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Pamela Anderson Returns To Makeup – But Not As You Know It – For The Met

Pamela Anderson gave us a fresh approach to beauty at the 2024 Met Gala. Below, a closer look at the behind-the-scenes work that led to her fresh-faced red carpet look.

Photo: Getty

It’s 48 hours before the Met Gala and Pamela Anderson and I are both in our sweats. She is in her hotel room on the Upper East Side, I am on my sofa in London. We are speaking on Zoom to talk about her first Met – and the fact that legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath is creating her beauty look for the occasion. Because tonight – in a departure from the bare-faced beauty movement she has spearheaded on the red carpet virtually single-handedly – Pamela is wearing makeup. But more on that in a moment.

If you have seen her Netflix documentary Pamela, A Love Story, or her makeup free appearances at Paris Fashion Week last autumn and subsequently in campaigns for Proenza Schouler and Re/Done denim, you’ll know that Pamela has become something of a poster girl for a minimalist beauty approach, heralding it as her new era of self-acceptance.

Pamela Anderson

Photo: Getty

Some months on from that first Paris Fashion Week outing, I asked her if she realized how pivotal it would become – if she could have anticipated the interest that surrounded her decision to face the cameras makeup-free. “I saw it as an authentic, sincere move to free myself from false expectations,” she explains. “It just hit me, especially while I was in Paris, that I’d rather be looking at architecture, going to museums and enjoying being there, rather than sitting in a makeup chair for three hours.”

Anderson insists that she gets more compliments when bare-faced than she ever did wearing foundation and bronzer. “I know it’s cliché, but beauty comes from within – it’s what you believe about yourself,” she says. “I felt like this girl from Vancouver Island in all these fabulous clothes. And when I took that all away… I was just me. That was the feeling that I wanted to get across, and I think that resonates with people.”

So how does she feel now, on the cusp of one of the most high-profile red carpets on the planet, about to sit in Pat McGrath’s makeup chair? “I have spent a lot of my life in makeup,” she says happily, before effusing about McGrath’s work. “I’m so grateful and excited that I get to work with Pat. I know she’s going to take whatever this is [here Anderson gestures towards her beautifully undone face] and polish me up a little bit. We had a long conversation about the way that photography has changed how we wear makeup. In the ’80s and ’90s we wore really strong makeup, and then digital photography came along and, all of a sudden, you look different.”

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