Becoming Pamela Anderson (2024)

This week marks the long-awaited premiere of Hulu’s Pam & Tommy starring Lily James as Pamela Anderson and Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee—roles “with both leads bearing uncanny resemblances to their real-life counterparts,” as wrote last year. The buzz has been building up for the limited series, which follows the couple’s whirlwind romance and the leak of their honeymoon sex tape, for months, and the public weren’t the only ones blown away by James’s near-doppelgänger transformation into the blonde bombshell.

As Pam & Tommy makeup department head David Williams tells it, even those on set while filming the show were blown away by James’s transformation. Williams was walking across the lot with James on the way to set, with James in “full-on Pam regalia,” he says, and as they walked by, one of the show’s grips almost fell off the back of a truck when he caught sight of her.

“That’s the reaction we want,” Williams says. “We want people to fall off the back of the truck.”

Hair department head Barry Lee Moe remembers watching James in character on the monitor, and his jaw just hitting the ground: “Lily’s performance was spot on, and the look of it all—if you look at videos side by side, it’d be hard to determine which was which,” he says. “That means we succeeded. It was fun to see.”

When full prosthetics were used on James, the transformation could take up to four hours each day. Ahead, Williams, Moe, and special makeup effects designer Jason Collins take us through replicating the iconic Pamela Anderson look—and reveal how you can too.

Storyboarding the Look

“The Internet is filled with images of Pam and Tommy, so we had a plethora of visual images to pull from,” Williams says. The team also pulled many print references, putting images of Anderson and James side by side, determined to “do what we needed to do to turn Lily into Pam,” he says.

Moe decided that wigs would provide the most accurate portrayal possible, and Collins stepped in to take impressions of James’s head and torso area to build prosthetics to make her mirror Anderson as closely as possible. “It takes a village to do this,” Williams says.

Pam’s 1990s Glam

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Pam Anderson’s look in the 1990s has been referred to as the Baby Bardot look, mirroring another blonde bombshell, Brigitte Bardot. “She comes from a long line of blonde bombshells,” Williams says. “That is the iconic look we all know Pam as.” The show features the look created by makeup artist Alexis Vogel for Pam’s Playboy shoots; it also features a more natural, soft look for Pam’s scenes at home with Tommy. “She is a young girl from Canada who very aptly exemplifies that sun-kissed California girl,” Williams says.

For her hair, Williams says, they went “effortlessly chaotic—where beauty meets chaos” he shares. “Everything about her is iconic. We wanted to make sure we hit that nail on the head.”


For the lips, the slightly overdrawn pout was big in the 1990s, Williams says. To re-create, do a slightly overdrawn and slightly visible lip line around the lip.

Chanel, Spice (“a staple from the ’90s,” Williams says), Nude (another staple and “maybe the best lip pencil color ever made”), and Vamp (“This was part of the Vamp collection, the most notable makeup trend of the ’90s”) were all used to mimic Anderson's famous pout.

For Pam’s signature smoky eye, the artists used neutral eye shadow palettes from Chanel, Tom Ford, and Urban Decay, along with an inky kohl eyeliner from Makeup Forever.


Becoming Pamela Anderson (6)

TOM FORD Eye Color Quad Eyeshadow Palette

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CHANEL CHANEL LES 4 OMBRES Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow

Becoming Pamela Anderson (8)

Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette

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MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Resist Color Pencil Eyeliner

Get Pamela’s Hair Look

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For the part, James wore four custom lace front wigs, each a blend of three to four different blondes to achieve Pam’s perfect platinum color, Moe says. To complete the color, the roots were shaded, which added depth for a more natural look on camera. Whenever Pam wore her hair in a topknot or an updo, each wig had a separate custom nape piece to make sure that the hair looked as realistic as possible, which can be challenging when working with wigs, Moe says.

“So much of Pam’s look is timeless, but also very, very ’90s in other ways,” he says. “Her haircut was always super layered and textured throughout, and using all the tools in our respective departments, we were really able to take it to that classic ’90s look.”

Re-create Pam’s Baywatch Hair

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1. Prep damp hair with Unite Beach Day for texture and Blonda Oil for heat protection and shine before diffusing locks with a Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer.

2. Once the hair fully dry, enhance and define the waves with the ghd Platinum Styler and the Hot Tools 24K Gold 1” Marcel Iron to add more texture and finish.

3. Rake through the waves while adding Unite Texturiza Spray.

4. After perfecting the broken-up texture, finish the look with Unite GO365 Spray for a flexible hold with no buildup.


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UNITE Hair UNITE Hair TEXTURIZA Spray (7 oz.)

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UNITE Hair UNITE Hair BLONDA Oil (4.2 oz.)

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UNITE Hair UNITE Hair BEACH Day (8 oz.)

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ghd Platinum+ Professional Performance 1\

Another tip: The HASK Blue Chamomile & Argan Oil Blonde Care “was my favorite for long-term care and maintenance,” Moe says. The Blonde Care shampoo and conditioner “were the perfect duo to keep the hair strong while simultaneously brightening the color,” he says. He also used the line’s 5-in-1 Leave-In Spray to moisturize James’s hair before putting the wig on. “When I released her hair from the wig prep every night, it was healthy, soft, and shiny,” he says. “After nearly five months of filming, her hair was healthier than it was when we started.”

All About the Brows and Boobs

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Collins used a forehead appliance to widen the distance between James’s brows and hair line to more closely match Anderson’s. To avoid having to wax and pluck James’s eyebrows down to the thinner brows of the ’90s, lace eyebrows that closely matched Anderson’s were applied. “We went through approximately 65 to 70 Pam foreheads throughout shooting,” Collins says, and James lightened her own eyebrows so they couldn’t be seen through the forehead prosthetic.

James also received breast appliances to modify James’s body to look more like Anderson’s. “The prosthetic blends just past Lily’s clavicle and about an inch past her breast line,” Collins says. “The appliances are made out of gel-filled silicone appliances, which move like real skin and absorb light similarly.” A new breast prosthetic was required daily, Collins says; they went through approximately 45 to 50 breast prosthetics.

James also wore acrylic teeth dentures, which, in addition to giving “a capped-teeth feel for that perfect smile,” the veneers helped push the lips out slightly.

“I have never seen anybody work as hard as Lily James with that role,” Collins says. “This was somebody that was embodying somebody else. It was special to watch. I feel fortunate and lucky enough to be witness to that.”

    Becoming Pamela Anderson (17)

    Rachel Burchfield

    Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. She has contributed to publications like Allure, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Elle, Glamour, Glossy, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Marie Claire, Midwest Living, People, Southern Living, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others, and is the editor of What Meghan Wore, a site dedicated to the duch*ess of Sussex’s fashion, lifestyle, and work. Rachel is also the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that examines the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world, and is the host of I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current reads and interviews the authors of them.

    Becoming Pamela Anderson (2024)


    How many husbands did Pamela have? ›

    Tommy McArdle is an editorial assistant on the Movies team at PEOPLE. Tommy joined PEOPLE in 2022. Pamela Anderson has been through six marriages, but she's still open to tying the knot again one day.

    What happened to Pamela Sue Anderson? ›

    Pamela Sue Anderson passed away peacefully January 29, 2022, at her home in McMinnville, Oregon.

    Who left Pamela $10 million dollars? ›

    Pamela Anderson's ex-husband of 12 days said he's leaving her $10 million in his will: 'Whether she needs it or not' Pamela Anderson's ex-husband, Jon Peters, told Variety that he left her $10 million in his will. The actress and film producer were married for 12 days before splitting in 2020.

    How old was Pamela when she married Tommy? ›

    In a November 1998 sit-down with Interview magazine, Anderson reflected on the marriage. "Tommy and I started out having a very intense, fun, crazy relationship because we were two kids," said Anderson, who was 27 when she wed Lee, who was 32 at the time.

    How much is pamela worth? ›

    $20 Million(Estimated) According to Celebrity Net Worth, Pamela Anderson's net worth stands at $20 million in 2024.

    Did Pam and Tommy sue anyone? ›

    In March 1996, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sued Penthouse magazine for $10 million in damages and filed a restraining order against the magazine.

    Is there a movie about Pamela Sue Anderson? ›

    In her own words, through personal video and diaries, Pamela Anderson shares the story of her rise to fame, rocky romances and infamous sex tape scandal. Watch all you want. Emmy-nominated filmmaker Ryan White (“The Keepers”) directs an intimate and revealing portrait of a pop culture icon.

    How many times has Tommy Lee been married after Pamela? ›

    Tommy Lee
    Years active1979–present
    SpouseElaine Starchuk ​ ​ ( m. 1984; div. 1985)​ Heather Locklear ​ ​ ( m. 1986; div. 1993)​ Pamela Anderson ​ ​ ( m. 1995; div. 1998)​ Brittany Furlan ​ ​ ( m. 2019)​
    Musical career
    10 more rows

    How many babies does Pamela have? ›

    Apart from her acting career, Pamela Anderson is also a mom to her two sons, Brandon Thomas Lee and Dylan Jagger Lee. The model, actor and media personality shares her children with her ex husband, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee.

    Who was Pamela married to for 12 days? ›

    Jon Peters, an American film producer, has written his ex-wife Pamela Anderson into his will despite the pair being married for only 12 days. The Rain Man producer has been married on four separate occasions, with his fifth being his 12-day marriage to Anderson in 2020.

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