My Best Marisa Tomei, Circa 'My Cousin Vinny'

It was an Oscar-winning comedic performance, with a fabulous look to match.
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Publish date:
August 19, 2014
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kat von d, sonia kashuk, Elizabeth Arden, 90s Week, Marisa Tomei, Mona Lisa Vito, My Cousin Vinny

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The last half-hour of My Cousin Vinny is one of the greatest last half-hours in all of cinema.

I saw the 1992 comedy when it came out in theaters--I was about to turn 13--and I’ve watched it every time I’ve stumbled upon it on TV ever since. It’s one of my favorite movies, thanks to hilarious performances by Joe Pesci, Fred Gwynne (it was his last film), and especially Marisa Tomei.

Tomei plays Mona Lisa Vito, the much younger--but just as if not more clever--fiancée of the titular Vinny, an Italian-American rookie lawyer from New York who’s defending his innocent cousin and cousin’s friend against murder charges in rural Alabama.

An underrated fictional feminist hero, if you ask me, Tomei's character is sassy as hell, with a look to match. My goal: to make it work for today without getting into Halloween costume territory. Here’s how I went about it.

I wanted my hair to be full and messy, but not in an overinflated, stiff '90s way, so I just teased it a bit and parted my hair in the opposite direction I normally do.

I also started off with Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Nude Foundation and Sonia Kashuk Take Cover Concealing Stick.

Mona Lisa Vito’s brows are dark and well-defined, so I used a dark brown, matte powder eyeshadow to darken and enhance mine, concentrating on filling them farther in towards the middle. I also applied a classic pink blush, Essence Silky Touch Blush in Sweetheart, with a very light hand.

To recreate her eye makeup, I used three colors from Kat Von D’s Monarch Eye Shadow Palette: Entomology, a yellowy beige, all over my lid; Vanish, a subtle taupe, on my mobile lid; and Disintegration, a shimmery grayish-brown, in my crease.

I used a black OCC Pencil to line my top lid, but for a softer yet still defined eye, I used NUDESTIX Eye Pencil in Smoke, a soft gray, along my lower lid. I finished with Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara on my top lashes.

For much of My Cousin Vinny, Mona Lisa Vito wears a lip color I can only describe as rosy brick--or bricky rose? Imagine my delight when I saw that Laura Mercier describes the Sienna shade of her Crème Smooth Lip Colour as “brick rose.” Sold!

The final touch that makes Mona Lisa Vito truly Mona Lisa Vito is the streak of white hair sprouting from just above her right ear. Did she bleach it herself? (She is an “out of work hairdresser.”) Was she physiologically traumatized by the thought of never having a baby? We may never know. But it looks pretty awesome.

I used Fudge Urban Hair Chalk in Iced White to mimic her streak, setting it with Fudge Urban Soft Touch Anti-Frizz Iced Raspberry & Vanilla Hair Spray (yes, it smells phenomenal).

I put on some gigantic faux-gold hoops from Payless, did a parted-lips pout (a Vito/Tomei trademark), and snapped a picture with my pink Le Clic camera.


What’s your favorite line from My Cousin Vinny? (I think I’d have to go with “Now I ask ya: Would you give a f--k what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearing?”) Do you believe that terrible rumor that Marisa Tomei won the Oscar by accident? Ugh, so rude.