Yesterday, Lil Nas X shared a video of his new Madame Tussauds wax figure, which is so convincing that he successfully used it to prank Lizzo, Olivia Rodrigo, and others into thinking it was actually him. Other artists haven’t been so lucky when they were immortalized in wax, as questionable figures of Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna bear at best a passing resemblance to the source material.
Plenty of famous folks have gotten the wax figure treatment aside from the aforementioned, like Taylor Swift, Brad Pitt, Jackie Chan, Grumpy Cat, and the list goes on and continues to grow. As new figures of varying quality emerge, it begs the question: Just how are these things made?
How It’s Made, the long-running documentary series that has been on the air since 2001, did a segment on wax figures in a 2011 episode. The Science Channel, the Canadian show’s home in the US, uploaded that clip onto YouTube about a year ago and it offers a detailed breakdown of what goes into the process.
The video is better watched than it is read about, but in summary, the subject of the figure has a bunch of measurements taken, mostly of the face, when possible. From there, a mold is made, which is then used to create a wax casting. Then, painting and other techniques are used to add realism to the figure.
Watch the How It’s Made segment above. Insider also spoke with Andres Lopes, a studio manager at Madame Tussauds, in a video from 2018, so find that below.