For five months, the team at Madame Tussauds has been quietly prodding, polishing and painting the face of the 45th President of the United States.
This is President-elect Donald Trump as you have never seen him before: up close and personal and made entirely of wax.
Created by Madame Tussauds, the waxwork is one of four being made in London. Three others have already been shipped to Washington DC, New York and Orlando to coincide with Trump’s inauguration on Friday.
Labor of love
For the team behind the artwork, it’s been a labor of love.
“I was lucky enough to get some measurements from a sitting we had in 1997 at the Trump towers,” chief sculptor David Gardner told CNN.
“At the sitting we would take the measurement of the head and we would also use anchor points.”
Gardner said seeing recent photos and videos of Trump in the media made it more exciting for him to sculpt the President-elect’s model.
“He made my job slightly easier because of his character. It was almost as far as doing a caricature and bringing it back,” said Gardner.
But the waxwork presented the team with some new challenges.
His golden coif — perhaps his most famous feature — required some research, which involved calling the stylist from “The Apprentice”.
“We did a lot of research about how he styles his hair. It’s hairspray and almost like a lacquer,” explained Gardner.
Capturing Trump’s character
Styling the waxwork’s head of hair wasn’t the biggest concern, it was the color.
“His hair is a mixture of human hair and yak hair. We use yak hair with people with white hair because human hair is not readily available,” said hairstylist Kelly Cox.
To get the exact look, the team used as many as four color samples and from there they inserted each strand of hair individually — a process that took about four weeks. For the President-elect’s eyebrows, the team used squirrel hair.
Getting his tone right was also a challenge for coloring artist Verity Talbot whose palette is full of pink and magenta; an array of tones that she hopes will bring the President-elect to life.
“We’ll look at everything so we’ll try and get every little capillary, every wrinkle, slight marks on the skin, any moles,” said Talbot.
“He’s got such a character about him. It was about trying to capture that.”