Waxing Hollywood

No, this is not about a”Hollywood” bikini wax, an extreme form of waxing which I’d never heard of until Alana at Housegoeshome explained it in a recent blog post, The politics of public hair.

While hot liquid wax is not my friend, I did find plenty of waxy friends of another variety at Sydney’s Madame Tussaud’s wax museum recently.

Spider Boy, his dad and I got to “meet” everyone from pop-stars to pollies, rock-stars to royalty, from Hollywood legends to sporting greats and many other figures from TV, history and science.

Spider Boy even got to be a UN delegate. Although when we were looking through the photos afterwards, I realised he’d thought he was reading the news with a sunny Julia Gillard presenting the weather (Note his serious news face).

My son managed to set aside his fear of girl-germs for the afternoon to engage with female leaders from every arena. I swear I could hear him singing Sisters are doing it for themselves under his breath. Or maybe that was me…


He took a leaf out of Tom Cruise’s book when he paid a visit to Oprah’s couch…

Just like Tom, Spider Boy’s a great actor when he’s well-directed.

He got to experience coming second to our Dawn, taunting our Leyton, and almost running over our Greg Norman in a golf buggy…


It was all a bit Forrest Gump, in a good way.

We saw a cavalcade of flowing blond (and white) locks… IMG_5157

There was plenty of Warne and plenty of brawn…IMG_5148

There was brains too… and a little weird science. But no sign of Dr. Sheldon Cooper from TV’s Big Bang Theory, unfortunately.


There were pop-stars from past and present in leather pants…


There were sequinned and spangled pop-stars with amazing eye-makeup…


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And let’s not forget the frock-stars with amazing costumes that could’ve come straight from the Copacabana…


Never looked so good: It’s amazing what sitting on top of the shoe from Priscilla Queen of the Desert will do for your legs.

Yes, I found plenty of friends at Madame Tussauds; Brad and Angelina…


My girlfriends Audrey, Oprah and Edna were more than happy to pose for selfies with me – well I didn’t hear any objections coming from their botoxy mouths…


And after years of missed phone calls and crossed wires, I finally caught up with my boyfriends Ryan and Heath. Yes I know Heath is from a parallel universe these days. But the wax is so convincing…

My ex-husband snapped these pics for me and then said Ryan was “simian-like”. Yeah, think I liked him better in The Notebook days.

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While I was busy going Kardashian with my selfish selfies, my son was being scared out of his wits over by the Alfred Hitchcock figure. I did notice boring-looking Alfred out of the corner of my eye, but I was too busy fawning over Audrey Hepburn and her breakfast pastry to really look. I proceeded to get a photo of Audrey and myself (taken by a kindly roaming staffer) knowing that Spider Boy was with his dad nearby.

After a few minutes I turned to see Spider Boy emerge from a curtain that I hadn’t noticed before, near the Hitchcock figure. A freaking shower curtain. Spider Boy looked as white.

I then discovered that he’d heard an audio recording of Janet Leigh’s scream from the Hitchcock movie, Psycho. I went behind the curtain and realised that if you stand in the bathtub, it activates the audio.

When he asked why she screamed like that, I tried to explain it with “Oh she screamed because a man burst in on her in the bathroom and she didn’t want him to see her naked.”

“But someone wouldn’t scream like that just because they were seen naked” said my seven-year-old, with a wisdom that he must’ve gained from his brief time as a UN delegate earlier that afternoon.

Apparently there’s a silhouette of a man with a knife there too. I didn’t see it but Spider Boy told me about it later.

The sound of the scream really scared him and he had trouble sleeping for several days afterwards.

We weren’t expecting something like that that at Madame Tussaud’s – it’s not a horror museum or a haunted house in sideshow alley. Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and the drag queen from Priscilla Queen of the Desert were in the same section as Alfred Hitchcock. Going from screaming drag queen to screaming Janet Leigh within a few metres seems incongruous; I assumed it was all child-friendly. I know Wolverine with his blade fingers doesn’t seem child-friendly, but with that Spider Boy knew what to expect – he knows the superheros are not real. I think the problem with the scream is that he wasn’t expecting it. None of us were.

Perhaps Madame Tussaud’s could have displayed some prominent warnings. Maybe at the admission desk where I would’ve had a chance to see it before I was distracted by the displays inside.  But perhaps I’m being unrealistic about that. Spider Boy is young – ultimately it’s my and his dad’s responsibility to guard him from things that are too scary for a child to see, wherever we are. But sometimes you’re just not able to preempt a situation.

There wasn’t anything else scary in there… well apart from a half-baked Dannii Minogue in the section explaining how the wax figures are made…

Wax lesson: if the Psycho scream doesn’t get you, a Dannii Minogue half-head will.

All in all though, it was a great afternoon and the scream happened towards the end. Then we went to the gift shop and all was forgotten (until bed-time).

Loved: The realistic figures. In my opinion 98% of the figures were accurately represented. The costumes were fabulous. There were many props and dress-ups available right next to the wax figures. You could get close to the stars, put your arm around them for photos and literally get right into the picture. There were no guards saying,”please don’t touch the merchandise.”

Beware: The shower scream from Psycho! Also a roaming photographer in the superhero section who will want to take a professional photo with a fancy camera and charge you for it afterwards.

Could be better: Michael Hutchence, Miranda Kerr.

Admission: Adults from $28.00 and children from $19.60. Once in, you can stay and play as long as you like. Tickets are up to 30% cheaper online with specials and mid-week offers available. If you just turn up without booking first, expect to pay $40 (adult) and $28 (child).

Worth it: In my opinion, yes. We had 90% fun, 10% trauma (shower scream!) that we are learning to deal with. We are living and learning as we go!

More information: www.madametussauds.com/Sydney


  1. Wow, some of those wax works look nothing like the celebs, but others are SPOOKILY real looking! Best photos I’ve ever seen of Madame Tussauds, really gave me an idea of what the place is like. Looks like fun!

    • Thanks Alana, glad you liked the pics. My photos are only a fraction of what was in there. I agree with your assessment though, some (especially Michael Hutchence) looked nothing like the real thing, and others were spot on. I thought Brad Pitt was a very good likeness. It was a lot of fun. It felt like being at an amazing celeb party, but without the champagne!

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