Why Jessica Chastain Believes Transforming Into Tammy Faye Bakker Permanently Damaged Her Skin

"I was freaked out," Jessica Chastain recalled of her first makeup test screen as the famed televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker in the upcoming biopic.

By Alyssa Morin Aug 24, 2021 12:21 AMTags
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Jessica Chastain's skin may never be the same, and it was, ironically, all in the name of beauty.

The Oscar nominee recently shocked fans when she debuted a major makeover as televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker for the upcoming biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye. To truly transform into the popular religious figure, that meant Jessica had to forgo her daily beauty routine.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, published on Aug. 23, the 44-year-old actress opened up about how turning into Tammy affected her on the inside and out.

"I think for sure I've done some permanent damage to my skin on this," she told the publication. "Listen, I eat very pure and I take very good care of my skin and I stay out of the sun and all that stuff. But it's heavy. And when you're wearing it all day every day — the weight of it on your body, it stretches your skin out."

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She added, "I finally took it off and I was like, 'I look 50 years old!' [Laughs.] No, I'm kidding. But it's fine. It's for my art."

Even though Jessica set aside her personal thoughts about beauty to get into character, she admitted that she was initially "freaked out" over the heavy makeup.

"The very first test I did was difficult, honestly. I mean, we fixed it. But I was freaked out. I was like, 'I don't know how to act like this,'" she shared. "People think it's easier, but it's not. You have to reach through the makeup — you can't let the makeup be the performance."

Fox Searchlight Pictures, AP/Shutterstock

The Zero Dark Thirty actress explained that Tammy was "so emotional" in real life and she was worried it wouldn't translate on-screen with her pounds of makeup. Additionally, she revealed that it took upwards of eight hours each day for the film's makeup team to complete her makeover.

"I got to set and I was so panicky," she recalled after sitting in the makeup chair for so long. "I started to have hot flashes because it's so heavy and hot. I was afraid. It was like going on a long-distance flight every day. Because if it takes 7 and a half hours to put on, it's going to take at least two hours to get off. It was concerning to me."

She added, "I was worried about my circulation. By the time I got on set that first day that was 7 and a half hours, I was like, 'I have no energy left.' And she's supposed to show up with so much energy."

With a few tweaks from the glam squad, Jessica then only had to sit in the makeup chair for four hours.


According to The Help star, channeling the famed public figure is unlike anything she's ever done. But if the trailer and transformation are indications, it looks like the actress has once again nailed her role.

So, before the biopic releases on Sept. 17, scroll through our gallery below to get all the details on the upcoming movie!

Lights, Camera, Action

According to Chastain, it took her four hours to transform into Tammy Faye. She said, "I have a dimple in my chin that she didn't have, so we would seal that up. Her face was more round than mine, so I would have things on my cheeks."

Who Is Tammy Faye?

Jessica hopes people finish the movie with a better understanding of Tammy Faye. "I just want people to leave the theater feeling like she was there, and she did throw her arms around everyone," she shared.

Motherly Love

Jessica was amazed by the televangelist, telling People, "The thing I loved the most about Tammy is her capacity to love. She knew what it felt like to not feel important, and she didn't want anyone to experience that."

The Preacher's Wife

For 10 years, Jessica researched everything there was to know about Tammy Faye, who died in 2007 following a battle with cancer.

Mr. and Mrs. Bakker

Jessica said that contrary to popular opinion, Tammy wasn't an overly emotional person. She remarked, "Here's a woman that I had an idea of because of what I was fed about her. Even the thing about the mascara running down her face. There is not one picture of her with mascara running down her face in reality."