Ana De Armas’ Marilyn Monroe Transformation For Blonde Took A Ton Of Time And Effort

Left: Ana de Armas in Knives Out with borwn hair and borwn eyes, wearing a jacket. Right: Ana de Arma as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde.
(Image credit: Lionsgate and Netflix)

Taking on the role of Marilyn Monroe is no easy task. As one of the most recognizable stars of Old Hollywood, I’d imagine figuring out how to transform Ana de Armas into Monroe was no small task. In a recent interview, the heads of the hair and makeup departments on Blonde spoke about the process of turning de Armas into Monroe every day, and it took lots of time and effort. 

The two artists recently spoke with Variety about the process of turning de Armas into Marilyn Monroe. They explained that they spent two and a half hours every day working on de Armas’ hair and makeup. Tina Roseler Kerwin, the head of the makeup department, explained that their mission was: 

...to find our Marilyn in Ana and not put Marilyn’s hair and makeup on Ana, but to define our Marilyn and define her as best as we could.

The story explains that de Armas had to wear a silicone cap instead of a regular bald cap to hide her thick-brown hair and last a full day of work. The reason for the different cap was because of how many times they had to change out de Armas' wigs each day. Kerwin explained they needed something that could withstand the gluing and ungluing of so many wigs. 

Blue contacts were also a big part of the transformation. As the photo above shows, de Armas has brown eyes, but in Blonde she wears blue contacts. Kerwin explained that they also used fake eyelashes in the corners of her eyes to make her eye shape more like Monroe’s. 

By the end of it all, McIntosh and Kerwin made over 100 looks for de Armas and you can see 50 to 60 of them in the final cut of the film. 

De Armas explained that when she saw herself for the first time as Monroe she was very emotional. Those close to the Knives Out actress were also blown away by her transformation, including Chris Evans, her friend and co-star in Knives Out and The Grey Man. While her transformation is stunning, de Armas has also explained that she felt “insecure” while prepping to play such an icon

The pressure must have been real for the entire Blonde cast and crew while making this movie. They had to recreate some incredibly iconic scenes from Monroe’s movies, including the “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Creating scenes that are ingrained in the zeitgeist is no small task. As the heads of hair and makeup explained, they created their looks to find the Old Hollywood icon in de Armas, and the process of finding and maintaining her look took an immense amount of work. 

While the movie has been getting middling reviews, I think it’s pretty clear that de Armas’ transformation into Monroe is pretty incredible. To see de Armas' transformation and performance, you can watch Blonde with a Netflix subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.