Lea Salonga set to be immortalized at Madame Tussauds Singapore

Making a wax figure requires 500 exact measurements, 150 photos, and a large team of sculptors and artists.

If you can’t meet them in person, you can find their likeness under one roof.

Broadway legend Lea Salonga is the newest  wax figure to join Harry Styles, Ryan Gosling, Christiano Ronaldo, Pia Wurtzbach and other global personalities and leaders at the Singapore branch of Madame Tussauds.

“When my manager said this was happening, that Madame Tussauds was interested in making a wax figure of me, it was an absolute honor and privilege to be asked. It’s fantastic!” Lea Salonga said during her sitting session with Madame Tussauds Singapore’s team of expert sculptors and artists.

Based on the measurements and photos from the sitting, sculptors need 150 kilos of clay per wax figure to painstakingly replicate the celebrity’s head and body

With a career spanning over 45 years, the award-winning actress and singer is best known for her iconic performances as Kim inMiss Saigon, the singing voice of Disney princesses Jasmine and Mulan, and as thefirst Asian to play Eponine in the musicalLes Misérables on Broadway.

Lea has toured worldwide as a singer, performing sold-out concerts in the most prestigious venues. This time, she is set to impress audiences all over the world on a brand-new stage at Madame Tussauds Singapore.

“We are truly excited and honored to have Lea’s wax figure,” shared Elaine Quek, Head of Sales and Marketing at Madame Tussauds Singapore. “Madame Tussauds has always been about showcasing remarkable talent and bringing the audience closer to them through lifelike wax figures. We know a lot of people all over the world are excited to see Lea Salonga in wax. The whole Filipino community globally is beaming with pride, that’s why we know we had to reach out to her and make it happen here.”

How the wax figure is made

Lea’s exact eye color is chosen from a selection of eyes to match hers.

For more than 200 years, Madame Tussauds wax museums around the world have been making three-dimensional figures of celebrities.

According to the Vienna branch of the museum, the process takes about three to four months, involves many steps, and requires a large, highly qualified team that includes10 artists. “To make sure the sculptors can create an exact double of the celebrity, more than 500 exact measurements will be taken of the head and body. While the celebrity remains in his/her pose on a turntable, more than 150 photos will be taken.”

The website elaborates that the first step is the making of a skeleton from a metal tube and wire to support the clay and to form the wax figure. Based on the measurements and photos from the sitting, sculptors need 150 kilos of clay per wax figure to painstakingly replicate the celebrity’s head and body using traditional sculpting techniques. Sculpting the head alone takes up to six weeks.

(Above and below) Photos and measurements are taken to start the three to four-month process of making Lea’s wax figure.

A plaster mold in several parts is created of the clay head and body, then the body is cast out in fiberglass. Meanwhile, wax is heated to 74° Celsius and then poured into the mold to cool and harden overnight. Head and body are created separately.

During the sitting, the exact eye color is chosen from a selection of eyes to match the celebrity’s. The eyes are handmade and from acrylic resin. Every little detail is incorporated in the 14-hour procedure.

Ultimately, all parts are put together and the wax figure is given an outfit that is typical for the personality. It is a tradition at Madame Tussauds that celebrities provide their own clothing for the wax figures. Before the figure begins its journey to its attraction, it is approved by the entire team and the celebrity.

Lea off Broadway

As a Filipino and stage icon, Lea Salonga is actively involved in numerous philanthropic activities by supporting the Philippines’ social causes, including World Vision Organization and the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. She has staged fund-raising concerts for these and dedicated her single, Dream Again, to charities aiding in Covid-19 worldwide.

Lea was among the judges on The Voice Philippines and The Voice Kids Philippines, making her even more familiar and relevant to Filipino audiences. Other unmissable highlights of her career are performing for six Philippine presidents, four American presidents, and for Princess Diana, and Queen Elizabeth II.

Adding to special events happening this year, the announcement of Lea’s wax figure is just in time for her concert, Stage, Screen, and Everything in Between, where she will perform her iconic roles from Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, Aladdin, and Mulan, along with Miss Saigon shows in Singapore.

Her wax figure is set to be unveiled in the third quarter of 2024. The figure will capture the theater legend in a striking pose that is powerful, iconic, and uniquely Lea.

Madame Tussauds Singapore celebrates its 10th year anniversary this year with a slew of exciting figure launches, activities, and promotions throughout the year.

Watch Lea’s sitting at Madame Tussauds here.

For more information, follow Madame Tussauds Singapore on Facebook, @mtssingapore on Instagram, @MTsSingapore on X, and @TussaudsSingapore on YouTube.

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