Pamela Anderson made an appearance at this season's Paris Fashion Week and opted to go makeup-free – a choice many found empowering. One Canadian expert says it's rebellious because it removes the "bombshell" illusion — something Anderson has been known for since the '90s.
In her latest Instagram post, 56 year-old Anderson, dressed in a black suit and smiling with a fresh face, writes that "there is beauty in self acceptance, imperfection and love."
The Canadian model, writer and actor's got an overwhelming amount of positive comments from her fans and followers.
"I'm 52 and you are helping me embrace my beauty! Less makeup! We deserve it! Thank you Pam!" one woman commented.
Another said that Anderson is "helping women more than anyone realizes." They added, "It may seem like a silly small thing, but I think you are so brave and I'm so impressed by you."
American actress and film producer Jamie Lee Curtis even chimed in applauding Anderson's fresh face during Paris Fashion Week, saying "the natural beauty revolution has begun," in an Instagram post.
"This woman showed up and claimed her seat at the table with nothing on her face. I am so impressed and floored by this act of courage and rebellion," Curtis wrote.
But why is this seemingly simple act so groundbreaking? Read on to hear an expert's perspective.
Letting go of a facade
Cheryl Thompson, an associate professor in performance at Toronto Metropolitan University, said the reason why so many people are applauding Anderson's decision to go makeup-free is because "there's a lot of women who are tired of the constant work that goes into producing a kind of femininity that is accepted in our culture."
Thompson explained "we don't want to age in our culture." Furthermore, people always had a certain image of what a '90s bombshell like Anderson needed to look like.
"Obviously if you don't wear makeup, that fantasy is completely gone," Thompson said. "Maybe Anderson is entering that stage of life where she feels like it could be inspiring to other women to see someone letting go of that facade."
We don't want to age in our culture.Cheryl Thompson
"There's always a sense of a white woman doing something for the first time. But usually there's a Black or brown person who's done it before them," Thompson claimed.
Earlier this year, in an interview with InStyle, Alicia Keys said deciding to go makeup-free was a rebellious act and a means of reconnecting with her authentic self.
While there are some similarities to the reasons behind why both Keys and Anderson decided to stop wearing makeup, both are discussing it in their own unique way.
'I enjoy being comfortable'
Anderson recently opened up to Elle about her choice to stop using makeup, which she attributed to the passing of her friend and longtime makeup artist, Alexis Vogel, due to breast cancer in 2019.
"She was the best. And since then, I just felt, without Alexis, it's just better for me not to wear makeup," Anderson told Elle.
But, it was also a personal choice.
"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."
In her latest open journal titled "Grace and Dignity," Anderson said "a fresh face is my preference – Drops of rose oil… I've learned to challenge beauty… I'm in the phase of 'accept me as I am' (talking to myself)."
This latest journal entry is part of Anderson's collection "of random weekly topics, thoughts, poetry, a love-based philosophy, and a gentle lifestyle" sent to subscribers every week.
I enjoy being comfortable… It's a choice, a relief… a leap of faith.Pamela Anderson (Open Journal)
Celebrity culture expert Thompson cautions, however, people need to be aware of what "makeup-free" might mean when it comes to celebrities. Sometimes, stars might still wear makeup in a way that makes it seem like they're not wearing any makeup at all.
"I doubt Pamela Anderson is going to be in a picture with blotchy red spots," she claimed.
According to Thompson, going makeup free is a rebellious act because it's throwing away a shield — something that prevents people from seeing nature's process.
When a woman is young, Thompson explained, makeup can be fun and is generally worn for play. But as a woman gets older and starts getting wrinkles, "suddenly you're wearing makeup as a shield," she said.
"You can literally conceal some of the physical signs of aging… And for a lot of women who are menopausal or postmenopausal, their skin changes… just like their hair."
It's a conversation people still don't like to have openly.
"Why can't we just embrace those changes instead of trying to maintain sort of an aesthetic of when we were 21? Your body is physically not 21 and yet you're trying to appear as if you are," Thompson questioned.
"It's like trying to swim up a stream… It's a losing battle."