30 | squaremeal.co.uk
Her role in Mad Men has made Christina Hendricks
one of the most recognised actresses in the world,
but as the acclaimed series nears its denouement,
is she ready to say goodbye to Joan Holloway?
When Christina Hendricks approaches, you stop
what you're doing. Immediately. Dubbed 'the
embodiment of beauty' by fashion's grand dame,
Vivienne Westwood, it's hard to disagree as she
approaches me in a corridor, hand outstretched.
The Mad Men actress is no less arresting a sight
in person than she is on the show that's made her a star.
With her blaze of auburn hair - dyed from her natural blonde after
she saw Anne of Green Gables as a child - and those Marilyn curves,
it's not just the public that this 39-year-old intrigues. 'She's got an
incredible degree of allure,' notes Ben Mendelsohn, her co-star in
new lm, Lost River. 'She's someone you can get lost in very easily.'
Women are just as smitten too; an Esquire poll of female readers
voted her 'the sexiest woman in the world'.
Even her commercial endorsements reek of old-school glamour.
While most actresses will promote cosmetics or fashion brands,
Hendricks became a brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker. This
was no mere money gig; she knows her Scotch, after being turned
onto the tipple by her husband, actor Geo rey Arend. 'I liked it
when he ordered it because I thought it was very sexy,' she says.
As marketing ploys go, it was a stroke of genius.
In person, Hendricks is polite, modest and, at times, fragile. 'I'm a
very emotional person,' she admits, settling into an armchair. Perhaps
it's a hangover from her adolescence in Virginia, during which time she
was bullied. At school, kids would wait by her locker and then spit at
her. 'I felt scared in high school,' she admits. While acting was a relief -
she appeared in local theatre productions from the age of nine - she
was a lonely teenager. There was even a goth phase, all purple hair and
black lipstick. 'I never felt pretty,' she says. 'I just always felt awkward.'
Today, she oozes self-con dence in monochrome, wearing a white
lace blouse, high-waisted black trousers and black patent stilettos. And
for all the chatter that she's a throwback to a bygone era, she looks
about the girl
PHOTO: FABRIZIO MALTESE / CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES
WORDS: SARA HOLLIS