How Nicola Peltz Beckham Transformed Into Dorothy Stratten for Hulu’s ‘Welcome to Chippendales’

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When we’re first introduced to Nicola Peltz Beckham as Dorothy Stratten for Hulu’s Welcome to Chippendales, it’s Friday night in late ’70s West Hollywood, and she’s arriving at the mirrored space that’s soon to become an infamously oversexed club. All in white, with blonde, brushed-out waves swept into a hair comb, she orders a pink squirrel cocktail from the bar. What’s immediately striking is Peltz Beckham’s uncanny resemblance to Stratten, the very real, very beloved model and actress whose life came to a disturbing end. 

Photo: Courtesy of Hulu

There’s nothing extreme about her onscreen beauty; it’s soft, it’s glamorous, and it’s surprisingly relevant in today’s revival world (Peltz Beckham has said that she “loves” Stratten and that her husband Brooklyn Beckham found her stylish). So it’s no wonder that the team behind the Emmy-winning makeup and Emmy-nominated hairstyling for Pam & Tommy had a hand in such a considered character transformation. “In all of my research, it was clear how kind, caring, and humble Dorothy Stratton was,” says lead hair designer Barry Lee Moe. “Although I was recreating a lot of looks that were based on actual hairstyles she wore, I wanted to execute them with the same softness that Dorothy embodied. Her story is extremely tragic, and I wanted to honor the beauty that existed in her life.” 

Makeup department head David Williams agrees, noting that he, Moe, and costume designer Peggy Schnitzer had discussions of how Peltz Beckham should be presented in character every time she was on screen. “Dorothy Stratton was known to be one of the most beautiful women of her day and was poised to have a remarkable Hollywood career,” says Williams. “Consistency was key. I didn’t want anything to be distracting.” Unlike their work together on Pam & Tommy, no prosthetics were required beyond the wigs that Moe prepared daily for quick application in the trailer, which meant that the entire process only took about 45 minutes with the pair working in tandem. 

Mornings on set often featured a VIP breakfast order before lights were dimmed low and a candle was lit to create a zen setting. “We loved to talk about Dorothy as we looked at all of her photos that surrounded my station—we also loved our morning smoothies that Brooklyn so thoughtfully delivered,” says Moe. The trailer was stocked with Unite hair products like 7 Seconds Leave In Conditioner, used to prep Peltz Beckham’s real hair before applying the wig, and Lé:Play Hairspray, misted on for setting the final style. The inspiration for that first scene “was Dorothy’s actual look from the Playboy event where Hugh Hefner announced her as Playmate of the Year,” says Moe. “It’s my favorite look by far. I love how the hair is delicately swept up on the side with a beaded, floral hair comb to hold it in place—our costume designer, Peggy Schnitzer, custom-built her hair accessories to match the original.” 

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