Ana de Armas’s Marilyn Monroe Took Three Hours, 5 Wigs, and One Eyeliner Magnificence Mark
Blonde has been controversial from its outset. Because the adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ novelization of Marilyn Monroe’s life grew to become official, scorching takes on the darkish material, Twitter battles about whether or not Ana de Armas may pull off the long-lasting—and particular—function, and discussions about how the movie portrays the Previous Hollywood star all contributed to the thrill across the undertaking. However, when the primary teaser trailer dropped a number of months in the past, all hesitations had been dropped. From her breathy drawl to the way in which she walked, de Armas was Marilyn Monroe.
After all, a knockout hair and make-up group, led by Jaime Leigh McIntosh and Tina Roesler Kerwin, respectively, helps, and due to their handiwork, de Armas was practically indistinguishable from the actual Marilyn. Very like Monroe relied on her make-up artist, Allan “Whitey” Snyder, to rework from Norma Jean, three hours of hair and make-up prep every day had been important in bringing De Armas’s efficiency to life.
Forward, we spoke to McIntosh and Kerwin for a behind-the scenes-look at Blonde’s hair and make-up.
Reworking any actress into arguably the world’s largest—and most recognizable—magnificence icon is not any small feat. Even in case you’ve by no means seen a Marilyn Monroe film, everybody has a crystal-clear picture of what she appears like—one thing Kerwin and McIntosh knew getting in. “I imply, it is extremely intimidating,” says McIntosh. “And it nonetheless is, even after we have completed all of the work, however individuals have nonetheless obtained to see it. I do not assume we took the duty calmly in any respect. We form of knew the burden behind it.”
The upside of paying homage to an icon is there isn’t any scarcity of supply materials—in actual fact, many of the movie’s stills had been primarily based on current photographs. A few month earlier than the shoot, the wonder leads poured over each reference they might get their arms on—from books to photographs and movies. “After which, as we discovered that what issues we had been going to attempt to particularly recreate, we might actually gotten very a lot into the weeds on these specific pictures,” says Kerwin. “We simply discovered every part we may, and there wasn’t loads of time to consider it. You simply needed to do it.”
A extra unconventional supply of inspiration for Kerwin had been the various drag queens who performed homage to Monroe. “The factor that is so attention-grabbing about drag queens is that not solely are they normally actually, actually proficient make-up artists, they may typically exaggerate one thing that you just won’t see in any other case, and so it form of makes you are taking a second have a look at one thing,” she says. “There are some actually unimaginable Marilyn impersonators that do such a stupendous job.”
Along with reference pictures, Marilyn’s make-up methods—normally utilized by her beloved make-up artist and confidant, Snyder—are effectively documented. Nevertheless, Kerwin used them extra as a information than a step-by-step guide. “The aim was for Ana to look as very like Marilyn as doable, however utilizing methods that labored on Ana, versus simply duplicating what labored on Marilyn,” she says.
“I regarded into a few of these issues, however Ana’s pores and skin is form of delicate, so I used to be cautious about what I used—we used a Guerlain lipstick that was much like what Marilyn had used, and we used the Max Issue powder [she used] as effectively. But it surely was extra vital to recreate it in issues that we may management a bit bit higher—making an attempt to determine the lighting, and making an attempt to create a extremely stunning reflective high quality.” Monroe used Vaseline as a make-up base for her signature dewy look, however Kerwin opted for TikTok’s favourite basis, Charlotte Tilbury’s Flawless Filter ($46), to be simpler on de Armas’ pores and skin. “I simply knew it was the appropriate one as quickly as we put it on.”
De Armas had a complete of 5 wigs she wore all through filming, starting from Norma Jean pink to virtually pure white. “As a result of I used to be working with wigs and never a pure head of hair, it will have been tough to include a few of the genuine practices into these types,” says McIntosh. “Though I’ll say, the wigs had been at all times washed and moist set with rollers, in order that’s form of an old style observe. I very not often used curling irons and stuff, solely once I wanted to do fast modifications on set, would I take advantage of a contemporary iron.”
De Armas solely wore three prosthetics throughout the entire shoot, all on her brow to hide her pure darkish hairline beneath her mild wig. “We mainly did a partial prosthetic bald cap each morning,” says Kerwin. However when it got here to the precise form of De Arma’s face, “it was all contour or weighing down her eyes a bit with lashes to alter the look of her eyes. However no prosthetics on her face. Simply contour and many lashes.” In complete, it took the group about three hours per day to rework De Armas into Marilyn.
Marilyn’s look is iconic from head to toe, but when it boils down to at least one factor, it is her good cherry pink lips. Sadly, you will not be capable to copy Kerwin’s formulation because it modified usually relying on the lighting, in addition to wether they had been taking pictures a scene in black and white or colour. “Some reds would look nice in colour, however then they might go actually, actually darkish in black and white. So it relied on whether or not we had been matching a colour picture or matching a black and white picture,” says Kerwin.
Nevertheless, there are two different signature components which might be straightforward to recreate. One is Monroe’s magnificence mark, which Kerwin drew on with Make Up For Ever’s Waterproof Liner ($13). “As soon as we landed on that, we by no means used anything, as a result of it held up actually, rather well. It was straightforward to attract it on, and it will maintain the appropriate form.” As for Marilyn’s sultry bed room eyes, Kerwin relied on the person lashes from LashLash. “I used a mix of these. When she was youthful, we use the skinny brown ones. After which as she obtained into the Marilyn look, we might use a mix of the skinny and the thicker and simply pile [them] on so she had an iconic eye and that actually heavy lash line.”
Kerwin and McIntosh weren’t solely tasked with reworking De Armas into the starlet and intercourse image Marilyn Monroe but additionally the particular person behind the lights, Norma Jean Baker. Doing so was a cautious balancing act between signaling to the viewers that she was in “Norma Jean mode,” with out making her look an excessive amount of like Ana.
“Simply making an attempt to actually create extra of a pure at-home really feel for her, she could not have had her hair set that day, and even set within the final week if she’s at house hanging out,” says McIntosh of the starlet-off-duty look. “It is simply having these completely different appears and feels and shapes. And, you understand, we see her absolutely dressed as much as the nines and absolutely Marilyn Monroe. And each hair is in place—the lashes, the lips, the costume, and every part. After which to have the ability to do extra (it is in all probability not the appropriate time period), however a extra broken-down model of that, and extra pure lived-in model. I’ve to say I used to be equally glad, and loved doing her extra pure, lived-in real-life form of appears as effectively.”
Kerwin provides that although the movie was shot out of order, their very first day of taking pictures featured a pre-fame Marilyn going to satisfy her mom. “It was a type of instances when she appears like Marilyn, however she has a softer lip. She’s nonetheless not fairly all Marilyn. And in order that was actually attention-grabbing to begin there. After which form of construct from that, and go on that journey together with her and Ana.”
We have been in an countless cycle of ’90s and early 2000s developments, however with the discharge of Blonde alongside Elvis and Do not Fear Darling, it is protected to say we will return to the ’50s and ’60s any day now. Kerwin argues that Marilyn’s look won’t ever exit of favor: “It is a basic look, and it will be a type of appears that you would be able to pull off virtually anytime.” If it feels too completed, Kerwin suggests choosing two of the three components of the look—lashes, liner, lip—for a extra fashionable take if it looks like an excessive amount of.
“Any curler set with a facet parting might help create Maryland’s form, even when they don’t seem to be blonde—brunettes can even have enjoyable with this,” McIntosh explains. “It’s such a classically stunning model there. I believe individuals can have enjoyable with it anytime, it is nice into the previous, future, and current. It is at all times going to carry up it is, it is fairly superb.”