“It’s just freedom. It’s like a relief.”
Cutting through the buzzy beauty and style trends forecasted for the 2024 year at Paris Fashion Week, our October 2023 cover star Pamela Anderson is making headlines for going fresh-faced and makeup-free during her Parisian jaunts to and from the season’s biggest shows.
“I didn’t come to Paris Fashion Week and think, ‘Oh I’m not going to wear any makeup!’” shared Anderson in a Vogue France get-ready-with-me video ahead of the Vivienne Westwood Spring Summer 2024 show. “I don’t know, something just kind of came over me and I was dressing in these beautiful clothes and I thought, ‘I don’t want to compete with the clothes. I’m not trying to be the prettiest girl in the room.’ I feel like it’s just freedom. It’s like a relief.” And off she went with a face base of DIY rose oil in place of foundation.
Paris Fashion Week—the last of the big four weeks, following New York City, London, and Milan—is considered to be the crème de la crème of fashion month. It churns out the grandest displays of opulence. The street style is impeccable. The glam is top-notch, and it’s the perfect excuse to indulge in over-the-top makeup and hairstyles.
For Anderson, it instead ended up serving as the ultimate stage to make a major no-makeup statement as she embarked on what she described on Instagram as “an adventure in Paris with fresh eyes.” From Vivienne Westwood and The Row to Isabel Marant and Victoria Beckham, this Canadian bombshell was a radiant beauty as she took on the City of Love in a public display of both self-love and acceptance sans makeup, ways away from her signature ’90s glam.
Since the release of the Pam & Tommy mini-series in 2022 and Anderson’s own tell-all Pamela, a love story documentary on Netflix earlier this year, we’ve been living in the era of the “Pam-aissance”. Having Anderson back on our screens has inspired a wave of kohl-rimmed eyes adorned with smokey eyeshadow and pencil-thin brows. And the beauty community is still longing to perfect that nude-lipped Pamela pout. It’s the signature Anderson look that emerged during the ’90s under the creative guidance and mastery of the late Alexis Vogel, her go-to makeup artist at the time.
Vogel, who passed away from breast cancer in 2019, both birthed Anderson’s iconic glam and is now part of the reason that the actress began to embrace going makeup-free. “She was the best. And since then, I just felt, without Alexis, it’s just been better for me not to wear makeup,” Anderson told ELLE in an interview this summer.
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis took to Instagram to share her support for Anderson and praise her new look, which she described as an act of courage and rebellion. “The natural beauty revolution has officially begun!” she writes in the caption of her post. “@Pamelaanderson in the middle of fashion week with so many pressures and postures […] and this woman showed up and claimed her seat at the table with nothing on her face.”
Challenging Curtis’ caption, the top-liked comment of the post reads, “I think that rather than applauding women wearing no makeup, we should be applauding that she seems to have found her comfort zone and seems to be embracing what that is for her age.”
Like other celebrities, like Alicia Keys who decided to ditch makeup altogether in 2016 and Kim Kardashian who attended Balenciaga’s Spring Summer 2017 show bare-faced during Paris Fashion Week that same year, Anderson’s makeup-free outings have contributed to a movement with a more mature perspective that brings the beauty industry’s fixation on youth into the conversation. “I like to say the word ‘life-ing’ instead of ‘age-ing’. Chasing youth is just futile,” she told i-D outside of the Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer 2024 show.
In today’s digital age, we also have to consider the no-makeup movement that has long existed on Instagram via the make-up-free selfie. As recently as last month, Selena Gomez shared a bare-faced snap with her 430 million followers. A makeup-free selfie also holds the power to make a bold beauty statement, especially when it comes from celebrities we’re used to seeing all dolled up. Not to mention the ongoing battle against faceless hate comments that may come along with it.
To quote Anderson from her Vogue France segment, “You kind of have to challenge beauty sometimes, you know. If we all chase youth or we’re chasing our idea of what beauty is in fashion magazines and everything, we’re only going to be disappointed or maybe a little bit sad. So, I feel like this is it.”
Here’s to women doing whatever makes them feel good and looking good while doing it — glammed up or makeup-free.