Take it from me, a beauty editor who dressed up as Pamela Anderson for Halloween once. And it was only for one night, a minor chore compared to the five months it took to shoot a major biography.

All of this is to say that I salute Lily James and her makeup team for transforming her into the Baywatch star and campaigner for Hulu’s new Pam & Tommy series, which premiered today.

You’ve probably seen the viral photos of James as the ’90s’ most famous blonde bombshell. Fans and viewers have been astounded by the British actor’s striking likeness to Anderson—in all her platinum blonde, barbed-wire-tattooed beauty. And, in the midst of the ’90s and Y2K resurgence, it’s acted as a reminder of just how important and significant Anderson’s unique beauty was and continues to be.

While Anderson followed in the footsteps of Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot in terms of s*x symbols, she also added new norms of beauty to the decade, such as razor-thin brows, and icy overlined lips, and glossy peroxide lengths.

Pam & Tommy principal hair designer Barry Lee Moe notes, “As someone who grew up idolizing the beauty of women and the power of hair to make a statement, Pam was always at the top of my list of icons.” “Everything about her appearance was carefree chaos.” She embodied beauty and glitz, and in my opinion, she will always be an icon.” Jason Collins, a special effects makeup artist, concurs:

“Her blonde hair, brows, and silhouette are a mainstay of what admired American attractiveness was at the time,” he explains. “She captured a period in time and established beauty trends that many people aspired to copy.” That is why she is so popular.”

The Pam & Tommy glam crew takes us through the hair, makeup, and prosthetics design process for James’s mind-boggling four-hour transformation into Anderson.

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The Changing Appearance Of The ‘Pam & Tommy’ Star

The body

The body
The body

Because a false tan and prosthetics can only go so far in changing a person’s appearance, James began working with a personal trainer six months before production began. “I worked with this amazing trainer, Matt Bevan, who worked with Daisy Ridley as well,” James explains.

“He worked me so hard and I got really fit. I lost a ton of weight.” She adds with a laugh, “I’ve put it all back on again though, unfortunately. But I felt really athletic, which I hadn’t done for a long time and there was great confidence that came from that. I feel less self-conscious on a beach now.”

She discovered her own power as a result of her newfound confidence in her body, which allowed her to convey Anderson’s inner strength amid the upheaval in her life at the time. “It was really wonderful to feel like that, to feel so in my own body,” she says. she says.

Despite the long hours of filming, James made it a point to continue her exercise routine. He would make me do all my work and read my script on a running machine,” she says with a laugh. “And I did boxing with a really cool guy in LA, which I love too, being physically strong like I could literally beat someone up.”

The face

The face
The face

James would begin each 18-hour day in the cosmetics trailer before the sun had even risen when production began. “I was in the makeup chair at 3:30 a.m., and it was a four-hour process to get me into the Pamela look,” she adds, adding that she listened to a playlist of ’90s music throughout that period.

Her prosthetics would be put in after she had her wig cap in place. Despite how different she looks from Anderson, James admits that very minor prosthetic work was required. “We looked at a lot of various prosthetics including noses, chins, eyebrows, and foreheads, but in the end, we stripped it down as much as we could,” she explains, revealing she only needed two pieces. “We didn’t want to put too much distance between myself and my expressions. They performed an excellent job, in my opinion. What they were able to accomplish astounded me much.”

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The boobs

The boobs
The boobs

However, one prosthetic item did a lot of the hard lifting. “The breast piece was incredible,” adds James. “You’d never know it wasn’t me. It was startling.”

Despite the fact that Anderson’s breasts are pretty… well, a substantial part of her appearance, they weren’t always utilized during filming. “I didn’t wear it as much as I wanted to since it took so long to put on,” she explains. “With my own boobs, we sort of cheated and thought out costumes and whatnot to conceal or hide them and give the impression they’re bigger.”

When she did use the breast prosthetic, there was one major drawback. “It was scorching hot – my boobs were coming off,” James laughs. “This is too hot for an Englishman!”

The tan

The tan
The tan

James will get a dark spray tan once a week to give her skin the appearance of a TV star who spent most of her time shooting on a beach in Los Angeles. Every day, she’d have more tan makeup applied all over her body to level out the color and ensure she was the perfect shade.

James recalls, “I couldn’t believe how pale I was before.” “How did I get to be so translucent? I’m in terrible shape. Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t get a tan. I get freckles and a hint of brown, but not much. So my spray tanner and I became fast friends. For that work, we were up close and personal.”

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The voice 

The voice
The voice

James realized how crucial it was for her to discover the ideal Anderson voice, even though it wasn’t part of her outward appearance. “I used to watch a lot of Pamela Anderson interviews from back then,” she recalls. “And I have this fantastic dialect coach, Liz Himelstein, who would perform these strange tongue twister exercises with me while we worked on my voice.”

James eventually had to resort to less formal means of honing her voice. With a giggle, she continues, “Sebastian [Stan, who plays Lee] and I started screaming into cushions because it made our voices huskier.” “It wasn’t the healthiest way to go about it, but it worked.”

As a result

James was surprised when she saw herself in the mirror with complete hair, makeup, and outfit. “It was fantastic. It was very insane,” she adds. She went nearly completely method onset and stayed in character the entire time, including conversing in Anderson’s voice when she got home each night.

“I used to WhatsApp [phone] my friends back home and talk to them about our daily life in my [Pamela] voice, and they were like, holy s—-!” According to James. “Then I started forgetting what I sounded like because I didn’t change my accent the entire time I was here. After a glass of wine, I would occasionally revert to my former British self. ‘Oh, that’s me,’ I’d say. Hello.'”

She even started wearing Anderson’s blond hair in her everyday life. She explains, “I purchased myself a blond wig and wore it out and about.” “I was wearing my blond wig to CVS.”

After the shoot, James has continued to adopt some of Anderson’s qualities, such as working out and keeping strong, as well as some minor nuances. “I still wear my long nails,” she laughs, displaying her bejeweled manicure. “They remained.”

Pam & Tommy was released on Hulu on February 2nd.

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