“She captured a period in time and established fashions in the beauty that many people wished to follow. That explains why she is the subject of so much fascination.

The Pam & Tommy makeup artists take us through the design phase for the hairstyle, face, and prosthetics that went into James’s mind-bending, four-hour transformation into Anderson.

The Blonde-Bombshell Hair

“She used her hair anytime possible and made it feel natural,” says Moe of Anderson’s bottle-blonde shield

“Whether she was guarding self with a huge mane of bulky curly hair to depict confidence and strength or uncovering her lighter side with an effortless top knot for personal scenes with Tommy at home.”

Moe collaborated with Beverly Hills-based wigmaker Rob Pickens on a quartet of unique lace-front wigs for James to create Anderson’s hairstyles for the series.

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“She used her hair anytime possible and made it feel natural,” says Moe of Anderson’s bottle-blonde shield. “Whether she was guarding self with a huge mane of bulky curly hair to depict confidence and strength or uncovering her lighter side with an effortless top knot for personal scenes with Tommy at home.”

lily james pam transformation

Anderson’s signature styling relied on the loft and a long cascade of waves. According to Moe, Pam had the ideal hairdo with long layers and a gorgeous curtain bang. It’s a relaxed cut that lends itself to several styling options.

The layers enhanced and defined the texture of Pam’s beachier Baywatch look while supporting the volumized “supermodel curls” for her trademark bombshell style. Moe used Blonde Oils for heat styling and shone along with Unite Beach Day texturizing on damp lengths to add texture and achieve Anderson’s Baywatch waves. The surface was then diffused with a Dyson Supersonic hair dryer.

Her Face

James used to start each of the 18-hour days of filming first before the sun had even arisen in the preparation trailer.

Since prosthetics and false tans can only do so much to change a figure, James started working out with a fitness therapist six months before the shooting began.

She found her power due to her newfound body confidence and could express Anderson’s inner strength amid the stress in her life at the time. James made sure to maintain her training throughout filming, despite long periods on the set.

The Voice

James knew how crucial it was for her to discover the ideal Anderson voice even though it had nothing to do with her outward looks.

James eventually turned to less formal techniques to refine her voice. She laughs and explains that she and Sebastian (Stan, who plays Lee) “started screaming into pillows because it made our voices huskier.” “That wasn’t the best approach, but it worked.”

Summary

James was astounded when she first saw her in the light with fair hair, makeup, and attire. “I was hooked. It was so erratic, “she claims. She eventually adopted a nearly complete method approach on set. She maintained her persona the entire time she was filmed, even speaking in Anderson’s voice when she got home each night.

She even started wearing her hair blond as Anderson did every day.

James continues to notice herself taking on some of Anderson’s traits even after the filming, including minor details and her commitment to working out and staying strong.

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