Madame Tussauds is a waxwork museum in London, depicting the likeness of famous people, both past and present. But have you ever wondered how the British institution decides who to recreate?
Why is it that some of the rich and powerful make the cut, while others don't?
Madame Tussauds Hosts Annual Meetings To Decide Who To Depict In Waxwork
The process of who gets chosen is straightforward and, surprisingly, not affected directly by money.
Every year, the senior staff at Madame Tussauds get together to decide who they should attempt to recreate for the following year, and who they shouldn't. Usually, the decision is made based on who the public most wants to see - something that is heavily dependent on the current news cycle - and not by shading dealings in backrooms.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the headlines throughout 2018, thanks to their high profile wedding. Millions of people watched the event on TV and lined the streets of London to mark the special day for the couple. The media poured fuel on the fire of excitement. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Madame Tussauds decided to depict the couple during that year, showing guests what it would be like to hang out with the Royal couple, up close and personal.
The reasons for creating waxwork models of people aren't always so obvious, though. Take the 2018 model of Ariana Grande, the American pop singer. Grande is a massive global pop sensation, but that wasn't the reason that the gallery decided to recreate her in wax. The reason Madame Tussaud's management chose to recreate her was because of her proximity to the Manchester bombings. Grande was performing on stage when a radical Islamist detonated a bomb in the crowd, killing twenty-three people and wounding a further 139.
What about recreations of UK-based pop-stars, like Ed Sheeran? Why did he make the cut? Primarily that decision came down to personal popularity. Sheeran is one of the most successful artists of the present decade and has gone from success to success with each album release. It seemed only right that the gallery depicts his success.
Can You Refuse To Be Sculpted?
For most celebrities, being cast in waxwork at Madame Tussauds for all the world to see is the highest form of praise: they've obviously done something right in their lives. But the gallery allows people to refuse depiction if it's not something they want. Can you guess who turned the offer down? It wasn't the Queen: she's there. Neither was it any other member of the Royal family. It was actually Mother Theresa, somebody you wouldn't expect.
Moving Sculptures From One Location To Another
The choice of which sculptures end up in any particular Madame Tussauds gallery also depends on what sculptures are already on display in others. The London gallery will often send sculptures to other galleries in the UK, China, Australia and the Americas. What visitors end up seeing, therefore, depends considerably on what is deemed important by decision-makers in the home market.
Will you visit Madame Tussauds?