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The Surprising Reason Pamela Anderson Gave Up Wearing Makeup

Why the model and actor stopped wearing her signature '90s look.

Pamela Anderson's makeup look has been so consistent through most of her career that it's not as easy to recognize her without it. After coming to fame in the '90s, the model and actor was hardly ever seen without black eyeliner, light lipstick, and thin, sculpted eyebrows. But, recently, Anderson has changed up her look dramatically, often appearing in public and on social media in very little makeup. In a new interview with Elle, the Baywatch star explained the surprisingly heartbreaking reason why she left her iconic look behind. Read on to find out more.

RELATED: Pamela Anderson Reveals Moment She Knew Marrying Kid Rock Was a "Tremendous Mistake."

Anderson used to go all out with her makeup.

Pamela Anderson in 1999
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In the past, Anderson favored dramatic makeup. She told Elle how much she enjoyed experimenting with fashion and beauty products.

The 56-year-old explained that, in the '90s, she would pair her outfits with "the makeup from the day before, and a little bit of glitter from two nights before. The stuff that never leaves you! I'd be volunteering at the kids' school, and I would catch myself in a reflection, and I'd have glitter all over my face. Which doesn't make you a bad mom, just because you're covered in glitter."

She described her younger style overall as "wild and uninhibited…I don't know if it was a defense mechanism or what. I just thought, 'I'm going to have fun.'"

Her longtime makeup artist died.

Alexis Vogel at a Los Angeles party in 2006
J.Sciulli/WireImage for Bluprint via Getty Images

In 2019, Anderson's makeup artist, Alexis Vogel, passed away from breast cancer. The actor told Elle that after her friend died, she gave up wearing the full face of makeup that was her calling card.

"She was the best. And since then, I just felt, without Alexis, it's just better for me not to wear makeup," Anderson said.

Vogel's website includes information about other celebrities she worked with—including Lisa Marie Presley, Carmen Electra, and Kelly Clarkson—but Anderson is featured more heavily as one of her regular clients. "I'm all about giving people their confidence and 'sexy' back," the artist told the Los Angeles Times in 2010.

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Anderson wasn't always into makeup.

Pamela Anderson at the Hollywood All-Stars Charity Baseball Game in 1992
S. Granitz/WireImage via Getty Images

In the 2010 Los Angeles Times interview with Vogel, Anderson told the newspaper that wearing her signature makeup was like putting on a character.

"My mom and my great-aunt have always been into hair and makeup and glamour, but I was always a tomboy," she said. "And I never thought that I would go that way. A lot of my friends thought that I was the last person to be doing what I'm doing because I really wasn't va-va-voom."

But, when she moved to Los Angeles and modeled for Playboy, she had a change of heart. "They put the makeup on me and I thought, 'Wow, this is fun,'" she said. "This wasn't ever 'this is what I have to wear to walk out of the door,' or 'this is what I have to do.' I'd look at photos and see how it looked better with a darker eye and bigger hair, and it became a character almost." she added, "The right hair and makeup make you feel more confident. Just play with it.… It's exciting, and it can be more fun than people make it."

RELATED: Baywatch Star Slams Critics Who Say She's "Too Old" for Bikini Pics.

She's embracing her "real, authentic" face.

Pamela Anderson in "Pamela, a love story"
Netflix / YouTube

Anderson still wears glam to events, but the style is often different than what she wore while working with Vogel. She has also been photographed without makeup or with light, natural makeup, such as in her new campaign for the clothing brand Aritzia and in her Netflix documentary, Pamela, a love story.

Makeup artist Eileen Madrid told Elle in January that she'd been working with Anderson for two years and contributed to her updated look. "Everyone already knows what Pamela looks like glam, which is why she wanted to be raw and show the world her real, authentic face," Madrid said.

Anderson told Elle that her current look is "freeing, and fun, and a little rebellious too." She explained, "Because I did notice that there were all these people doing big makeup looks, and it's just like me to go against the grain and do the opposite what everyone's doing."

She continued, "I think we all start looking a little funny when we get older. And I'm kind of laughing at myself when I look at the mirror. I go, 'Wow, this is really…what's happening to me?' It's a journey."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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